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Health Care
Parks and Recreation
Performing Arts
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Miami, Florida, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1836;
Incorporated: 1896
Location: East coast of South Florida, United States, North America
Time Zone: 7 am Eastern Standard Time (EST) = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Ethnic Composition: White, 71.8%; Black, 27.4%; American Indian, 0.2%; Asian 0.6%; Hispanics, 62.5% (may be of any race)
Elevation: 3.4 m (11 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 25°83'N, 80°27'W
Coastline: 135 km (84 mi)
Climate: Semitropical climate with a warm summer and a dry winter, and high humidity. Second most humid city in the U.S.
Annual Mean Temperature: 24°C (76°F); January 20°C (68°F); July 28°C (82°F)
Average Annual Precipitation: 142 cm (56 in)
Government: Mayor-commission
Weights and Measures: Standard U.S.
Monetary Units: Standard U.S.
Telephone Area Codes: 305
Postal Codes: 3310133299

1. Introduction

Located nearly at the southeastern-most point of the continental United States, the city of Miami, which celebrated its one-hundredth birthday in 1996, conjures images of sunny beaches, tourists, and immigrants, and it is also a major center for international trade. Since Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba at the end of the 1950s, successive waves of Cuban immigrants have dramatically changed the ethnic composition of the city, which is now over 50 percent Hispanic, and informally known as "the capital of Latin America." Miami today is a colorful, cosmopolitan city, reveling in its ethnic diversity. Its sunny climate and natural beauty continue to make it a prime tourist destination, even as it struggles to contain crime and other urban problems resulting from large-scale flight to suburban areas.

2. Getting There

Miami is located in South Florida. Situated on the Atlantic coast bordering Key Biscayne Bay, it is also located at the mouth of the Miami River.


Miami can be accessed by highways running both north-south (I-95, the Palmetto Expressway, the Florida Turnpike) and east-west (the Airport Expressway, the Dolphin Expressway, and the Tamiami Trail). Also running east-west are the Miami Beach, Bal Harbor, Sunny Isles, and William Lehman Causeways.

Bus and Railroad Service

Greyhound and Trailways provide service to Miami from points across the United States. Amtrak offers trains with sleeping berths and restaurant cars.


Miami International Airport is second nationally in the number of international passengers transported every year. Over 85 scheduled carriers offer flights to and from the city. In 1997 the airport served 34 million passengers, 19 million domestic and 15.5 international. About 70 percent of all passengers arriving in the United States from Central and South America come through Miami's airport.


Miami International Airport leads the nation in transport of international cargo and is the world's third-busiest airport in terms of total freight tonnage. In 1997, it handled 1.7 million metric tons (1.9 million tons) of cargo. Nearly 278,700 square meters (three million square feet) of new cargo handling space will be added to the facility by 2006 as part of a $4 billion major improvement plan.

Miami's Dante B. Fascell Port handled nearly 6.4 million metric tons (seven million tons) of cargo in 1997. The port employs 45,000 people, generating $8.3 billion in revenue annually.

Miami Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 365,498
Area: 88 sq km (34 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 71.8% white; 27.4% black; 0.2% American Indians; 0.6% Asians; 62.5% Hispanic (may be any race)
Nicknames: Gateway of the Americas, Cruise Capital of the World

Metropolitan Area

Population: 2,210,000
Description: Includes Miami and the surrounding region
Area: 5,037 sq km (1,945 sq mi)
World population rank 1: 143
Percentage of national population 2: 0.8%
Average yearly growth rate: 1.2%
Ethnic composition: 77% white; 21.1% black; 1.8% Asian; 54.4% Hispanic (may be any race)

  1. The Miami metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the United States' total population living in the Miami metropolitan area.

