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Sarasota Statistics

Sarasota County by-the-numbers

Seven things to know about Sarasota county; vital statistics; growth rate estimates; top 10 employers

Seven Things to Know About Sarasota

Sarasota has been a circus town since John and Charles Ringling made it the winter home of their circus in 1927. Though Ringling Brothers has dissolved, a museum and a small but vibrant community of artists, including the Flying Wallendas, and the Circus Arts Conservatory maintain the circus’s legacy in the area.

With more than 20,000 plants, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the world’s only botanical garden dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes — plants that derive moisture and nutrients from the air, including orchids, bromeliads and ferns. Located in the heart of Sarasota on the bay, the property was once home to Texaco oil tycoon William Selby and his wife, Marie, who donated the land to the city. Open to the public, the gardens are also a popular setting for society events and weddings.

In addition to an impressive list of current and former CEOs who call Sarasota County home, several celebrities also live here at least part of the year, including author Stephen King, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, sportscaster Dick Vitale, actress Jane Lynch, AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, talk show host Jerry Springer and tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.

The TNT series “Claws,” a dark comedy built around manicurists who work at a Manatee County salon, is filmed partly in Sarasota. The show’s creator told the Sarasota Herald- Tribune that he got the idea for the show after a visit to Sarasota.

Sarasota is noted for a style of mid-century modern architecture, adapted and customized to fit Florida’s climate. Many of the architects of the Sarasota Modern style later became world-renowned, including Paul Rudolph, who chaired the Yale School of Architecture.

Venice is known as the “shark tooth capital” because the predators’ fossilized teeth can be found in such large numbers on the city’s beaches. Much of Florida was underwater in prehistoric times, and marine life flourished where people now live. Layers of fossils dating back 10,000 years are now buried near the coastline and brought to shore by waves and storms.

Warm Mineral Springs in North Port is Florida’s only warm mineral spring and the world’s largest. It’s also one of the nation’s most significant archeological sites. Divers plumbing its 250-foot depths have discovered evidence of man dating back 10,000 years.

Vital Statistics

Sarasota County

  • Size: 555.9 square miles
  • Population: 419,119
  • White Non-Hispanic: 83.2%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 8.9%
  • Black/African-American: 4.2%
  • Other: 3.7%

Notable: Sarasota County includes four incorporated municipalities along with unincorporated communities, farmland and protected lands. More than 60% of its residents live in the county’s unincorporated areas. Many residents are seasonal; the population grows by around 25% in the winter. Based on U.S. Census records, the county’s median age of 55.7 skews higher than the national average of 38.2. But the overall metro area, which includes Bradenton to the north in Manatee County, was the eighth-fastest growing U.S. metro area for millennials between 2010 and 2015, according to the Brookings Institute.