Cook County, Illinois

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Cook County is a county located in the U.S. State of Illinois. As of 2000, the population is 5,376,741, making it the second largest county by population in the U.S., as well as the largest in Illinois, both in population and area. The county seat is Chicago, the principal city of its metropolitan area, Chicagoland.


Politics of Cook County

While the Suburban population of Cook County rivals that of Chicago the 132 suburban municipalities diffuse political power giving the Chicago Machine sway over the entire county.

Historically the suburban/rural portions of Cook County acted as a Republican counter balance to the Chicago Machine. Demographic trends in the last 10 years have caused a large change in Cook and Illinois politics. In 1996 52% of suburban Cook primary votes were Republican. In 2004 it had fallen to 29%. In the last decade many municipal and township governments have changed to Democratic control.

All of Illinois constitutional officers reside in Cook County.

Government of Cook County

Cook County has the largest unified justice system in the world, second largest health care system in the nation and a 2.9 Billion dollar budget. The county government has a board elected in 17 districts and a board president who may hold a board seat concurrently. Twelve commissioners are Democrats. There are another 7 countywide offices (clerk, sheriff etc.) held by Democrats.

The county seat is located in Chicago where the city and county share a block sized building. Another county building of note is the Daley Center home of the Picasso sculpture and the Cook County Circuit Court.

The Honorable John H. Stroger, Jr. is President of the Cook County Board. He is a close ally of Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Cook County Commissioners

  • Earlean Collins,(D) 1st District
  • Bobbie L. Steele,(D) 2nd District
  • Jerry "Iceman" Butler,(D) 3rd District
  • John H. Stroger, Jr.,(D) 4th District
  • Deborah Sims,(D) 5th District
  • Joan Patricia Murphy,(D) 6th District
  • Joseph Mario Moreno,(D) 7th District
  • Roberto Maldonado,(D) 8th District
  • Peter N. Silvestri,(R) 9th District
  • Mike Quigley,(D) 10th District
  • John P. Daley,(D) 11th District
  • Forrest Claypool,(D) 12th District
  • Larry Suffredin,(D) 13th District
  • Gregg Goslin,(R) 14th District
  • Carl R. Hansen,(R) 15th District
  • Anthony J. Peraica,(R) 16th District
  • Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman,(R) 17th District

Countywide Elected Officials

  • John H. Stroger, Jr.,(D) Cook County Board President
  • James M. Houlihan,(D) Assessor
  • Joseph Berrios,(D) Commissioner Board of Review 2nd District
  • Maureen Murphy,(R) Commissioner Board of Review 1st District
  • Robert Shaw,(D) Commissioner Board of Review 3rd District
  • David Orr,(D) Clerk
  • Dorothy Brown,(D) Clerk of the Circuit Court
  • Eugene Moore,(D) Recorder of Deeds
  • Michael Sheahan,(D) Sheriff
  • Richard Devine,(D) State's Attorney
  • Maria Pappas,(D) Treasurer


The county has a total area of 4,235 square kilometers, or 1,635 square miles. 2,449 kilometers, or 946 miles, of it is land and 1,785 kilometers, or 689 miles, of it is water. The total area is 42.16% water.


As of 2000, there are 5,376,741 people, 1,974,181 households, and 1,269,398 families residing in the county. The population density is 2,195/km2 (5,686/mi2). There are 2,096,121 housing units at an average density of 856 persons/km2 (2,216 persons/mi2). The racial makeup of the county is 56.27% White, 26.14% Black, 0.29% Native American, 4.84% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 9.88% from other races, and 2.53% from two or more races. 19.93% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,974,181 households out of which 30.90% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.00% are married couples living together, 15.60% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 35.70% are non-families. 29.40% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.30% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.68 and the average family size is 3.38.

In the county the population is spread out with 26.00% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.70% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 93.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $45,922, and the median income for a family is $53,784. Males have a median income of $40,690 versus $31,298 for females. The per capita income for the county is $23,227. 13.50% of the population and 10.60% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 18.90% are under the age of 18 and 10.30% are 65 or older.

Cities and Towns

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