Cook County CARES Act Equitable Distribution Model

Last Updated: February 11, 2021 -- Cook County will no longer be providing updates to this page as all CARES ACT money related to this program has been expended.


On April 24, 2020, Cook County received $428.6 million in Coronavirus Relief Funding (CRF) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The County was provided these funds to help offset the economic and financial impacts of COVID-19 in the region. To make sure that relief was provided in a way that would meet the needs of all communities, the County decided to give about $51 million to the leaders of the governments in Cook County’s suburban municipalities.
Working with its regional planning partner, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), the County developed an allocation method that considered the rising COVID-19 related costs experienced by all municipalities, as well as the capacity of various municipalities within the County to respond to those costs in light of unequal historic and current investment in those communities. 

About the Numbers

The metrics used to develop the final scores were Population, Median Income, % Population in an Economically Disadvantaged Area and Covid-19 Deaths Per 100,000 (at the time of the allocation). The information provided within the Equity Distribution Model Inputs provide the details of each number used in development for each municipality along with the final scores for each municipality.


Each municipality was assigned a percentile score between 1 and 10 over the five different metrics noted above. Each score was weighted to provide an overall score that could be used to develop a funding allocation. The final scores obtained from the model are available in the Equity Distribution Model Outputs.
The map below displays the final scores used to determine funding allocations. A higher final score indicates higher need and is represented by a darker color on the map. 


Further technical details about the methodology used can be found in the Equity Distribution White Paper. This analysis was primarily completed in R, an open source statistical software.  This code and all supporting files are available on CMAP's Github
The cost of building out the equity scores is essentially free and can be completed by any staff member with an intermediate understanding of statistical analysis software and Excel. All data needed to develop the inputs is available from public sources and the outputs are generated with free open source software.


The equity scores provide a unique way to view your community through an equity lens. The uses of these scores have far ranging policy implications and can be beneficial in the creation of economic development and outreach policies.  However, if implementing, we would encourage like-minded County's to at least include a median income metric in their inputs and be as inclusive as possible when establishing the metrics and weights applied. 
We hope an equity lens will continue to be used in future funding allocation and policy endeavors and that this methodology can serve as an example for strategies that utilize statistical analysis, demographic data and regional cooperation.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I expect this model to be updated?
The datasets of inputs and outputs linked here are specific to the CARES Act. If Cook County receives further rounds of federal funding to distribute to underlying municipalities, the model will be reused and updated with most recent data. However, the CARES Act datasets will remain static and new datasets will be created. 
What is an EDA?
One of the inputs to the model is the percent of population living in an economically disconnected or disinvested area. This category was created by CMAP to identify census tracts with primarily low income and minority or low English proficiency households. More specific information on the methodology is available on CMAP's website
What are your data sources?
COVID-19 deaths are sourced from the Cook County Medical Examiner Case Archive - COVID-19 Related Deaths based on residence city. All other inputs are from CMAP's Community Data Snapshots