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More About Reading, Pennsylvania
Reading ( RED-ing; Pennsylvania Dutch: Reddin) is a city in and the county seat of Berks County, Pennsylvania. The city had a population of 95,112 as of the 2020 census. It is the fourth-largest city in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Allentown. Reading is located in the southeastern part of the state and is the principal city of the Greater Reading Area, which had 420,152 residents as of 2020. The city is part of the Delaware Valley.
Reading is part of the Delaware Valley metropolitan statistical area, which also includes Philadelphia, Camden, and other suburban Philadelphia cities and regions. With a 2020 population of 6,228,601, the Delaware Valley is the seventh largest metropolitan region in the nation as of 2020.
The origin of Reading’s name comes from the now-defunct Reading Company, widely known as the Reading Railroad, which played a vital role in transporting anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania’s Coal Region to major East Coast metropolitan markets through the Port of Philadelphia for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Reading Railroad is one of the four railroad properties in the classic United States version of the Monopoly board game. Reading was one of the first localities where outlet shopping became a tourist industry. It has been known as “The Pretzel City”, because of numerous local pretzel bakeries; currently, Bachman, Dieffenbach, Tom Sturgis, and Unique Pretzel bakeries call the Reading area home. In recent years, the Reading area has become a destination for cyclists. With more than 125 miles of trails in five major preserves, it is an International Mountain Bicycling Association Ride Center.
According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Reading had the highest share of citizens living in poverty in the nation for cities with populations of more than 65,000. Reading’s poverty rate fell over the next decade. Reading’s poverty rate in the 2018 five-year American Community Survey showed that 35.4% of the city’s residents were below the poverty line, or less “than the infamous 41.3% from 2011, when Reading was declared the poorest small city in the nation.”