Learn history and facts about Pinellas County.
Pinellas County Government is a unique, complex mix of 25 governmental bodies: one for each of the 24 cities/municipalities and one for the unincorporated area. Almost a third of the county is unincorporated and the residents living in these areas are governed by, pay taxes to and receive services directly from the Pinellas County government.
Taxes from each of the 24 cities/municipalities provide services to their residents unless there is a contract with the County or with private companies. Within some of the city boundaries, there are areas called enclaves that are unincorporated and receive services from the County government. Residents who live in these enclaves are not eligible to vote in municipal elections on municipal issues.
There are also taxing districts which meet specific needs not addressed in the general countywide millage. The affected residents vote a specified millage to be used for a special purpose. Examples of these would be the Palm Harbor Library District, various fire districts, and street lighting districts. Taxing districts are created by an act of the Legislature with a confirming referendum by residents. To prevent double taxation, the County adjusts the tax rate to deduct for services provided by cities/municipalities, i.e. those which have their own police department will not be assessed County millage for the County Sheriff’s Office. For more taxing information visit our website - Citizens Guide to the Budget.
Post Office addresses do not necessarily correspond to boundaries of cities/municipalities. Residents of Belleair, for instance, have a Clearwater address. Palm Harbor and Ozona, on the other hand, are not incorporated cities/municipalities but have their own post offices.
All residents of the incorporated or unincorporated area of Pinellas County elect countywide officials, pay taxes, and receive some services from the County.
To learn more about county government, take our Citizens University course.
History & Facts: Pinellas County, on Florida’s West Coast, is a 280-square mile peninsula bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. The County from tip to tip is 38 miles long and 15 miles wide at its broadest point.
The name Pinellas is derived from the Spanish words Punta Pinal meaning "point of pines." That was an accurate description for this area when it was discovered by Panfilo de Narvaez in 1528; 36 years after Columbus arrived in the Caribbean and 37 years before the founding of St. Augustine. Narvaez and 400 soldiers, probably were the first Europeans in this area, primarily came looking for gold and silver. Earliest inhabitants of Pinellas were Native Americans and many large Indian shell mounds have been found throughout the County. One of these is located at Pinellas County’s Philippe Park in Safety Harbor.
Pinellas, originally a part of Hillsborough County, became a separate county in 1912. When first formed, its population was 13,193. The 2010 Census estimated Pinellas
County's year-round population at 916,542. The 2020 Census estimated Pinellas County's year-round population at 959,107.
When compared with Florida’s 67 other counties, these estimates show Pinellas County is the 6th most populous in the state. Pinellas’ location provides the area with an ideal year-round climate. Cold winds are tempered in winter and warm breezes are cooled in summer as they blow over the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.
Pinellas enjoys a year-round reputation as a tourist destination with attractions appealing to singles, couples, retirees, and families. Retirement living is also important to Pinellas County’s economic health. Pinellas County’s top key business sectors are health services, tourism services, manufacturing, and financial services. Over 45,000 businesses call Pinellas County home.
Pinellas County is served by Interstate 4, which runs East and West and connects Pinellas with Florida’s East Coast. Interstate 75 and Highway U.S. 19 are the North and South connections.