3. Getting Around

Greater Miami extends along the coast of Biscayne Bay. The major avenue in the city is Biscayne Boulevard, a four-lane road that borders the city's oceanfront parkland to the east (Bicentennial Park and Bayfront Park). The downtown streets are laid out in a grid pattern, with the Dolphin Expressway and the North-South Expressway forming major arteries through the city. To the east a number of bridges, called causeways, connect the mainland with Miami Beach, Virginia Key, and Key Biscayne.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

A 7.1-kilometer (4.4-mile) elevated rail service, Metrorail, carries passengers around downtown Miami, while Greater Miami is served by the 34-kilometer (21-mile) Metromover system. In addition, the Metrorail line connects with Tri-Rail, which serves Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Broward counties over a 108-kilometer (67-mile) route. Miami's Metrobus service is used by about 200,000 passengers every day.


Various walking tours are offered, including tours of a variety of neighborhoods and an architectural tour of the Art Deco District. There are also boat tours and aerial tours by helicopter and hot-air balloon.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator Miami Cairo Rome Beijing
(United States) (Egypt) (Italy) (China)
Population of urban area1 2,210,000 10,772,000 2,688,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 1836 AD 969 753 BC 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $82 $193 $172 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $40 $56 $59 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $2 $14 $15 $16
Total daily costs (hotel, meals, incidentals) $124 $173 $246 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 2 13 20 11
Largest newspaper The Miami Herald Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar La Repubblica Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 349,114 1,159,339 754,930 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1910 1944 1976 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

Miami is known as the "Cruise Capital of the World." Its port is home to ocean liners operated by Cunard Lines (including the Queen Elizabeth II ), Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Premier Cruises. Cruise ships launched from Miami dock at ports in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

4. People

In 1995 Miami had an estimated population of 365,498, up from 358,548 recorded in the 1990 census. In 1990, blacks accounted for 27.4 percent of the population, Asians 0.6 percent, and American Indians 0.2 percent. Hispanics (who may be of any race) made up 62.5 percent of the population. The Miami Metropolitan Area had an estimated population of 2,210,000 in 1998, up from 1,937,194 in 1990. Its population was 77 percent white, 21.1 percent black, and 1.8 percent Asian. Hispanics (counted as an ethnicity, not as a race) accounted for 54.4 percent of the population.

5. Neighborhoods

Downtown Miami is an area of great cultural diversity, where one can often hear Spanish, English, Hebrew, and other languages spoken. The heart of downtown is the intersection of Miami Avenue and Flagler Street. A dozen or so blocks along Flagler make up the city's shopping and theater district.

After undergoing a period of blight and neglect, Miami Beach, a sand bar in the Atlantic Ocean about five kilometers (three miles) east of the mainland, is enjoying a renaissance, both among Florida natives and tourists. The trendiest spot is South Beach (nickname: SoBe), renowned for its colorful Art Deco buildings. New nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, cafés, galleries, and stores have opened in this area that used to be known primarily as a mecca for Jewish retirees from northern states, drawing an eclectic mix of urban yuppies, artists, and vacationers. The pedestrian-only thoroughfare Lincoln Road, occupying 11 blocks in the heart of South Beach, is a popular center for culture, nightlife, and shopping. Here one may view contemporary art by the area's up-and-coming painters, hear a bookstore poetry reading, or peer through the windows of the Miami City Ballet's rehearsal studio to see its dancers at work.

Surrounding the central city are suburbs including Little Havana, the Bohemian-flavored Coconut Grove, West Miami, North and South Miami, and Coral Gables.

6. History

The name "Miami" means "Big Water" in the language of the Calusa Indians, the major Native American tribe inhabiting the region when the Spanish arrived there in the sixteenth century. Although the Spanish never really succeeded in the settling the region, the Calusa had been wiped out by the early eighteenth century, from their lack of resistance to the diseases the Europeans brought with them, and the Creeks and Seminoles became the dominant tribes. The British gained control of Florida in 1763, during the French and Indian War, but the Spanish won it back 20 years later, only to lose it again in 1821, ceding the territory to the United States.

