The Northern Illinois Region
NIPHC local health departments’ jurisdictions range in size from the City of Chicago and Suburban Cook County, each at nearly 2.7 million people, to Grundy County with a population of 38,000, for an aggregate total of 8.5 million people, comprising over two-thirds of the total population of Illinois. The region is anchored by the City of Chicago- the economic, transportation and cultural capital of the Midwest, while the collar counties taken by themselves would comprise the nation's fourth largest metropolitan area. NIPHC jurisdictions range from urban, suburban, to rural emerging as urban. The Northern Illinois counties are linked geographically, economically, through transportation and commuting patterns, and share similar public health concerns. The definition of the region, while geographically distinct, is somewhat fluid, for example, Winnebago County does not share geographic borders with other NIPHC members.
The Metropolitan Chicago area represents the third largest economic engine in the nation as home to more than 300,000 companies, including the headquarters of about 30 Fortune 500 Corporations, which employ four million people. Leading economic sectors include financial services, electrical machinery and equipment, insurance, pharmaceuticals, health services, and retailing. The region draws millions of visitors annually to its wide-ranging attractions including professional sports events, national expositions and trade shows, cultural venues, festivals, and shopping centers.