Introduction to Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading is situated in the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania in Berks County. The Schuylkill River, Mount Penn and Neversink Mountain are nearby. The Reading Railroad took its name from the city and is featured in the popular Monopoly board game.


The city was laid out in 1743 by Richard and Thomas Penn, the sons of William Penn, who established the state of Pennsylvania. The name was given to the city in tribute to Reading, England their former home. The city was utilized as a military base during the French and Indian War. During this era, a large number of people were migrating to the region from Germany. Reading played a significant role during the American Revolution. The iron industry in the area was constructing cannons, ammunition, rifles and other items for George Washington's soldiers.

The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad was incorporated in the year 1883 and thrived for more than a century; however due to a steep reduction in profits from transporting coal and tight government regulations, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1971. Beginning with the 1940's and for most of the 1970's the city's economy significantly declined, primarily attributed to the downturn for heavy industries as well as the railroads. In the 1970's, former textile mills near Reading were utilized to produce the VF Outlet Village which has been recognized as the first outlet mall in the country.


The Berks Area Reading Transit Authority provides bus transportation for the area. The city is primarily served by the airport in Philadelphia.


  • Reading Public Museum has numerous collections of artifacts from all over the world, including a mummy
  • Mount Penn offers great views of the city
  • The noteworthy Pagoda on Mount Penn showcases a variety of artwork
  • Goggle Works Center for the Arts hosts numerous exhibitions and includes a small theater
  • VF Outlet Complex is very popular for shoppers
  • Sovereign Center hosts numerous sporting events including hockey games played by the Reading Royals
  • The Reading Phillies is a local baseball team
  • Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
  • Arts & Antiques Fair
  • African-American Museum
  • Sovereign Performing Arts Center
  • Apple Dumpling Festival
  • Center Park Victorian Historic District
  • Reading Railroad Heritage Museum
  • Berks Jazz Fest
  • Daniel Boone Homestead
  • Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center

Higher Education

Reading is home to numerous colleges including:

  • Albright College
  • Pace Institute
  • Berks Technical Institute
  • Reading Area Community College
  • Alvernia College


Total Population 88,057
Male Share of the Population 48.9%
Female Share of the Population 51.1%
Senior Citizens 9.5%
Employed Population 16+ 30,871
Age of the Population 30


% of people married 30.9%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 9.2%
Median Earnings25+ $22,118
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $17,627
Median Earnings With High School Degree $22,552


Median Family Income $29,488
% Above Poverty Level 60.4%
% Below Poverty Level 39.6%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 25 minutes
% Working from Home 2.6%
% Walking and Biking to Work 8.7%
% Using Public Transportation 8.4%


People Living Alone 30%
Median Gross Rent $731
Median House Value $67,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 67.3%
US/American 0%
English 1.5%
Irish 4.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Reading Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 48 miles NW of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
County Berks
Metro Area Reading
Standard Zip Codes 19601, 19602, 19604, 19605, 19606, 19607, 19608, 19609, 19610, 19611
P.O. Box Zip Codes 19603, 19612
Company Zip Codes 19640
Phone Area Codes 610
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.335
Longitude -75.927

Reading Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 5.6 miles
Jan Temp 21 to 38 F
Apr Temp 40 to 62 F
Jul Temp 65 to 85 F
Oct Temp 43 to 65 F
Annual Precip 44.8 inches
Distance 11.9 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 37 F
Apr Temp 39 to 60 F
Jul Temp 62 to 83 F
Oct Temp 42 to 64 F
Annual Precip 48 inches
Distance 15.1 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 36 F
Apr Temp 39 to 61 F
Jul Temp 63 to 84 F
Oct Temp 41 to 63 F
Annual Precip 46.6 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Reading, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Berkley (19605)

Berkshire Heights (19610)

Bernharts (19605)

Five Points (19606)

Fritztown (19608)

Gouglersville (19608)

Greenfield Manor (19601)

Jacksonwald (19606)

Lincoln Park (19609)

Mohns Hill (19608)

Muhlenburg Park (19605)

Ontelaunee (19605)

Pennside (19606)

Reading Station (19606)

River View Park (19605)

Springmont (19609)

Stony Creek Mills (19606)

Tuckerton (19605)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Kenhorst 2,870 $65,278

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Reading Public Libraries

Reading Public Library
Reading, Pennsylvania
(610) 655-6350
Library Web Site
Exeter Community Library
Reading, Pennsylvania
(610) 406-9431

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More Information for Librarians

Reading Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(610) 988-8000
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(610) 378-2000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Reading High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 3,993 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 19

Serves 908 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.7

Serves 544 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 13.5

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