Manatee County, Florida

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Manatee County, Florida
County of Manatee
Bradenton FL newer county crths pano01.jpg
The Manatee County Courthouse in 2010
Seal of Manatee County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Manatee County
Location in the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded January 9, 1855
Named for Florida manatee
Seat Bradenton
Largest city Bradenton
 • Total 893 sq mi (2,313 km2)
 • Land 743 sq mi (1,924 km2)
 • Water 150 sq mi (388 km2), 16.8%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 363,369
 • Density 435/sq mi (168/km²)
Congressional district 16th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 322,833.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton.[2] The county was created in 1855. It was named for the Florida manatee[3] (commonly called a “sea cow” and distantly related to the elephant), which is endangered and Florida’s official marine mammal.

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

Features of Manatee County include access to the Southern part of Tampa Bay, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and the Manatee River. Rowing facilities are being developed in the area and the Upper Manatee River Canoe Trail has been created. There are several parks and preserves.

About 1.8 percent of all of Florida’s population lives in Manatee County and it ranks sixteenth amongst Florida counties in population.[4]


Manatee County Fair

The area now known as Manatee County had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before the southern mouth of the Manatee River was likely the landing site of the De Soto Expedition and is the location of the U.S. National Park Service’s De Soto National Memorial. The area was opened to settlement in 1842 and Manatee County had the Gamble Plantation, a sugar plantation that was one of the South’s finest. The area that Manatee County is in today had a major feature for pioneers – the Manatee River. Most pioneers chose to settle here because of the fertile soil of the Manatee River Valley. The Manatee River was also a deep river which made it a valuable place to settle at. The area Manatee County once had where Hardee County, Highlands County, Sarasota County, DeSoto County, Charlotte County and Glades County.[5]

Every January, the Manatee County Fair takes place at the fairgrounds.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 893 square miles (2,310 km2), of which 743 square miles (1,920 km2) is land and 150 square miles (390 km2) (%) is water.[6]

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]




Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 854
1870 1,931 126.1%
1880 3,544 83.5%
1890 2,895 −18.3%
1900 4,663 61.1%
1910 9,550 104.8%
1920 18,712 95.9%
1930 22,502 20.3%
1940 26,098 16.0%
1950 34,704 33.0%
1960 69,168 99.3%
1970 97,115 40.4%
1980 148,442 52.9%
1990 211,707 42.6%
2000 264,002 24.7%
2010 322,833 22.3%
Est. 2015 363,369 [7] 12.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2015[1]

In 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 363,369. The racial makeup of the county was 86.6% White, 9.3% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.6% from two or more races. 15.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 264,002 people, 112,460 households, and 73,773 families residing in the county. The population density was 356/sq mi (138/km2). There were 138,128 housing units at an average density of 186/sq mi (72/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.36% White, 8.19% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.90% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.84% from other races, and 1.39% from two or more races. 9.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000 there were 112,460 households out of which 23.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.70% under the age of 18, 6.50% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 24.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 93.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $38,673, and the median income for a family was $46,576. Males had a median income of $31,607 versus $25,007 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,388. About 7.10% of families and 10.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.30% of those under age 18 and 6.20% of those age 65 or over.


Bealls of Florida has its headquarters and was founded 1915 in unincorporated Manatee County.[14][15]


Manatee County Public Library System
Country USA
Type Public
Established 1964
Location 1301 Barcarrota Blvd West
Bradenton, Florida 14203
Coordinates 27°29′55.2″N 82°34′29″W / 27.498667°N 82.57472°W / 27.498667; -82.57472
Branches 6
Items collected Books, Movies, Newspapers
Size 30,000
Access and use
Population served 322,000
Members 20,000
Other information
Budget $25,000
Staff 120

The Manatee County Public Library System offers a collection of adult, young adult, and children's materials, as well as a genealogy section and the Eaton Florida History Reading Room. Public computers for all to use are available at all library locations. The library's online resources include licensing to OverDrive, Inc., Hoopla (digital media service), and Freegal Music. The library also hosts an online digital collection featuring historic images and documents from Manatee County during the late nineteenth century to early 1980's.[1] Additionally, Ask a Librarian, the on-line Florida librarian reference service is available through the Manatee County Public Library System.[16] The library system also offers E-Books, E-Audio, music, and movies through five databases located on their website .

The libraries also offer extensive programming that includes author luncheons, children's story-times, summer reading programs, job fairs, and book discussion groups. Special events held annually include Mana-con, a comic book convention, and the Teen Recycled Fashion Show.

