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Siesta Key Thursday, Sep. 1, 2011 10 years ago

Siesta sees population decline over past decade

by: Rachel Brown Hackney Managing Editor

Siesta Key’s population was recorded at 6,565 during the 2010 census, and the median age for an island resident was 62.7.

Data snapshots provided by the U.S. Census Bureau show an 8.18% decline in population from 2000 to 2010. Female residents barely outnumber the males, 3,404 to 3,161. However, the female population dropped 9.32% from 2000 to 2010, while the male population had a smaller drop, 6.92%.

The statistics also show that Siesta Key residents made up not quite 2% of the total Sarasota County population of 379,448 recorded for the 2010 census. The median county age was younger: 52.5. Moreover, the county population increased by 53,491 people from the 2000 census figure of 325,957.

During the Siesta Key Association annual meeting in March 2009, then-President Lourdes Ramirez told the audience the Key had about 3,000 full-time residents in about 10,000 housing units. She was surprised, she told the Pelican Press Tuesday, when she saw the latest census figures.

“We have so many rentals,” she said, referring to short-term housing on the Key.

Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday he had heard in the past couple of years that the full-time resident number was about 7,000; therefore, the 2010 census figure was not surprising.

For Ramirez, though, another curiosity with the population figure is that the Key has more than 7,000 registered voters.

According to the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Office, the total number of registered voters for the Key’s four precincts is 7,211.

Cooper did agree with Ramirez in hoping that census-takers counted appropriately rental property. Still, he said, numbers can vary according to how data is gathered. He said he had seen various means of tallying the number of people who come to Siesta Public Beach each year, for example.

“There are all kinds of equations out there,” he said.

According to the 2010 census, the Key had 8,146 housing units, an increase of 3.31% from 2000. Of that latest number, 2,915, or 35.78%, were reported to be owner-occupied. That was a decrease of 6.69% from 2000.

Units listed as renter-occupied numbered 585, or 7.18% of the total — an increase of 11.23% from 2000.

The 2010 data showed 4,646 vacant housing units on the Key, an increase of 13.26% from 2000. Out of all those units, 1,084, or 13.31%, were for rent; 109, or 1.34%, were for sale only. Those designated “for seasonal, recreational or occasional use” numbered 3,338, or 40.98% of the total, an increase of 42.28% from 2000.

Siesta Key remains an unincorporated part of Sarasota County. Although 42% of the 1,143 respondents to a 2009 SKA survey supported moving forward with an effort to incorporate the Key, Ramirez pointed out Tuesday that the issue of taxes ultimately had led to the organization dropping the matter.

“The last thing Siesta Key residents want to see is an increase in taxes,” she said.

Click here to view a graphic of Siesta Key's demographics. 

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