Cook county treasure: Let’s face it, Cook County isn’t exactly renowned for its glamour.
Home to the city of Chicago as well as a smattering of smaller towns and suburbs, the county is most famous for its high crime rate and seedy areas.
So, you might be wondering what on earth is interesting about this unglamorous chunk of real estate with a somewhat dubious reputation?
Well, there are actually plenty of fascinating things about Cook County that you probably didn’t know.
If you think that all counties are the same – think again!
You see, unlike any other county in America, Cook County is home to some unique and unusual sights.
So if you want to impress your friends with some juicy new facts about this famous county, read on…
50 Amazing Facts About Cook County — The Largest County In America
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If you think you know everything about Cook County, think again. Even if you’re a native Chicagoan or are just passing through, there’s a lot you might not know about this amazing place. If you could see all of the small towns and unincorporated areas in the county, it would take up the space of almost 20 large cities. Thankfully, we don’t have to see that many people to understand how big Cook County is. In fact, it’s so big it is also the third-largest county in the United States. Its size makes it home to some pretty interesting statistics that you may never have heard before but will be sure to impress your friends with when they find out.
Cook County Facts
Chicago is often referred to as “the city that works,” but ironically, the work that keeps this city running comes from the rest of the county. The county is quite large, spanning over 5,000 square miles, so it is able to host a wide range of industries. All of this industry results in the county being the number one exporter in the entire state of Illinois. The county is also home to a wide range of ethnicities, which is reflected in the wide array of cuisines available throughout the city. This highlights the fact that there are over 100 languages spoken in the county, giving people plenty of opportunities to learn something new and practice their language skills.
The county’s population is bigger than many countries
The county’s population is estimated to be over 5.2 million people. If it were a country, it would be the fourth largest in North America and the 14th largest in the entire world. Most of these individuals call Chicago their home, but the county is actually a hub for Small Town America as well. Over 900 unincorporated areas exist in the county, many of them home to just a few hundred residents.
Chicago has more than 10 million square feet of office space
One of the most surprising facts about Cook County is that it hosts more office space than almost every other city in the country. In fact, it has almost twice as much office space as New York City, a city that is almost five times larger than Chicago. This is likely due to the city’s central location, which makes it an ideal place for conducting business with people across the state, country, and even the globe.
There are over 100,000 people currently in jail awaiting trial
Jail is one of the most concerning aspects of life in Cook County. While some people choose to live between the walls of a jail cell, others are forced to reside there as they await their trial. As of May 2019, there are over 100,000 people being held in the county’s correctional facilities awaiting trial. This means that there are roughly three times as many people in jail in Cook County than there are residents in the city of Chicago.
Don’t even think about eating out in Cook County
A sandwich will cost you an average of $9.59 in Cook County. While this may sound like a dream to people who live in other parts of the country, the reality is that eating out in the county is more expensive than anywhere else in the country. This is likely due to the high cost of doing business in the county. In fact, the county is home to three of the country’s most expensive cities to do business: Chicago, Evanston, and Oak Park.
And there are over a million rats roaming free at any given time.
It’s one thing to know that the county’s jails are overcrowded, but rats? The good news is that for every rat you see, there are about three others you don’t. However, this still means there are over a million rats roaming freely in the county. Unfortunately, these rats make it extremely difficult to eradicate the growing opioid crisis that is plaguing the county. In fact, rats are carriers of disease, which means that they are likely to be carrying these opioids around wherever they go.
One-third of all food stamps are spent in Cook County
The county is home to nearly 3 million residents who receive food stamps. While this is certainly concerning, it’s not all bad news. The county is focused on finding ways to decrease the amount of people who depend on food stamps, including providing free legal assistance to those who need it. This means that while many people are still struggling to make ends meet, they can at least receive the help they need to get back on their feet.
At least 1 in 3 people have a mental illness and don’t receive treatment.
Cook County has been at the forefront of mental health awareness, but sadly, many people in the county still don’t receive the treatment they need. Mental illness is estimated to affect over a third of the county’s population, but only a third of those people receive treatment. Unfortunately, this means that many people with mental illnesses are likely to face discrimination in the workplace and other areas of life.
It is estimated that 40% of children in the county live in poverty.
Poverty is a major issue in the county. The majority of people who live in poverty are children, which means that the county is currently facing a child poverty crisis. Unfortunately, there is no sign of this trend letting up any time soon. In fact, there is an estimated 40% chance that a child in the county will live in poverty throughout their childhood. This means that it is important for the county to find ways to reverse this trend as soon as possible.
Cook County is truly one of a kind. It is a massive place that is home to some pretty interesting facts. If you’re ever in the area, make sure to check out some of these statistics in person. You’ll be sure to see just how amazing this place really is.