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Cook County is an urban county in the upper northeastern section of the State of Illinois that contains more than 800 local governmental units within its boundaries. With a population of approximately 5.4 million people, it is the second most populous county in the nation and the 19th largest government in the United States (2000 census statistics). It is governed by a 17-member Board of Commissioners who are elected from single-member districts. The Commissioners and a County Board President are elected to four-year terms by the citizens of the County.
Cook County contains 133 municipalities in its region, the most well known being the City of Chicago - which is the County seat where the central offices of Cook County are located. The City of Chicago and the suburban municipalities account for approximately 85% of the County's 946 square miles, while unincorporated areas make up the remaining 15%. The unincorporated areas of the County are under the jurisdiction of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
As mandated by State law, County government has principal responsibility for the protection of persons and property, the provision for public health services and the maintenance of County highways. The obligation to provide public health services is fulfilled by the provision of comprehensive medical services to the citizens of the County, regardless of their ability to pay. The Bureau of Health Services, under the President, administers the county's public health services and is the second largest public health system in the nation.
Cook County Government provides a range of vital services and programs that enhance the quality of life for residents across the region. These services range from health care to urban planning. Cook County is committed to empowering its employees to bring our constituents the best that public service has to offer. Cook County offers one of the region's best pension plans, generous vacation, insurance and leave benefits, and a commitment to public service that bring out the best in our workforce.