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Sarasota County, Florida facts for kids

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Sarasota County
Sarasota County Courthouse in June 2011
Sarasota County Courthouse in June 2011
Official seal of Sarasota County
Official logo of Sarasota County
Map of Florida highlighting Sarasota County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Florida
Founded May 14, 1921
Seat Sarasota
Largest city North Port
 • Total 725 sq mi (1,880 km2)
 • Land 556 sq mi (1,440 km2)
 • Water 169 sq mi (440 km2)  23.4%
 • Total 434,006
 • Density 767/sq mi (296/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
34223, 34229–34278, 34284–34289, 34292, 34293, 34295
Area code 941
Congressional districts 16th, 17th

Sarasota County is located in southwest Central Florida on the Gulf Coast. At the 2020 US census, the population was 434,006. Its county seat is Sarasota and its largest city is North Port. Sarasota County is part of the North Port–Sarasota–Bradenton, FL metropolitan statistical area.


Downtown Sarasota, the county seat, from the John Ringling Causeway Bridge
Venice Avenue in Venice
Black-necked Stilt - Myakka River State Park
Black-necked stilt in Myakka River State Park
Young Boy Watching Birds, Siesta Beach, Sarasota, FL 2011-11-05
Sunset at Siesta Beach

Sarasota County was created in 1921. After acquisition by the United States as a territory and once Florida obtained state status, the area now included in the county had been governed by Hillsborough County, then Manatee County as the state was divided into smaller and smaller governmental organizations. Manatee County was carved up to allow the creation of three more counties as well.

Although the name was associated with the area from the beginning of European contacts the origin of the name, Sarasota, is unknown. Some believe a fanciful story created for a popular early twentieth-century pageant held in Sarasota, that it was named after the daughter of famous explorer Hernando de Soto's daughter Sara.

According to the Florida League of Cities, the name first appeared in print as "Zarazote" on a 1763 land grant map.

Joseph Daniel Anderson was one of the pioneers of the Sarasota area. He established his homestead in the Forked Creek area in 1886 and became an early leader in what now is southern Sarasota County (having been Manatee County from 1855 until 1921).

The following is a transcript from a Sarasota County historical marker that was erected in a park dedicated to Anderson on Manasota Key.

"After the Civil War, many Georgians moved their families to Southern Florida. Joseph Daniel "Jody" Anderson, born in Georgia in 1867, was a child when his father moved to the Tampa/Sara Sota area. In 1884, Joseph became the head of the Anderson family. Two years later, he moved his family to Southern Manatee County. He homesteaded the land in the Mystic River (Forked Creek) Valley. In 1890 he married Helen Alice Johnson of Sarasota. They had eleven children. Eight survived.
With only hand tools, Anderson converted the Florida wilderness into an agricultural industry. This fertile land produced vegetables, sugar cane and citrus. In the vast Myakka/Pinedale area, he raised his cattle and swine. He and brother Moses "Lee" prospered in ranching until the Range Law Act curtailed the right to use this land for grazing.
Sleds (later wagons) were used to move the farm produce, fruit and cattle to Lemon Bay where they were transferred to draft boats and transported to ships at Boca Grande. Some of the wagons were rafted across the bay to Manasota Beach where the produce was ferried to Cuban smacks and later to American schooners.
Anderson pioneered commercial fishing in North Lemon Bay which teemed with schools of mullet and other fish. The Andersons fished with nets made of cotton and flax twine over which they poured a heavy lime solution to prevent rot. Their base of operation included land storage facilities on the shore and on the beach (Manasota) to salt, dry and pack the fish in barrels. Upon the arrival of run boats with ice from Tampa, the Andersons could ship fresh fish and produce.
Joseph Daniel "Jody" Anderson was a quiet family man who never sought publicity. However, before Sarasota County was organized, he served as deputy sheriff and game warden in the Pinedale/Manasota area. The Anderson family built the area's first school (Pinedale) of which Jody was trustee. He also organized the first church in the area. Anderson actively supported the creation of Sarasota County from Manatee County and in 1922, became the first elected county commissioner from District 4. After the death of his first wife, he married Mary Ethel Morgan with whom he raised four more children. Joseph Daniel Anderson died in 1939."