Manatee County participates in the Little Free Library program. The Palmetto Branch will place their Little Free Library in 2015, and then all six Manatee County Libraries will have them. Several Manatee County Parks have Little Free Libraries including Emerson Point Preserve, Robinson Preserve, Greenbrook Park, Bennett Park, Jigg's Landing and Conservatory Park.[17][18]

The library system serves the residents of Manatee County with six locations:

Library cards are free to those who reside, own property, attend school, and/or work in Manatee County. Non-residents may obtain a temporary card upon payment of a $20.00 annual fee.[19][20]

History of libraries[edit]

Original Bradentown Library
Original Bradentown Library
Palmetto's Carnegie Library
Palmetto's Carnegie Library, built in 1914.
Bradenton's Carnegie Library
Bradenton's Carnegie Library, built in 1918.

Public libraries in Manatee County began in the year 1898 with a privately owned rental library created by Mrs. Julia Fuller in the Mrs. Bass Dry Goods store. The first independent library building in the county was opened in Bradenton in 1907, followed by Palmetto building a Carnegie Library in 1914 and Bradenton doing the same in 1918. For much of the 20th century, libraries in both cities were free to city residents while county residents had to pay a non-resident fee. In 1964, the city library associations in Bradenton and Palmetto merged with the Manatee County government to create what is now known as the Manatee County Public Library System. This was followed by the establishment of a bookmobile for rural areas in late 1964 and a Talking Books program for the blind in 1966.

As demands on the bookmobile grew and the library collection outstripped the existing buildings in Bradenton and Palmetto, the first branch of the Manatee County Public Library system was built in Bayshore in 1967, followed by a new branch on East Ninth Street in 1969 and an Island branch in 1971, the last of which later moved into a new building in 1983. A new building for the Palmetto Library was built in 1969, eventually followed by the modern Central Public Library in downtown Bradenton in 1978.

The 1990s saw a period of rapid growth for Manatee County, and the library system grew to accommodate, with the Braden River, Rocky Bluff, and South Manatee branches opening in 1991, 1994, and 1998, respectively, and the Braden River branch subsequently moved to a new building in 1997, bringing the Manatee County Library System to its modern state.

Awards and Recognition[edit]

2016 Library of the Year- Florida Library Association
in recognition of the Manatee County Public Library System for the outstanding service it provides to the community[21]

2016 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Teen Recycled Fashion Show[22]

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Kevin Beach, for a long-standing, distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments.[23]

2016 Outstanding Friends Member- Florida Library Association
in recognition of the outstanding service of Doris Pope, president of the Friends of the Rocky Bluff Library[24]

2015 Keep Manatee Beautiful Recycling Award- Government Category
in recognition of the Recycled Dreams Teen Fashion Show of Recycled Materials[25]

2014 Libraries Change People's Lives Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded Hispanic Services [26]

2013 Library Innovation Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded services, programs, and activities focusing on community needs[27]

2013 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Mana-Con Comics Convention[28]


See Manatee County School District[29]


Map of Manatee County indicating incorporated municipalities. Number corresponds to list at left.



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated places[edit]



Major Roads[edit]




Manatee County is party of the strongly Republican Sun Belt region of Florida’s southwest coast, extending south as far as Collier County. The area became a Republican stronghold following World War II and has remained so since: the last Democrat to win Manatee County was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.[30]

Libertarian Party[edit]

The Libertarian Party of Florida has it's headquarters in Bradenton, Florida.

Recent Presidential Election Results[edit]

Manatee County has long been a conservative strong hold. In the 2016 election Donald Trump won the county with a margin of 20% or by 30,720 votes.

Manatee County County vote
by party in presidential elections, 1960 to 2016
Year GOP DEM Others
2016 56.4% 101,944 39.4% 71,224 4.2% 7,589
2012 55.7% 85,627 43.2% 66,503 1.1% 1,736
2008 52.9% 80,721 45.9% 70,034 1.1% 1,712
2004 56.6% 81,283 42.6% 61,262 0.8% 1,123
2000 52.6% 58,023 44.6% 49,226 2.8% 3,095
1996 45.6% 44,136 43.2% 41,891 11.2% 10,851
1992 42.6% 42,725 33.8% 33,841 23.6% 23,654
1988 65.5% 51,187 34.1% 26,624 0.4% 302
1984 72.8% 55,793 27.2% 20,889 0.0% 6
1980 61.8% 40,535 33.1% 21,679 5.1% 3,362
1976 53.9% 29,300 44.8% 24,342 1.3% 718
1972 79.8% 32664 19.7% 8,058 0.5% 218
1968 52.5% 18,247 23.9% 8,286 23.6% 8,214
1964 56.7% 17,147 43.3% 13,074 0.0% 0
1960 65.1% 16,462 34.9% 8,814 0.0% 0

