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 2015, the population was 5,238,216. Its county seat is Chicago, the largest city in Illinois and 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.
Cook County is included in the Chicago–Naperville–Elgin, IL–IN–WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is surrounded by what are known as the five collar counties.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,635 square miles (4,230 km²), of which 945 square miles (2,450 km²) is land and 690 square miles (1,800 km²) (42.2%) is water. It is the sixth largest county in Illinois by land area, and the largest in total area. Most of the water is in Lake Michigan. The highest point is more than 950 feet (290 m), and is in northwest Barrington Township, in the northwest corner of the county. The lowest point is less than 580 feet (180 m), along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
As of the 2010 Census, the population of the county was 5,194,675, White Americans made up 55.4% of Cook County's population; non-Hispanic whites represented 43.9% of the population. African Americans made up 24.8% of the population. Native Americans made up 0.4% of Cook County's population. Asian Americans made up 6.2% of the population (1.8% Indian, 1.2% Filipino, 1.2% Chinese, 0.7% Korean, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.2% Japanese, 0.8% Other). Pacific Islander Americans made up less than 0.1% of the population. People from other races made up 10.6% of the population; people from two or more races made up 2.5% of the county's population. Hispanics and Latinos (of any race) made up 24.0% of Cook County's population.
As of the 2000 Census, there were 5,376,741 people, 1,974,181 households, and 1,269,398 families residing in the county. The population density was 5,686 people per square mile (2,195/km²). There were 2,096,121 housing units at an average density of 2,216 per square mile (856/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 56.27% white, 26.14% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 4.84% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islanders, 9.88% from other races, and 2.53% from two or more races. 19.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 9.1% were of Polish, 8.1% German, 7.9% Irish and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 17.63% reported speaking Spanish at home; 3.13% speak Polish.
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