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 725 square miles (1,880 km2), of which 556 square miles (1,440 km2) is land and 169 square miles (440 km2) (23.4%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Parks and preserves

In addition to local parks there are several preserve areas including:

  • Bayonne Parcel
  • Circus Hammock
  • Curry Creek Preserve
  • Deer Prairie Creek
  • Jelks Preserve
  • Lemon Bay Preserve
  • Manasota Scrub Preserve
  • Myakka Islands Point
  • Old Miakka Preserve
  • Pinelands Reserve
  • Pocono Trail Preserve
  • Red Bug Slough
  • Sleeping Turtles South
  • Sleeping Turtles North
  • South Lemon Bay Preserve
  • T. Mabry Carlton Reserve



  • Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, in both Manatee County (runway) and Sarasota County (terminal).
  • Venice Municipal Airport, a general aviation airport in Venice.
  • Hidden River Airport, a private airport in the eastern part of the county.
  • Buchan Airport, in Englewood.

Major highways and state roads

  • I-75.svg Interstate 75 – North–south limited-access freeway, and has ten interchanges within Sarasota County. Major north–south highway in Sarasota County. It is the high-speed connection with other cities such as Tampa, Florida and Fort Myers, Florida. Interstate 75 heads east in Southern Sarasota County through North Port, Florida to cross Charlotte Harbor at a more manageable length.
  • US 41.svg U.S. Highway 41 – The main north–south road through the county is known as Tamiami Trail. It was created in the 1920s to connect Tampa with Miami, hence the contracted name. It runs through the county close to the coastline and is not limited-access.
  • US 301.svg U.S. Highway 301 – This highway begins in the city of Sarasota, east of Tamiami Trail, and runs north–south through the county.
  • Florida 789.svg State Road 789 – Gulf of Mexico Drive
  • Florida 758.svg State Road 758 – Midnight Pass Road, Higel Avenue, Siesta Drive, South Osprey Avenue, Bee Ridge Road
  • Florida 780.svg State Road 780 – Fruitville Road
  • Florida 776.svg State Road 776 – Englewood Road and North Indiana Avenue
  • Florida 72.svg State Road 72 – Stickney Point Road and Clark Road
  • Florida 681.svg State Road 681 – Venice Connector, this road was formerly the southern terminus of Interstate 75 in the early 1980s

Public transportation

  • Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) provides public transportation for Sarasota County, Florida. SCAT is operated by Sarasota County. It maintains 19 fixed-line bus routes plus a dial-a-ride paratransit service (SCAT Plus).


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 12,440
1940 16,106 29.5%
1950 28,827 79.0%
1960 76,895 166.7%
1970 120,413 56.6%
1980 202,251 68.0%
1990 277,776 37.3%
2000 325,957 17.3%
2010 379,448 16.4%
2020 434,006 14.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010-2020
Casey Key house
Some areas of Sarasota County, such as Casey Key near Nokomis, are very wealthy.

As of the census of 2000, there were 325,957 people, 149,937 households, and 94,460 families residing in the county. The population density was 570 people per square mile (220/km2). There were 182,467 housing units at an average density of 319 per square mile (123/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.65% White, 4.18% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. 4.34% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 89.7% spoke only English at home; 4.4% spoke Spanish, 1.3% German, and 1.0% French at home.

Census Estimates for 2005 show the county population as being 87.5% non-Hispanic whites, 6.3% Latinos, 4.5% African-American and 1.1% Asian.

In 2000, there were 149,957 households, out of which 18.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.00% were non-families. 30.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.61.

In the county, the age distribution was as follows: 16.20% under the age of 18, 5.00% from 18 to 24, 21.70% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 31.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 90.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,957, and the median income for a family was $50,111. About 5.10% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 4.50% of those age 65 or over.

The per capita income for the county was $28,326. Females had a median income of $25,721 versus $32,114 for males.

  • Population in Sarasota County counted in 2016 had reached 412,569 people.

Sports and recreation

Sarasota County is home to Ed Smith Stadium, where the Baltimore Orioles currently have spring training. The Orioles also have minor league facilities at Twin Lakes Park. In January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their Spring Training home to North Port. CoolToday Park opened on March 24, 2019.

