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Sarasota County, Florida facts for kids

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Sarasota County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Sarasota County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the USA highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded May 14, 1921
Seat Sarasota
Largest City North Port
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

725 sq mi (1,878 km²)
556 sq mi (1,440 km²)
169 sq mi (438 km²), 23.4%
 - (2015)
 - Density

683/sq mi (264/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
County logo Logo of Sarasota County, Florida

Sarasota County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 379,448. Its county seat is Sarasota, and its largest city is North Port. A majority (over 60%) of Sarasota County's residents live in unincorporated areas outside of its four municipalities.

Sarasota County is included in the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Downtown Sarasota, the county seat, from the John Ringling Causeway Bridge
Great Egret - Myakka River State Park
A great egret in Myakka River State Park
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.svgInterstate 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 - Also runs north-south through the county, at first east of Tamiaimi Trail and later rejoining it (it separates from 41 north of the county line).
  • Florida 789.svgState Road 789
  • Florida 758.svgState Road 758
  • Florida 780.svgState Road 780
  • Florida 776.svgState Road 776
  • Florida 72.svgState Road 72
  • Florida 681.svgState Road 681

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%
Est. 2015 405,549 6.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015
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 as of 2006 had reached 369,535 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. On January 2017, the Braves announced a formal agreement to move their Spring Training home to North Port, FL.




Census-designated places

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