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