Government Officials[edit]

United States Senate[edit]

Office Senator Party
Class 3 Senator Marco Rubio Republican
Class 1 Senator Bill Nelson Democratic

United States House of Representatives[edit]

District Representative Party
Florida's 16th Congressional District Vern Buchanan Republican

Florida State Senate[edit]

District Senator Party
21 Bill Galvano Republican

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

District Representative Party
70 Wengay Newton Democratic
71 Jim Boyd Republican
73 Joe Gruters Republican

Manatee County Board of County Commissioners[edit]

The Manatee County Board of Commissioners include the following:

Manatee County Board [31]
District Name Party First Elected Representing
  District 1 Priscilla W. Trace Republican 2016 Duette, Ellenton, Palmetto, Parrish
  District 2 Charles B. Smith Democratic 2014 Bradenton, Ellenton, Palmetto
  District 3 Stephen R. Jonsson Republican 2016 Anna Maria, Bradenton
  District 4 Robin DiSabatino Republican 2010 Bradenton
  District 5 Vanessa Baugh Republican 2012 Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, Mayyka City
  District At-Large Carol Whitmore Republican 2006 Whole County
  District At-Large Betsy Benac Republican 2012 Whole County
Manatee County Board of Commissioners District Map

Manatee County School Board[edit]

Manatee County School Board [32]
District Member First Elected Elementary Schools Representing Middle Schools Representing High Schools Representing
District 1 Gina Messenger[33] 2016 Blackburn, Freedom, Mills, Palmetto, Williams, Witt Buffalo Creek, Haile Palmetto
District 2 Charlie Kennedy[34] 2014 Ballard, Manatee, Orange Ridge, Palm View, Rogers Garden, Rowlett, Samoset, Tillman, Wakeland Lincoln, Johnson Southeast
District 3 Dave "Watchdog' Miner [35] 2012 Anna Maria, Miller, Moody, Palma Sola, Prine, Seabreeze, Stewart King, Lee, Sugg Manatee
District 4 Karen Carpenter [36] 2010 Abel, Bayshore, Daughtrey, Kinnan, Oneco Harlle Bayshore
District 5 John A. Colón [37] 2015† Bashaw, Barden River, Gullett, McNeal, Myakka, City, Tara, Willis Braden River, Nolan Braden River, Lakewood Ranch

† On September 4, 2015, Governor Rick Scott (R) appointed Colón to fill the then-vacant seat on the Manatee board following the death of Mary S. Cantrell.[38]

Other Offices[edit]

Constitutional Officers
Office Name Party First Elected
  Clerk of the Circuit Court [39] Angelina M. Colonneso Republican 2015†
  Property Appraiser [40] Charles E. Hackney Republican 1992
  Sheriff [41] Rick Wells Republican 2016†
  Supervisor of Elections [42] Mike Bennett Republican 201
  Tax Collector [43] Ken Burton, Jr Republican

Voter Registration[edit]

Information As of 3/17/17[44]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment
Party Number of Voters Percentage
Republican 101,842 43.42%
Democratic 71,952 30.86%
Libertarian 515
Others 59,830 25.72%
Total 234,048 100%

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 33. 
  4. ^ "Office of Economic & and Demographical Research" (PDF). 2014. 
  5. ^ "Pioneer Life in Manatee County". Retrieved 2016-01-25. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  7. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Contact Us." Bealls (Florida). Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  15. ^ "Samoset CDP, Florida." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  16. ^ "Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved March 15, 2015
  17. ^ Palmetto Friends of the Library. (Spring 2015). Palmetto Friends of the Library Newsletter.
  18. ^ Aronson, Claire. "Manatee County creates model for local Little Free Library program". Retrieved 15 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Library Card Policies" Retrieved March 15, 2015
  20. ^ "Locations and Hours: Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved April 19, 2013
  21. ^ "2016 Library of the Year". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  22. ^ "2016 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  23. ^ "2016 Lifetime Achievement Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  24. ^ "2016 Outstanding Friends Member". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  25. ^ "2015 Keep Manatee Beautiful Recycling Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Listed under 2015 Awards Celebration Winners.
  26. ^ "2014 Libraries Change People's Lives Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link to 2014 award winners.
  27. ^ "2013 Library Innovation Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link to 2013 award winners.
  28. ^ "2013 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016. 
    Link to 2013 award winners.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^

External links[edit]

Government links/Constitutional offices[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Education and Cultural Resources[edit]

Tourism links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°29′N 82°22′W / 27.48°N 82.36°W / 27.48; -82.36