Weather Updates

Cook County’s population up .3%, mostly because of immigrants: Census

Chicago now has fewer people its populatithan Toronto. But so what? | For Sun-Times~Lee Hogan

Chicago now has fewer people in its population than Toronto. But so what? | For the Sun-Times~Lee Hogan

storyidforme: 46139260
tmspicid: 16956464
fileheaderid: 7633727

Updated: April 16, 2013 3:49PM

Cook County’s population grew by 17,000 people in 2012, about .3 percent — but much of that gain came from immigrants, according to Census Bureau estimates released Thursday.

The figures showed that about 32,000 more domestic residents moved out of Cook County than moved in. But a net increase of 17,000 immigrants, along with a high ratio of births over deaths, contributed to an overall gain for the county.

“Immigration is down, but it still is really, really key to maintaining the county’s population,” said Chicago demographer Rob Paral of Rob Paral and Associates.

The immigrants to Cook are mostly Hispanic, and those leaving the county are mostly white and African American, Paral said.

Nationwide, Cook County remained in second place in population, behind Los Angeles County and ahead of Harris County, home to Houston.

The fastest-growing areas nationally tended to be in the Great Plains states, ranging from Montana to Texas. The Census Bureau attributed that growth to the ongoing oil and gas boom.

DuPage, Lake, Will, Kane, McHenry and Will counties posted gains of less than 1 percent. In 2011, Lake and McHenry counties had posted small population losses of .27 and .2 percent respectively.

Growth in Kendall County has slowed since the previous decade when it was one of the fastest-growing counties in the country, but it’s population still grew by 1.2 percent in 2012 making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois with a population over 10,000.

In Indiana, Lake County lost .3 percent of its population, or 852 people, while Porter County gained 108 people, or .07 percent.

The Census Bureau also released estimates for metropolitan areas.

The Chicago area, stretching from Wisconsin to Indiana, came in at 9.5 million with a gain of 28,000, maintaining it’s third-place status behind New York and Los Angeles.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.