Hostility by the Seminoles slowed settlement in the region until their banishment to the Everglades in 1842 and even afterward. As northern Florida prospered, the south remained sparsely inhabited and undeveloped. The area of present-day Miami, at the mouth of the Miami River, was part of a tract of land belonging to a plantation owner and also the site of Fort Dallas, which became a permanent outpost of the U.S. army in 1849. Following the Civil War (186165) two entrepreneurs, William Brickell and J.W. Ewan bought the land and established a trading post that eventually grew into a commercial center.

However, development of Miami began in earnest when the wealthy widow Julia Sturdivant Tuttle bought a large tract of land in the area and convinced Henry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railroad there. The railway construction was completed in 1896, and Miami was incorporated in the same year. Another major advance in transportationexpanded highway accessbrought the city a building boom in the 1920s, when its population jumped from 30,000 to 200,000 people within five years. The boom ended with a devastating hurricane in 1926, but the infrastructure put in place in the preceding years had laid the groundwork for future development.

Industrialization and military bases came to the city during World War II (193945), leading to another population boom, and Miami has grown steadily ever since. The face of the city was changed forever when Fidel Castro (b. 1927) came to power in Cuba in 1959, and over 150,000 Cubans flocked to Miami over the following decade. Today it is a bilingual city and the only major city in the United States with a majority Hispanic population. In the 1990s, Hurricane Andrew, rising crime, and inter-ethnic tensions led to the exodus of some 100,000 non-Hispanic whites from Greater Miami, leaving the city struggling with growing social and fiscal problems.

7. Government

Miami is the seat of Dade County. The Miami-Dade County Government, whose offices are headquartered in downtown Miami, is headed by a strong "executive" mayor, a country manager, and a county commission, and has a budget of $4 billion. County commissioners are elected by district. Each of the 29 municipalities in the county also has its own government. The city employs approximately 3,500 persons.

8. Public Safety

A well-known negative aspect of Miami is the city's reputation as the nation's crime capital. Home to movie stars, multinational corporations, and a culturally and ethnically diverse population, Miami, in the eyes of the public, is also linked to drug lords and high-profile killings, such as the murders of nine foreign tourists in Florida from October 5, 1992, to September 14, 1993five of which took place in Miami. In 1997, the city made headlines with the murder of clothing designer Gianni Versace.

In 1995, the city's crime index per 100,000 residents was 15,623.7, the highest in the nation. Violent crimes reported to police totaled 3,413.3 (murder, 29.0; rape, 52.3; robbery, 1,498.7; aggravated assault, 1,833.3). Property crimes totaled 12,210.3 (burglary, 2,607.2; larceny/theft, 7,271.1; motor vehicle theft, 2,332.1).

9. Economy

Miami has a highly diversified economy with over 170 multinational companies headquartered in the city and its environs. Top economic sectors include tourism, services, trade, manufacturing, real estate, and construction. Major employers include the Miami-Dade County school district, county, federal, and state governments, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, and Bell South.

The Miami Customs District reported $47 billion in imports and exports for 1997, mostly from trade with Latin America. The 19-hectare (47-acre) Miami Free Zone, established in 1978, was the world's first privately owned and operated foreign trade zone. It consists of a 78,593-square-meter (846,000-square-foot) warehouse and office complex near Miami International Airport.

Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was followed by a building boom, and the construction industry remains active, with rising demand for single-family homes and condominiums. In 1997, sales of single-family homes totaled $1.9 billion; sales of condominium units totaled $558 million. Top industries in the manufacturing sector are apparel, metal fabrication, printing, and medical products, and the biomedical sector is showing rapid growth.

The film and entertainment industry is another major generator of income for Miami. Together, movies, television, and commercial and fashion photography generated more than $212 million in income in the area. Recent movies filmed in the Greater Miami area include Donnie Brasco, Speed II, Out of Sight, and There's Something About Mary.

Miami's access to Latin America has made it a top international banking and investment center, with most bank offices located in the city's financial district along Brickell Avenue. Today it is home to the international trade divisions of a number of major U.S. banks. The city's financial institutions have won important business in connection with economic development and privatization in Latin American countries.

