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Cook County death statistics

Cook County death statistics

Illustration of a graveyard with one giant tombstone

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cook County homicides fell last year by more than 15% from 2021 — but they remain much higher than pre-pandemic levels, according to preliminary data from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office (MEO).

Why it matters: The newly released data paints a complex picture of mortality that could shape the county's future policy and resource allocation.

By the numbers: The MEO, which investigates suicides, homicides, accidents and sudden or suspicious deaths, saw 10,443 cases last year.

That's down from 16,047 in 2021 and 12,612 in 2020, but still exceeds that office's 6,200 average caseload of pre-pandemic years.

Zoom in: Most Cook County homicides (740 of 927) occurred in Chicago, with others in Harvey (15), Dolton (11), Riverdale (9) and Maywood (8).

76% of homicide victims were Black, and 18% were Latino.

86% were male.

88% involved a gun, and homicides among children rose 13%.

Separately, suicide rates have held steady over the past four years, with males consistently making up around 75% of the cases.

Rates among Black residents rose during the pandemic while falling slightly for white and Asian residents.

What's next: The MEO believes 2022 opioid deaths will surpass last year's total of 1,936. Hundreds of pending toxicology results are expected to push the current 1,599 figure past 2,000, officials say.

In the preliminary data, Black residents suffered the majority of opioid deaths.

And the 50-59 age group had the largest share of deaths.

So far, the youngest opioid overdose in 2022 was a 12-year-old-boy from Chicago.

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