Berks County, Pennsylvania
|Berks County, Pennsylvania|
The Reading area from the Pagoda
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
|Founded||March 11, 1752|
866 sq mi (2,243 km²)
859 sq mi (2,225 km²)
7 sq mi (18 km²), 0.78%
479/sq mi (184.9/km²)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Berks County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 411,442. The county seat is Reading. Berks County is part of the Reading, PA, metropolitan statistical area and as of 2005, is also considered part of the Philadelphia combined statistical area.
Reading developed during the 1740s when the inhabitants of northern Lancaster County sent several petitions requesting that a separate county be established. With the help of German immigrant Conrad Weiser, the county was formed on March 11, 1752 from parts of Chester County, Lancaster County, and Philadelphia County.
It was named after the English county in which William Penn's family home lay - Berkshire, which is often abbreviated to Berks. Berks County began much larger than it is today. The northwestern parts of the county went to the founding of Northumberland County in 1772 and Schuylkill County in 1811, when it reached its current size. In 2005, Berks County was added to the Delaware Valley Planning Area due to a fast-growing population and close proximity to the other communities.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 866 square miles (2,242.9 km2). 859 square miles (2,224.8 km2) is land and 7 square miles (18.1 km2) (0.78%) is water. Most of the county is drained by the Schuylkill River, but an area in the northeast is drained by the Lehigh River via the Little Lehigh Creek and areas are drained by the Susquehanna River via the Swatara Creek in the northwest and the Conestoga River (which starts in Berks County between Morgantown and Elverson) in the extreme south.
Adjacent counties 
- Schuylkill County (north)
- Lehigh County (northeast)
- Montgomery County (east)
- Chester County (southeast)
- Lancaster County (southwest)
- Lebanon County (west)
||Schuylkill County||Schuylkill County||Lehigh County|
|Lebanon County||Montgomery County|
|Lancaster County||Chester County|
National protected area 
As of the 2010 census, the county was 76.9% White non-Hispanic, 4.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, and 2.5% were two or more races. 16.4% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.
As of the census of 2010, there were 411,442 people, 154,356 households, and 106,532 families residing in the county. The population density was 479 people per square mile (184.9/km²). There were 164,827 housing units at an average density of 191.9 per square mile (74.1/km²). was 76.9% White non-Hispanic, 4.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, and 2.5% were two or more races. 16.4% of the population was of Hispanic or Latino ancestry. Historically there was a large Pennsylvania Dutch population. It is known as part of Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Berks County also has large and growing Puerto Rican, Dominican, and Mexican communities.
According to Muninetguide the median household income for Berks County, as of 2010, is $54,105. According to patchworknation.org Berks County is classified as a Monied 'Burb. These counties overall are wealthy, highly educated, and have a median household income over $15,000.00 above the national county average. 
There were 154,356 households out of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.1 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.
Arts and culture 
The Reading Public Museum is an art, science, and history museum.
There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Berks County.
- Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center is south of Reading on land once owned by Jacob Nolde, a prominent Reading businessman and Pennsylvania environmentalist.
- French Creek State Park, a former Recreational Demonstration Area, straddles the Berks and Chester County line.
There are two Pennsylvania Historic Sites in Berks County.
The Old Morlatton Village in Douglassville is maintained by the Historic Preservation Trust of Berks County. The village is composed of four historic structures: White Horse Inn, George Douglass Mansion, Bridge keeper's House, and the Mouns Jones House, constructed in 1716, which is the oldest recorded building in the county. 
County Commissioners 
- Christian Leinbach, Chair Republican
- Kevin Barnhardt, Vice Chair Democrat
- Mark C. Scott, Republican
Other county offices 
- Clerk of Courts, James P. Troutman, Republican
- Controller, Sandy Graffius, Republican
- Coroner, Dennis J. Hess, Democrat
- District Attorney, John T. Adams, Democrat
- Prothonotary, Marianne Sutton, Republican
- Recorder of Deeds, Frederick Sheeler, Democrat
- Register of Wills, Larry J. Medaglia Jr., Republican
- Sheriff, Eric Weaknecht, Republican
- Treasurer, Nelson H. Long, Republican
Pennsylvania State Senate 
- Judy Schwank, Democrat, Pennsylvania Senate, District 11
- Dave Argall, Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 29
- John C. Rafferty Jr., Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 44
- Mike Folmer, Republican, Pennsylvania Senate, District 48
Pennsylvania House of Representatives 
- Jerry Knowles, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 124
- Mike Tobash, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 125
- Mark Rozzi, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 126
- Thomas R. Caltagirone, Democrat, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 127
- Mark Gillen, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 128
- Jim Cox, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 129
- David Maloney, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 130
- Ryan Mackenzie, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 134
- Gary Day, Republican, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 187
United States House of Representatives 
- Jim Gerlach, Republican, Pennsylvania's 6th congressional district
- Pat Meehan, Republican, Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district
- Charlie Dent, Republican, Pennsylvania's 15th congressional district
- Joseph Pitts, Republican, Pennsylvania's 16th congressional district
United States Senate 
As of January 2010, there are 248,949 registered voters in Berks County.
