Cook County, Illinois
Cook County, Illinois
Location within Illinois
Illinois' location within the United States
|Metro area||Chicago Metropolitan|
|Incorporated||January 15, 1831|
|Named for||Daniel Cook|
|• Body||Board of Commissioners|
|• Board President||Toni R. Preckwinkle (D)|
|• County Board||17 commissioners|
|• County||1,635 sq mi (4,230 km2)|
|• Land||945 sq mi (2,450 km2)|
|• Water||690 sq mi (1,800 km2)|
|• Metro||10,874 sq mi (28,160 km2)|
|Area rank||6th largest county in Illinois|
|Highest elevation||950 ft (290 m)|
|Lowest elevation||580 ft (180 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||1st largest county in Illinois|
2nd largest county in U.S.
|• Density||5,514/sq mi (2,129/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (Central)|
|ZIP Code prefixes|
600xx thru 608xx
|Area codes||224/847, 312/872, 773/872, 708|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th,|
8th, 9th 10th and 11th
|GNIS feature ID||1784766|
|Airports||Chicago O'Hare International|
Chicago Midway International
|Major Waterways||Lake Michigan – Chicago River|
Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Calumet River – Des Plaines River
North Shore Channel
|Amtrak stations||Chicago Union Station|
Glenview – Homewood
La Grange – Summit
|Public transit||Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)|
Metra – Pace – South Shore Line
Cook County is a county in the U.S. state of Illinois. It is the second-most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California. As of 2017, the population was 5,211,263. Its county seat is Chicago, the largest city in Illinois and the third-most populous city in the United States. More than 40% of all residents of Illinois live in Cook County.
Cook County's population is larger than that of 28 individual U.S. states, and the combined populations of the seven smallest states. There are 135 incorporated municipalities partially or wholly within Cook County, the largest of which is Chicago, which is home to approximately 54% of the population of the county.
That part of the county which lies outside the Chicago city limits is divided into 29 townships; these often divide or share governmental services with local municipalities. Geographically, the county is the sixth-largest in Illinois by land area. It shares the state's Lake Michigan shoreline with Lake County. Including its lake area, the county has a total area of 1,635 square miles (4,234.6 km2), the largest county in Illinois, of which 945 square miles (2,447.5 km2) is land and 690 square miles (1,787.1 km2) (42.16%) is water. Land-use in Cook County is mainly urban and densely populated.
- 1 History
- 2 Government and politics
- 3 Geography
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Communities
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Cook County was created on January 15, 1831, out of Putnam County by an act of the Illinois General Assembly. It was the 54th county established in Illinois and was named after Daniel Cook, one of the earliest and youngest statesmen in Illinois history. He served as the second U.S. Representative from Illinois and the state's first Attorney General. In 1839, DuPage County was carved out of Cook County.
Cook County 1836–39 after the creation of McHenry County
Cook County was reduced to its current size in 1839 by the creation of DuPage County.
Government and politics
The government of Cook County is primarily composed of the Board of Commissioners, other elected officials such as the Sheriff, State's Attorney, Treasurer, Board of Review, Clerk, Assessor, Recorder, Circuit Court judges, and Circuit Court Clerk, as well as numerous other officers and entities. Cook County is the only home rule county in Illinois. The Cook County Code is the codification of Cook County's local ordinances. Cook County's current County Board president is Toni Preckwinkle.
The Circuit Court of Cook County, which is an Illinois state court of general jurisdiction is funded, in part, by Cook County, and accepts more than 1.2 million cases each year for filing. The Cook County Department of Corrections, also known as the Cook County Jail, is the largest single-site jail in the nation. The Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, under the authority of the Chief Judge of the court, is the first juvenile center in the nation and one of the largest in the nation. The Cook County Law Library is the second-largest county law library in the nation.
In the 1980s, Cook County was ground zero to an extensive FBI investigation called Operation Greylord. Ninety-two officials were indicted, including 17 judges, 48 lawyers, 8 policemen, 10 deputy sheriffs, 8 court officials, and a state legislator.
The Bureau of Health Services administers the county's public health services and is the third-largest public health system in the nation. Three hospitals are part of this system: John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Provident Hospital, and Oak Forest Hospital of Cook County, along with over 30 clinics.
The Cook County Department of Transportation is responsible for the design and maintenance of roadways in the county. These thoroughfares are composed mostly of major and minor arterials, with a few local roads. Although the County Department of Transportation was instrumental in designing many of the expressways in the county, today they are under the jurisdiction of the state.
The Cook County Forest Preserves, organized in 1915, is a separate, independent taxing body, but the Cook County Board of Commissioners also acts as its Board of Commissioners. The district is a belt of 69,000 acres (280 km2) of forest reservations surrounding the city of Chicago. The Brookfield Zoo (managed by the Chicago Zoological Society) and the Chicago Botanic Garden (managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society) are located in the forest preserves.
Cook County is the fifth-largest employer in Chicago.
In March 2008, the County Board increased the sales tax by one percent to 1.75 percent. This followed a quarter-cent increase in mass transit taxes. In Chicago, the rate increased to 10.25 percent, the steepest nominal rate of any major metropolitan area in America. In Evanston, sales tax reached 10 percent and Oak Lawn residents pay 9.5 percent. On July 22, 2008, the Cook County board voted against Cook County Commissioner's proposal to repeal the tax increase.
In 2016, Cook County joined Chicago in adopting a $13 hourly minimum wage. Cook County Board chairman John Daley called the wage hike "the moral and right thing to do." In June 2017, however, nearly 75 home rule municipalities passed measures opting themselves out of the increase.
The county has more Democratic Party members than any other Illinois county and it is one of the most Democratic counties in the United States. Since 1932, the majority of its voters have only supported a Republican candidate in a Presidential election three times, all during national Republican landslides–Dwight Eisenhower over native son Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 and 1956, and Richard Nixon over George McGovern in 1972. Since then, the closest a Republican has come to carrying the county was in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won 48.4 percent of the county's vote.
The 1970 Illinois Constitution allows the party controlling the state legislature to redraw voting districts. The Democrats won complete control of state government in 2003; since then redistricting combined with demographic changes resulted in the party winning additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives from Republicans in 2012. Analysts say the redistricting better represented the demographics of the state. Republicans are well established in certain districts, where they elect Republican candidates of their choice.
The Cook County Democratic Party represents Democratic voters in 50 wards in the city of Chicago and 30 suburban townships of Cook County. The organization has dominated County, city, and state politics since the 1930s. The last Republican mayor of Chicago was William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson, who left office in 1931 with a record of corruption. The high-water mark for Republican candidacies for mayor since then was that of Republican candidate Bernard Epton, who in 1983 came within 3.3 percentage points of defeating Democrat Harold Washington.