Manatee County, Florida

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Manatee County, Florida
Manatee County Administration Building.jpg
Manatee County Administration Building
Seal of Manatee County, Florida
Logo of Manatee County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Manatee County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 27°29′N 82°22′W / 27.48°N 82.36°W / 27.48; -82.36
FoundedJanuary 9, 1855
Named forFlorida manatee
Largest cityBradenton
 • Total893 sq mi (2,313 km2)
 • Land743 sq mi (1,924 km2)
 • Water150 sq mi (388 km2), 16.8
Population (est.)
 • (2017)385,571[1]
 • Density519/sq mi (200/km2)
Area code(s)941
Congressional district16th
Time zoneEastern: UTC−5/−4

Manatee County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 US Census, the population was 322,833.[2] Manatee County is part of the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton.[3] The county was created in 1855 and named for the Florida manatee[4], Florida's official marine mammal.

Features of Manatee County include access to the southern part of the Tampa Bay estuary, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, and the Manatee River. Manatee County ranks 15th among Florida counties in population.[5]


Prehistoric History[edit]

The area now known as Manatee County had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years.

De Soto Expedition[edit]

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.


Map of Manatee County as it existed in 1856, one year after it was created.

The area was opened to settlement in 1842. The first two settlers were Joseph Braden and Hector Braden who moved into an area near the Manatee River, The two had lost their land for their plantations in Northern Florida during the Panic of 1837. They were said to have heard about that there was abundant land in the area. The brothers moved into a log cabin 5 miles north of the mouth of the Manatee River. Four years later Hector had drowned while trying to cross the Manatee River on his horse during a hurricane. Despite this tragic event, Joseph decided that he would still build his sugar plantation, the Braden sugar mill at the mouth of the Manatee River and the Braden River. He later built a dock where Main Street was at and fortified the area near his house building a stockade. A few years later in 1851, he would build the Braden Castle, which was made out of tabby and served as his residence. It would later become a popular tourist attraction in the early 1900s with Tin Can Tourists. He would only stay there for the next six years before moving to Tallahassee.[6]

Manatee County had the Gamble Plantation, a sugar plantation that was one of the South's finest.

When Manatee County was created in 1855, it included all of what are now Charlotte County, DeSoto County, Glades County, Hardee County, Highlands County, Sarasota County and part of Lee County[7]


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.[8]

Adjacent counties[edit]

State & Nationally protected areas[edit]




Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2017385,571[9]19.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010-2015[2]

In 2017, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county's population was 385,571. The racial makeup of the county was 86.2% White, 9.2% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.8% from two or more races. 16.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[14]

As of the census[15] 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.[16][17]

Tropicana was founded here in the 1950s. They were later bought by PepsiCo but continue to produce products there today.


Manatee County Public Library System
Location1301 Barcarrota Blvd West
Bradenton, Florida 14203
Coordinates27°29′55.2″N 82°34′29″W / 27.498667°N 82.57472°W / 27.498667; -82.57472
Items collectedBooks, Movies, Newspapers
Access and use
Population served322,000
Other information

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.[18] 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.[19][20]

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.[21][22]

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[23]

2016 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Teen Recycled Fashion Show[24]

2016 Lifetime Achievement Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Kevin Beach, for a long-standing, distinguished record of professional achievements and accomplishments.[25]

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[26]

2015 Keep Manatee Beautiful Recycling Award- Government Category
in recognition of the Recycled Dreams Teen Fashion Show of Recycled Materials[27]

2014 Libraries Change People's Lives Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded Hispanic Services [28]

2013 Library Innovation Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of expanded services, programs, and activities focusing on community needs[29]

2013 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award- Florida Library Association
in recognition of Mana-Con Comics Convention[30]


Primary and secondary education[edit]

Higher education[edit]


Map of Manatee County indicating incorporated municipalities:



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated places[edit]


Manatee County has a county transportation service, MCAT. It serves this county, Pinellas County, and Sarasota County.[31]


Major Roads[edit]




Political history[edit]

Manatee County is part 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.[32]

Law enforcement and justice[edit]

Sheriff's Office[edit]

Unincorporated Manatee County is served by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.[33]


Circuit Court[edit]

Manatee County is a part of the Twelfth Circuit Court of Florida.

Court of Appeals[edit]

Manatee County is part of the Second District of Appeals.

Recent presidential election results[edit]

Presidential elections results
Manatee County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2016 56.40% 101,944 39.40% 71,224 4.20% 7,589
2012 55.65% 85,627 43.22% 66,503 1.13% 1,736
2008 52.94% 80,721 45.93% 70,034 1.12% 1,712
2004 56.62% 81,318 42.66% 61,262 0.72% 1,041
2000 52.58% 58,023 44.61% 49,226 2.80% 3,095
1996 45.56% 44,136 43.24% 41,891 11.20% 10,851
1992 42.63% 42,725 33.77% 33,841 23.60% 23,654
1988 65.53% 51,187 34.08% 26,624 0.39% 302
1984 72.75% 55,793 27.24% 20,889 0.01% 6
1980 61.81% 40,535 33.06% 21,679 5.13% 3,362
1976 53.90% 29,300 44.78% 24,342 1.32% 718
1972 79.79% 32,664 19.68% 8,058 0.53% 218
1968 52.51% 18,247 23.85% 8,286 23.64% 8,214
1964 56.74% 17,147 43.26% 13,074
1960 65.13% 16,462 34.87% 8,814
1956 68.82% 11,904 31.18% 5,394
1952 66.40% 9,055 33.60% 4,583
1948 44.30% 3,371 36.35% 2,766 19.35% 1,473
1944 32.80% 2,218 67.20% 4,544
1940 27.87% 1,983 72.13% 5,131
1936 29.44% 1,455 70.56% 3,487
1932 30.67% 1,280 69.33% 2,894
1928 63.87% 2,705 34.76% 1,472 1.37% 58
1924 32.54% 629 55.04% 1,064 12.41% 240
1920 30.83% 884 62.43% 1,790 6.73% 193
1916 18.67% 289 66.73% 1,033 14.60% 226
1912 5.31% 55 68.73% 712 25.96% 269
1908 10.23% 93 70.85% 644 18.92% 172
1904 10.64% 91 69.24% 592 20.12% 172