Agriculture remains an important part of the Greater Miami economy. The region is the nation's leading supplier of vegetables during the winter season. As the only subtropical farming area in the continental United States, it is a leader in the production of tropical fruits and vegetables, with crops valued at $81 million annually. The Miami area also supplies one-fourth of all ornamental plants sold in the country.

10. Environment

Miami, located only two degrees above the Tropic of Cancer, is a subtropical city located on flatlands that were once home to pine and palmetto trees. Its coastal area consists of sandy beaches, and even the region's interior is only thinly wooded. Lake Okeechobee, 145 kilometers (90 miles) north of the city, is linked to Miami by manmade canals.

During the wet season, Greater Miami must contend with problems caused by tropical storms and hurricanes. Among the worst is sanitary sewer overflow, exacerbated by the city's low terrain: its highest elevation is only 12 meters (40 feet) above sea level, and the groundwater table is only one to two meters (three to six feet) below the earth's surface. When it rains, water is sucked through the sandy earth and further still into the cracks of some of the sanitary sewer pipes crisscrossing beneath Metropolitan Dade County. When unexpected water makes its way into these pipes, the system becomes overloaded.

Downtown flooding in the late 1980s and early 1990s caused raw sewage to spill into the Miami River, prompting Metropolitan Dade County to sign consent decrees with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that mandated comprehensive sanitary sewer system rehabilitation. The metropolitan area's water and sewer department is in the midst of a $1.1 billion sewer upgrade project scheduled for completion by 2002. Pumping station capacities will be expanded; three wastewater treatment plants will be upgraded; and studies of utility operation will be conducted.

Dade County's Department of Solid Waste Management collects waste from more than 260,000 residential addresses, disposing of approximately 2.1 million metric tons (2.3 million tons) annually. Its disposal system consists of one resources recovery facility and associated ash monofill, two landfills, and three regional transfer stations.

11. Shopping

Miami and its suburbs offer abundant and varied shopping. The downtown shopping district centered around Flagler Street and South Miami Avenue is one of the busiest shopping areas, with some 1,500 retail outlets, including the second-largest jewelry district in the country. The Omni International Hotel has a two-level shopping plaza with a multiplex movie theater. Bayside Marketplace on Biscayne Boulevard is an open-air waterfront arcade modeled on Boston's Quincy Market, with dozens of shops as well as restaurants and entertainment facilities. Picturesque CocoWalk in Coconut Grove offers major retail stores, specialty shops, and cafes, all in a setting that has the feel of an Old World village. A variety of ethnic stores in Little Havana offer specialty products, and the Falls, an upscale shopping center anchored by Macy's and Bloomingdale's, features manmade waterfalls, footbridges, and covered walkways. In South Beach, Lincoln Road, the nation's first pedestrian-only shopping street, offers a colorful mix of culture, cuisine, and shopping. Miami's Design District offers dozens of showrooms for interior decorators.

12. Education

The Miami-Dade County school district enrolls more than 340,000 students, making it the fourth largest in the country. About one quarter of its students are foreign-born and speak 62 different languages. Among the educational innovations instituted by the school system are 66 magnet school programs, charter schools, satellite learning centers housed in private businesses, and the New World School of the Arts for high school and college students. A new type of school, the Elemiddle School serving grades K through eight, was introduced in 1998, with the goal of replacing large middle schools with smaller community-based units. Students in the Greater Miami area also have the choice of attending over 445 private schools, which enroll more than 45,000 students.

With more than 50,000 students, Miami-Dade Community College (MDCC) is the nation's largest single-district multi-campus community college. This two-year school, which operates six campuses, leads the nation in number of degrees awarded to minority students. Florida International University, a four-year state university, has two campuses and enrolls over 30,000 students. The 72-year-old University of Miami is a private research university with an enrollment of 14,000 and respected programs in law, engineering, medicine, and business, and is noted for its Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Jackson/UM Medical Center.

