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.
» 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.
» White (non-Hispanic): 86%
» Hispanic or Latino: 7%
» African-American: 5%
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.