Government officials[edit]

United States Senate[edit]

Office Senator Party
Class 3 Senator Marco Rubio Republican
Class 1 Senator Rick Scott Republican

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 Will Robinson Republican
73 Tommy Gregory Republican

Manatee County Board of County Commissioners[edit]

The Manatee County Board of Commissioners include the following:

Manatee County Board of County Commissioners[35]
Position Incumbent
District 1 Priscilla W. Trace
District 2 Reggie Bellamy
District 3 Stephen R. Jonsson
District 4 Misty Servia
District 5 Vanessa Baugh
District 6[note 1] Carol Whitmore
District 7[note 1] Betsy Benac
  1. ^ a b At-large, representing the entire county.

Public education[edit]

Manatee County School Board[36]
Position Incumbent Term ends
District 1 Gina Messenger November 2020
District 2 Charlie Kennedy November 2018
District 3 Dave “Watchdog” Miner November 2020
District 4 Dr. Scott L. Hopes November 2018[note 1]
District 5 John A. Colón November 2018[note 2]
  1. ^ On July 21, 2017, Governor Rick Scott appointed Hopes to fill the then-vacant seat on the Manatee board following resignation of Karen Carpenter's seat effective June 1, 2017.[37]
  2. ^ On September 4, 2015, Governor Rick Scott 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 Angelina M. Colonneso Republican 2015†
  Property Appraiser Charles E. Hackney Republican 1992
  Sheriff Rick Wells Republican 2016†
  Supervisor of Elections [39] Mike Bennett Republican 2013
  Tax Collector [40] Ken Burton, Jr Republican 1992

Voter registration[edit]

Information as of January 12, 2019.[41]

Voter registration and party enrollment
Party Number of voters Percentage
Republican 106,721 43.24%
Democratic 74,909 30.35%
Others 65,162 26.4%
Total 246,792 100%

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 33.
  5. ^ "World Population Review | Manatee County, Florida Population 2019". Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  6. ^ "Manatee History Matters: Braidentown, Bradentown, Bradenton - What's in a name?". bradenton. Retrieved April 5, 2017.
  7. ^ "Pioneer Life in Manatee County". Retrieved January 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  16. ^ "Contact Us Archived December 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine." Bealls (Florida). Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  17. ^ "Samoset CDP, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 14, 2009.
  18. ^ "Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved March 15, 2015
  19. ^ Palmetto Friends of the Library. (Spring 2015). Palmetto Friends of the Library Newsletter.
  20. ^ Aronson, Claire. "Manatee County creates model for local Little Free Library program". Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  21. ^ "Library Card Policies" Retrieved March 15, 2015
  22. ^ "Locations and Hours: Manatee County Public Library System" Retrieved April 19, 2013
  23. ^ "2016 Library of the Year". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  24. ^ "2016 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  25. ^ "2016 Lifetime Achievement Award". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  26. ^ "2016 Outstanding Friends Member". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link found in "Awards History" for current winners.
  27. ^ "2015 Keep Manatee Beautiful Recycling Award". FLA. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Listed under 2015 Awards Celebration Winners.
  28. ^ "2014 Libraries Change People's Lives Award". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link to 2014 award winners.
  29. ^ "2013 Library Innovation Award". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link to 2013 award winners.
  30. ^ "2013 Betty Davis Miller Youth Services Award". FLA. Archived from the original on August 3, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
    Link to 2013 award winners.
  31. ^ "MCAT". Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  32. ^ Sullivan, Robert David (June 29, 2016). "How the red and blue map evolved over the past century". America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  33. ^ "Manatee County Sheriff's office". Manatee County Sheriff. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  34. ^ David Leip. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  35. ^ "Board of County Commissioners". Manatee County Government. Archived from the original on May 9, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  36. ^ "School Board Members". School District of Manatee County. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  37. ^ Anderson, Zac (July 21, 2017). "Governor appoints Scott Hopes to Manatee School Board seat". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  38. ^ Delaney, Meghin (September 4, 2015). "Gov Rick Scott appoints John Colon to Manatee School Board". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  39. ^ "Manatee County Supervisor of Elections > Home". Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  40. ^ Collector, Manatee County Tax. "Manatee County Tax - Welcome". Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  41. ^ "Manatee County Supervisor of Elections > Home". Manatee County Supervisor of Elections. Retrieved January 12, 2019.

External links[edit]

Government links/Constitutional offices[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Education and cultural resources[edit]

Tourism links[edit]