Sarasota County is also home to Nathan Benderson Park. The facility has played host to the 2017 World Rowing Championships and subsequent World Rowing events in 2018 and 2019. It has also been the host of the 2016 Olympic Time Trials - Rowing and will host the delayed 2020 Olympic rowing time trials. NBP has also been the site of multiple NCAA national rowing championship regattas, the USRowing Youth National Championships, and other rowing regattas and dragon boat festivals since 2011. The park will host the 2021 U.S. Dragon Boat Federation National Championships and the 2022 International Dragon Boat Federation Club Crew World Championships, after holding the 2014 International Breast Cancer Paddlers Commission world regatta.

Nathan Benderson Park is also the site of Olympic qualifying events in triathlon and paratriathlon, with several ITU Triathlon World Cup and Americas Triathlon Cup events over the years. Numerous community running and walking events, music and food festivals and other community events are held in the park, including the annual NBP Fireworks On The Lake, held every July 3, and NBP Trick Or Treat On The Lake, held the last week of October.




Census-designated places


Top private employers

As of January 2018, the top private employers for Sarasota County are as follows:

  1. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (4,563)
  2. PGT Innovations (2,000)
  3. Publix (1,733)
  4. Venice Regional Medical Center (812)
  5. Sun Hydraulics (632)
  6. Tervis Tumbler (570)
  7. Shared Services Center Sarasota (455)
  8. FCCI Insurance (426)
  9. Doctors Hospital (415)
  10. Jackson Hewitt, Inc. (337)

Top public and private employers

As of October 2018, the top employees for Sarasota County, including public sector jobs, are as follows:

  1. School Board of Sarasota County (4,563)
  2. Sarasota Memorial Hospital (4,244)
  3. Sarasota County Government (3,533)
  4. Publix Supermarkets (2,793)
  5. PGT Industries (2,079)


Primary and secondary education

  • Sarasota County Public Schools – public K–12 School district serving all of Sarasota County

Higher education

  • Keiser University Sarasota – branch campus of Keiser University
  • New College of Florida – public liberal arts college. Honors college of the state of Florida
  • Ringling College of Art and Design – private, 4-year, not-for-profit, fully accredited college with concentrations in art and design
  • State College of Florida, Manatee–Sarasota – South Venice Campus of SCF
  • University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee – branch campus of USF

Museums and libraries

Library branches:

  • Betty J. Johnson North Sarasota Public Library
  • Elsie Quirk Public Library
  • Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library
  • Fruitville Public Library
  • Gulf Gate Public Library
  • North Port Public Library
  • The Osprey Public Library at the Historic Spanish Point
  • Selby Public Library
  • Shannon Staub Library
  • William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library

Sarasota County residents may obtain library cards for free and valid library cards may be used to check out materials at all ten Sarasota County libraries. Manatee and Charlotte County residents, as well as library users from any of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium libraries may register as reciprocal borrowers and check out materials in Sarasota County. Non-resident cards are available for purchase and offer the same privileges as resident cards.

The library system provides a variety of services which include adult, teen and children's materials. Computers for public use are available at all nine Sarasota County Libraries and free wireless access in the libraries is provided by the Sarasota County Government. The library system has licensing to the Cloud Library, OverDrive, Inc. and Freegal Music. Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference system is available through the Sarasota County Public Library System. Sarasota County residents have access to the Pinellas Talking Book Library as well as a Books-by-Mail service. The Selby Public Library has been a selective depository in the Federal Depository Library Program and receives almost 50% of the government publications distributed through the program. Additionally, the Sarasota County Library System is an organization member of the Florida Library Association.

The Little Free Library program was introduced to Sarasota County in 2014 as the result of a collaborative effort between the Libraries and Historical Resources department, the Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources department and the UF/IFAS Sarasota County Extension and Sustainability department. The Sarasota County Little Free Libraries have been placed at thirteen different county parks and recreation centers.


The first library, which was established in 1907 by the Sarasota Town Improvement Society. County libraries have been established in response to community demands and needs.

The first libraries were autonomous with the Head Librarians reporting directly to the County Administrator. Sarasota Public Library was managed by Betty Service, the Englewood library by Harriet Ives, and Venice by Jean McGuire. Joan Hopkins directed and coordinated library services for the rapidly growing population. She directed the establishment of Gulf Gate Public Library, North Port Public Library, Frances T. Bourne Jacaranda Public Library and the new downtown Sarasota library, and laid the groundwork for building future libraries in the county.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Sarasota para niños

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