On February 12, 1820, the Ohio government authorized the creation of Hancock County. Residents named the county in honor of John Hancock, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Previously, the county had been part of land reserved to Ohio's Native Americans, under the Treaty of Greeneville.
Hancock County is located in northwestern Ohio. It is predominantly rural, with only 1.4 percent of the county's 531 square miles consisting of urban areas. The county seat is Findlay. With a population of 38,967 people, Findlay was the county's largest community in 2000. Many residents of Ohio's rural communities are seeking better lives and more opportunities in the state's cities, but Hancock County seems to be growing dramatically in population. Hancock County experienced an 8.8 percent population growth rate between 1990 and 2000, bringing the total number of residents up to 71,295. The county averages 135 people per square mile.
The largest employers in Hancock County are manufacturing businesses, followed closely by sales positions and service industries. During the late nineteenth century, county residents earned their livings drilling for natural gas. By the early twentieth centuries, the residents had extracted the natural gas, ending this industry in the county. In 1999, the per capita income in the county was just over twenty-eight thousand dollars, with 7.3 percent of the people living in poverty.
Most voters in Hancock County claim to be independents, yet in recent years, they have overwhelmingly supported Republican Party candidates at the national level.
Among Hancock County's more prominent residents were Ohio Governor Joseph Vance and songwriter Tell Taylor.