Other four-year institutions include Nova Southeastern University, home of Florida's first dentistry school; Barry and St. Thomas universities, which are both Catholic-affiliated; Baptist-run Florida Memorial College; and Johnson & Wales University, a degree-granting college that prepares students to enter the hospitality and restaurant fields. Johnson & Wales runs an on-campus restaurant and two off-campus eateries staffed by its students.

13. Health Care

Miami is the home of the nation's second-largest public hospital, the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, which forms the core of a major medical complex located near the city's downtown. The complex also houses the highly respected Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Miami-Dade County has a total of 28 hospitals and 33,000 licensed health-care personnel, the most of any region in Florida. Hospital facilities were reported to have had a combined revenue of $120 million in 1997 and to have treated some 15,000 patients from Florida and around the world.

In addition to direct patient services, the Miami area is home to a substantial biomedical industry that produces pharmaceuticals and medical devices and conducts important research and development projects, such as those that led to the development of ultrasonic diagnostic equipment and artificial kidneys. Biomedical companies located in the region include Cordis/Johnson & Johnson, Beckman-Coulter, and Kos Pharmaceuticals. In 1998 the Miami-Dade County commissioners set aside an 11.7-square-kilometer (four-and-a-half-square-mile) area for the development of a proposed biomedical corridor to further enhance the presence of this sector in the region.

14. Media

Miami's major daily newspaper is the Miami Herald, published in the morning and on Sundays (circulation: weekdays, 349,114; Sundays, 461,201). The city has two Spanish-language daily papers, El Nuevo Herald (published by the Herald for Spanish speakers) and Diario las Americas (circulation, 68,011). Miami also has a daily business newspaper, the Daily Business Review. The newspaper of the black community is The Miami Times, and New Times of Miami is an alternative paper focusing on news and the arts. Spanish-language magazines published in Miami include Hombre Internacional, TV y Novelas (a soap-opera fanzine), and a Spanish-language edition of Harper's Bazaar.

Miami has television stations affiliated with all the major commercial networks, as well as two public broadcasting stations and 19 am and FM radio stations, some of which broadcast exclusively or mostly in Spanish.

15. Sports

Miami is home to several major league sports teams. The National Football League's Miami Dolphins play at Joe Robbie Stadium. In the National Basketball Association, the Miami Heat plays at the Miami Arena. The National League's Florida Marlins, who play at Pro Player Stadium, won the 1997 World Series. Miami also has a team in the American Soccer Leaguethe Miami Freedom, whose home matches are usually played at Milander Stadium in nearby Hialeah.

A variety of other sports are also played in the Greater Miami area. Jai-Alai, a game that originated in the Basque region of Spain and has players chasing balls called pelotas that can travel at speeds of up to 274 kilometers (170 miles) per hour. The South Florida Cricket Association has more than 25 teams. Miami is home to Florida's largest thoroughbed race track, the Calder Race Course, which offers racing both in the summer and winter. Greyhound racing, also popular with Miamians, is sponsored by the Biscayne Kennel Club. The Miami Grand Prix is held in Homestead every February.

16. Parks and Recreation

Miami has 37 parks, covering a total of 1,012 hectares (2,500 acres), and there are some 700 parks and recreation areas found throughout Dade County. Miami's parks offer facilities for picnicking, hiking, camping, basketball, softball, handball, racquetball, as well as 129 kilometers (80 miles) of bike trails. The city also operates ten public swimming pools, 15 public tennis courts, two golf courses, and four marinas, with a capacity of 940 boats.

Water sports are the premier recreational attraction in the Miami area and include boating, canoeing, fishing, swimming, scuba and skin diving, windsurfing, and waterskiing. Haulover Park and Biscayne National Park are popular with divers, while Haulover Beach and South Pointe are among the spots favored by surfers.