The first time since 1964 that a Democrat carried Berks in a Presidential election occurred in November 2008, with Barack Obama receiving 53.9% of the vote to John McCain's 44.7%. The other three statewide winners (Rob McCord for Treasurer, Jack Wagner for Auditor General, and Tom Corbett for Attorney General) also carried it. While Republicans have controlled the commissioner majority most of the time and continue to control most county row offices, Democrats have become more competitive in Berks in recent years. In the 2012 Presidential election, Mitt Romney carried the county by approximately a one-percent margin, 49.7% to 48.7%.
Census-designated places 
Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.
Unincorporated communities 
Colleges and universities 
- Albright College
- Alvernia University
- Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
- Penn State Berks
- Reading Area Community College
Public school districts 
- Antietam School District
- Boyertown Area School District
- Brandywine Heights Area School District
- Conrad Weiser Area School District
- Daniel Boone Area School District
- Exeter Township School District
- Fleetwood Area School District
- Governor Mifflin School District
- Hamburg Area School District
- Kutztown Area School District
- Muhlenberg School District
- Oley Valley School District
- Reading School District
- Schuylkill Valley School District
- Tulpehocken Area School District
- Twin Valley School District
- Upper Perkiomen School District
- Wilson School District
- Wyomissing Area School District
Private high schools 
- Berks Christian School 
- Blue Mountain Academy
- Conestoga Christian School
- Fairview Christian School
- Kings Academy
- Berks Catholic High School
Technical or trade schools 
Major roads and highways 
Notable people 
- Gus Yatron, Former United States Congressman from Pennsylvania
- William Addams, United States Congressman from Pennsylvania
- Daniel Boone, American pioneer, explorer, and frontiersman (b. 1734 - d. 1820)
- James Henry Carpenter (1846–1898) Civil War sailor, officer, founder of Carpenter Technology Corporation
- Bodo Otto, Senior Surgeon of the Continental Army during the American Revolution (b. 1711 - d. 1787)
- Priscilla Ahn, folk musician and singer-songwriter.
- Chad Billingsley, pitcher for the LA Dodgers
- Steve Burns, musician and former Blue's Clues host
- Bob Cesca, animator, political author and columnist/blogger for The Huffington Post
- Jack Coggins, illustrator, author and artist, lived in Boyertown from 1948–2006
- Rocky Colavito, former Major League Baseball player
- Kerry Collins, professional football player (Panthers, Saints, Giants, Raiders, Titans, and Colts)
- Michael Constantine, actor, star of Room 222 and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
- John Henry Gilmore, Jr., professional football player (Saints, Bears, and Buccaneers)
- Kate Gosselin, Gosselin Family, Reality TV stars of Jon & Kate Plus 8
- Chad Henne, professional football player (Miami Dolphins) and Graduate of the University of Michigan (4 Year Starter at Quarterback)
- Chris Hero, professional wrestler
- Joseph Hiester, governor of Pennsylvania 1820-1823
- Tommy Hinnershitz 1912-1999. Auto racing pioneer. Member Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
- Chad Hurley, Co-Founder of YouTube (attended Twin Valley and Albright College)
- Kimberly Lutz, Energy Guru and Preservationist (Fleetwood High School Alumna)
- Donyell Marshall, Former NBA player and graduate of Reading High School
- Kelly McGillis, actress, [Top Gun]
- Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Architect, American military and political leader 1887-1980
- Jillian Murray, model/actress (b. June 4, 1989)
- Jacob Nolde, conservationist
- Wallace Stevens, major American Modernist poet, October 2, 1879 – August 2, 1955.
- Sydney Stocker, Educator
- Taylor Swift, Grammy Award winning country singer
- Nicole Tranquillo, semi-finalist on American Idol.
- Ross Tucker, professional football player
- John Updike, American writer, 1932-2009.
- Carl Furillo, Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers right-fielder.
- Thomas Morris (Ohio politician), Democratic politician, served in the United States Senate
See also 
- List of municipal authorities in Berks County, Pennsylvania
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Berks County, Pennsylvania
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- "University of Virginia Library". Retrieved March 31, 2013.
- http://www.dos.state.pa.us/elections/lib/elections/055_voter_registration_statistics/currentstats/currentvotestats.xls dos.state.pa.us
- http://www.electionreturns.state.pa.us/ElectionsInformation.aspx?ElectionID=28 electionreturns.state.pa.us
- Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
- "Tolleson, Arizona". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
Further reading 
- F.W. Balthaser, The Story of Berks County, Pennsylvania. Reading, PA: Reading Eagle Press, 1925.
- D.B. Brunner, The Indians of Berks County, Pa., Being a Summary of all the Tangible Records of the Aborigines of Berks County, with Cuts and Descriptions of the Varieties of Relics Found within the County. Reading, PA: Eagle Book Print, 1897.
- Morton L. Montgomery, History of Berks County in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Everts, Peck & Richards, 1886.
- Morton L. Montgomery, History of Berks County, Pennsylvania, in the Revolution, from 1774 to 1783. Reading, PA: C.F. Haage, printer, 1894.
- Morton L. Montgomery, Political Hand-Book of Berks County, Pennsylvania, 1752-1883. Reading, PA: B.F. Owen, 1883.
- Morton L. Montgomery, School history of Berks County in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: J.B. Rodgers Printing Co., 1889.
- Kathy M. Scogna, "The Birth of a County — 1752,". Historical Review of Berks County, Winter 2001-02.
- County of Berks, Pennsylvania
- Reading Eagle newspaper
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