As of the 2010 census, the population was 322,833. Its county seat and largest city is Bradenton. The county was created in 1855. It was named for the Florida manatee (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.
The area now known as Manatee County was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. 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.
Every January, the Manatee County Fair takes place at the fairgrounds. http://www.manateecountyfair.com/
In 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the county’s population was 333,810. 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. 
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.