17. Performing Arts

Miami's Florida Philharmonic Orchestra is the major symphonic ensemble in South Florida. The region is also home to the Greater Miami Opera, whose productions feature soloists from around the world. Other musical groups include the Miami Chamber Symphony and the New World Symphony, a youth orchestra. Dance is represented by the Miami City Ballet Company, directed by renowned dancer Edward Villella, and the Ballet Flamenco La Rosa. A variety of touring artists also performs at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (called TOPA), and the Dade County Auditorium, which is also home to the city's opera company. The Miami Beach Symphony Orchestra performs at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

Regional theater is presented at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, and the Florida Shakespeare Theater performs at the Biltmore Hotel. The Miami Light Project offers musical theater, comedy, and dance at a variety of locations.

18. Libraries and Museums

The Miami-Dade Public Library System operates a main branch downtown, as well as 25 neighborhood branches and four regional libraries throughout the area. The downtown library, located in the Metro-Dade Cultural Center, has the largest library collection in the southeastern United States. More than 500,000 patrons annually take advantage of the library special educational programs and exhibitions. Its Porta-kiosk Library in the Metrorail Civic Center Station, opened in 1992, is the world's first library located in a transit-system facility.

The Historical Museum of Southern Florida and the Miami Art Museum of Dade County (together with the Miami-Dade Public Library) are housed in the Metro-Dade Cultural Center in downtown Miami. The art museum (formerly the Center for the Fine Arts) features major artworks from around the world, including many traveling exhibits. Other museums in the Miami area include the Miami Museum of Science and Space Transit Planetarium; the Weeks Air Museum, whose exhibits chronicle the history of aviation; the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, where historic railroad cars are on display; the American Police Hall of Fame and Museum; and the Miami Youth Museum, which features hands-on exhibits for children.

A unique facility located in Coconut Grove is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Originally a palatial private residence built in 1916 in Italian Renaissance style, the museum features 34 rooms whose decor ranges from rococo to neoclassic, including a gilded music room and a tapestry-filled dining room. Surrounding the mansion are four hectares (ten acres) of formal gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay.

19. Tourism

Tourism is one of the mainstays of Miami's economy, and it continues to grow steadily. In 1997 the tourist industry generated $11.6 billion in revenue and created full-time employment for 125,000 people. In the same year, nearly ten million people visited Greater Miami, breaking tourism records for the third year in a row. Warm weather, sunshine, abundant beaches, and a wide variety of entertainment are among the elements that draw large numbers to the region. The three most popular districts among visitors to Miami are (in order) South Beach, Bayside Marketplace, and Coco-Walk. Miami is surpassed only by New York City and Los Angeles in numbers of foreign visitors, attracting 5.3 million in 1997 from Europe, Canada, and South America.

Miami's major convention facility is the James L. Knight International Center, a complex consisting of the Miami Convention Center, a Hyatt Regency Hotel, and the University of Miami Conference Center. The Convention Center auditorium seats 4,800 people, and the facility also offers lecture halls, meeting rooms, and a 2,601-square-meter (28,000-square-foot) hall for exhibits. Giving the city's convention industry a major boost was the recent completion of the $135 million oceanfront Loews Miami Beach Hotel in 1998, located within walking distance of the convention center. Another new facility, the 422-room Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, was completed in late 1999.

20. Holidays and Festivals

Miccosukee Tribe's Indian Arts Festival National Children's Theatre Festival
Orange Bowl
Art Deco Weekend Festival
Freddick Bratcher Florida Dance Festival

Late January-early February
Original Miami Beach Antique Show

Miami Film Festival
Miami International Boat Show
Bob Marley Festival
Coconut Grove Arts Festival

Late February-early March
Doral-Ryder Open

Taste of the Beach
Calle Ocho Festival
Carnaval Miami
Florida Derby
Grand Prix of Miami
Italian Renaissance Festival
Lipton Tennis Championships

Mid-March-early April
Dade County Fair & Exposition

Fairchild Tropical Garden Rain Forest Festival
Merrick Festival of Coral Gables

Roots & Culture Festival
Subtropics Music Festival
Arabian Nights Festival
Great Sunrise Balloon Race & Festival

