July 31, 2014

Community Portrait

Sarasota County

| 1/1/2011
Downtown Sarasota
Downtown Sarasota [Photo: Bill Speer]

Who Lives Here?

Sarasota County: 375,585

» The county’s demographics make its population the oldest in the country among counties with more than 250,000 residents. More than half of the county’s population is older than 50 — a third are over 65.

» Three-quarters of the population live in a one- or two-person household.

» Only 12% of the county’s population speaks a language other than English at home, compared to 26% in Florida overall.

» 91% of residents have graduated from high school; 30% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Both percentages are larger than for Florida overall.

» The population grew 13.4% between 2000 and 2009, slightly less than the Florida average. The county is the state’s 14th most populous.

Incorporated Areas

» Sarasota: 51,000 residents

» Venice: 21,000

» North Port: 56,000

» Longboat Key: The town is split between Sarasota and Manatee counties. It has 8,000 permanent residents, growing to 20,000 during peak tourist season.

Key Demographics

» White (non-Hispanic): 86%

» Hispanic or Latino: 7%

» African-American: 5%

Politics

The area has a quirky streak — it has a strong artistic and cultural focus and often supports socially liberal causes, but residents tend to vote Republican. John McCain carried the county by a couple of hundred votes in 2008, and according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, no Democratic presidential candidate has carried Sarasota County since Franklin Roosevelt in 1944. In the 2010 elections, every Republican on the Sarasota County ballot won his or her race.

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