DeSoto County Florida Located in South West Florida
DeSoto County Cities
Land area (rank): 636 square miles (41)
Population 1993 (rank): 25,461 (48)
Population density 1990 (rank): 40 persons per square mile (47)
Rank in growth 1980-1990: 25.4% (43)
De Soto County is east of the Sarasota-Bradenton area and is
bordered by Charlotte, Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee, and Highlands
counties. The county has 3 square miles of water. The average
January temperature is 63.0 degrees F, and the average August
temperature is 81.9 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is
De Soto County was established from a portion of Manatee County
in 1887 and named for Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto.
In 1993 over 70% of De Soto County's population was in unincorporated
areas. The only incorporated area is Arcadia, which in 1993 had
a population of 6,543. The unincorporated area of Southeast Arcadia
had a population of 4,145 in 1990. In 1993, 83% of De Soto County's
population was white and 17% was nonwhite. In 1990, 9.6% of the
population was Hispanic. Of the population increase between 1980
and 1990, 89.3% was due to net migration. The 1992 birth rate
for the county was 15.6 live births per 1,000 persons, and the
1992 death rate was 10.4 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 1992 the
infant mortality rate was 10.3 per 1,000. The leading causes of
death in 1993 were heart disease, cancer, and accidents.
Of all 1992 high school graduates, 51.7% planned to continue
their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate for the county
was 4.4%. In 1990, 54.5% of persons in the county were high school
graduates, and 7.6% had completed four or more years of college.
Colleges and universities. Florida Southern College at Port Charlotte
The per capita income in De Soto County in 1993 was $14,534
(44th highest in the state). The median household income in 1989
was $20,962. In 1989, 14.2% of families had incomes below the
poverty level. In 1990, 25.9% of personal income in De Soto County
was derived from transfer payments. In 1992 the greatest numbers
of persons in De Soto County were employed in the government,
retail trade, and agricultural sectors. Florida Health and Rehabilitative
Services District Office in Arcadia, Arcadia Road Prison, and
De Soto Correctional Institution are major government employers.
Eating and drinking establishments are the major employers in
the service sector. In 1992 there were 804 farms in De Soto County,
totalling 334,623 acres (82% of land in the county). De Soto County
is a major producer of citrus and cattle. In 1991, 230 thousand
board feet of softwood logs and 46,658 cords of softwood for pulp
were produced in the county.
Median value of a single-family home 1990: $49,600
Median monthly rent 1990: $272
Mobile homes as a % of total housing: 36.4
Housing starts 1992: 101
Housing starts 1993: 81
In 1992 the price level index for De Soto County was 95.45
(27th highest in the state).
In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 8.4800, and the total
taxable value of property was $585,466,503. Taxable sales totalled
$126.10 million in 1992 and $126.30 million in 1993. Lottery sales
totalled $3,168 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 De Soto County's
revenues totalled $15,889 thousand ($647.6 per capita) and its
expenditures $16,657 thousand ($678.9 per capita). Of those 18
years of age and older, 56.2% were registered to vote in 1992.
Of these, 75.7% were registered Democrat and 21.8% were registered
Republican. In the 1992 presidential election, 41.3% of the votes
were cast for Bush, 35.6% for Clinton, and 22.7% for Perot.
Events and Places of Interest
All-Florida Championship Rodeo, Arcadia, March; De Soto Watermelon
Festival, Arcadia, May; Arcadia Historic District.