Late May-early June
Miami International Home & Garden Show

Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival
Florida Dance Festival

4th of July at Bayfront Park
Tropical Agricultural Fiesta
Colombian Festival
International Mango Festival
Key Biscayne 4th of July Parade & Fireworks

July-early October
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival

Miami Reggae Festival

Early September-late October
Festival Miami

West Indian Carnival Extravaganza
Caribbean Festival
Columbus Day Regatta
Hispanic Heritage Festival

Miami Book Fair International
Puerto Rican Festival
South Florida International Auto Show
South Miami Art Festival
Feria de Espana

Late November-early January
Santa's Enchanted Forest

Big Orange New Year's Eve Celebration
King Mango Strut
King Orange Jamboree Parade

Late December-early January
Kwanzaa Celebration

Metropolitan South Florida Fishing Tournament

21. Famous Citizens

Dave Barry (b. 1947), longtime Miami resident, writes a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor column for the Miami Herald.

Polish-born Isaac Bashevis Singer (190491), Nobel-Prize winning novelist who maintained a residence in Miami starting in the 1970s.

Edna Buchanon (b. 1939), crime reporter and novelist.

Carl Hiaasen (b. 1953), author of crime and mystery novels.

Janet Reno (b. 1938), attorney general of the United States.

Sidney Poitier (b. 1924), the first black actor to become a major motion picture star.

Ellen Zwilich (b. 1939), composer and first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for music.

New York-trained dancer Edward Villella (b. 1936), director of the Miami City Ballet Company.

22. For Further Study


Miami City Hall. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Miami-Dade County. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Miami Information Access. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

MiamiSite. [Online] Available (accessed October 14, 1999).

Government Offices

City Hall
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, FL 33133
(305) 250-5400

Mayor's Office
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, FL 33133
(305) 250-5300

Miami Planning and Development Department
444 SW 2nd Ave.
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 416-1400

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau
701 Brickell Ave., Suite 2700
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 539-3000


Daily Business Review
1 SE 3rd Ave., Suite 900
Miami, FL 33131

Diario Las Americas
2900 NW 39th St.
Miami, FL 33142

Miami Herald
1 Herald Plaza
Miami, FL 33132

Miami Metro Magazine
800 Douglas Rd., Suite 500
Coral Gables, FL 33134


Allman, T. D. Miami, City of the Future. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.

Cerwinske, Laura. Miami, Hot and Cool. Photographs by Steven Brooke. New York: C.N. Potter, 1990.

Davies, Frank. Kidding Around Miami: What to Do, Where to Go, and How to Have Fun in Miami. Santa Fe, NM: John Muir Publications, 1997.

Dunn, Marvin. Black Miami in the Twentieth Century. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

Grenier, Guillermo, and Alex Stepick III, eds. Miami Now: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1992.

Harris, Daryl B. The Logic of Black Urban Rebellions: Challenging the Dynamics of White Domination in Miami. Westport, CN: Praeger, 1999.

Moore, Deborah Dash. To the Golden Cities: Pursuing the American Jewish Dream in Miami and L.A. New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1994.

Portes, Alejandro, and Alex Stepick III. City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Rieff, David. The Exile: Cuba in the Heart of Miami. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Rieff, David. Going to Miami: Exiles, Tourists, and Refugees in the New America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1987.

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Miami: Recreation

Miami: Recreation


Visitors to Miami will find a variety of activities, from an adventure-filled day at a nature park to a nostalgic stroll through a historic district. The city's principal attraction is Miami Seaquarium, south Florida's largest tropical aquarium and home of Flipper, television's star dolphin. At Seaquarium, Flipper, Lolita the Killer Whale, and Salty the Sea Lion appear in three shows daily. Seaquarium also features thousands of other sea creatures in display tanks, as well as tropical gardens and a wildlife sanctuary. Another popular family-oriented wildlife/nature park is Monkey Jungle, where hundreds of monkeys, gorillas, and trained chimpanzees swing freely through a natural rain forest. Chimpanzees perform daily. Similar to Monkey Jungle, Parrot Jungle Island presents more than 1,100 tropical birds that fly free. Featured are trained birds that perform daily in 40-minute shows, riding bicycles, playing poker, roller skating, and demonstrating arithmetic. Located between downtown Miami and South Beach, Parrot Jungle occupies 18.6-acres with an Everglades exhibit, children's area with petting zoo, animal barn, playground and water play areas, baby bird and plant nurseries, picnic pavilions, food court, 500-seat theater, two amphitheaters, jungle trails, and aviaries.

Perhaps the ultimate wildlife experience can be found at Miami MetroZoo, rated the top attraction in Miami in 2004 by Zagat Survey. This cageless zoo is set on approximately 300 acres of natural habitats, where hundreds of species of the world's animals roam on islands separated from visitors by moats. Animal shows are presented daily, and elephant rides, monorail tours, walking tours, the children's petting zoo, PAWS, and an outdoor concert series are also available.

The Miami area maintains some of the nation's most beautiful tropical gardens. Fairchild Tropical Garden, in nearby Coral Gables, is the largest botanical garden in the continental United States. It features paths that wind through a rain forest, sunken gardens, a rare plant house, and 11 lakes displaying a wide variety of tropical vegetation. When the gardens sustained massive damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992, scientists from around the globe gathered to begin to help restore this world-class botanical paradise. The Richard H. Simons Rainforest is a two-acre exhibit that features a 500-foot gurgling stream, waterfalls, paved paths, and rest areas.

Miami has preserved much of its rich past and embraced its social and ethnic diversity. A 30-block strip called Calle Ocho showcases Miami's Cuban culture in restaurants, nightclubs, sidewalk coffee shops, parks, cigar factories, and boutiques. The Art Deco District in Miami Beach contains more than 800 buildings designed in the Art Deco architecture and pastel colors of the 1930s. Another reminder of the past is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palace with beautiful formal gardens overlooking Biscayne Bay. Vizcayawhich was built by James Deering, the founder of International Harvesterhouses a collection of fifteenth- to early nineteenth-century European art.

Arts and Culture

The primary venues for concerts and theatrical performances in Miami are the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts (called TOPA), and the Miami-Dade County Auditorium. The Gusman Center, an ornate Baroque-style theater, has been transformed from a 1920s movie palace into an elegant stage for the performing arts. Its 40-week season includes classical music concerts by the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra and the New World Symphony (who are housed at the Lincoln Theatre in the Lincoln Road Shopping District). The Jackie Gleason Theater hosts the Miami Beach Symphony Orchestra and other entertainments. The Miami-Dade County Auditorium, featuring Art Deco revival decor, is a performance site for many local and international artists. At the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse, for more than 50 years south Florida's principal regional theater, Broadway and Off-Broadway shows are presented. The Florida Shakespeare Theater performs in a new space in the Historic Biltmore Hotel. The Miami Light Project, which performs artistic works such as musicals, stand-up comedy, and dance, performs in various locations. The Greater Miami Performing Arts Center is scheduled to open its doors in the 2005-2006 season, and will be one of the few facilities in the nation to feature three separate performance halls for ballet, opera, theater, and symphonic music. It will be home to the Concert Association of Florida, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, and the New World Symphony.

The Metro-Dade Cultural Center, which consists of the Miami-Dade Public Library, the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, and the Miami Art Museum, is part of a reviving downtown Miami. The Historical Museum traces the 10,000-year history of humans in south Florida through permanent and traveling exhibits. The Miami Art Museum presents a variety of traveling exhibits.

Several Miami-area museums and galleries reflect the city's varied culture. For example, the Cuban Museum of Arts and Culture exhibits works by traditional and contemporary Hispanic artists; documents and memorabilia pertaining to the Cuban culture and history are presented, along with concerts, lectures, and films. Other historical museums include the 1891 Barnacle State Historic Site in Coconut Grove, Coral Gables' restored 1920s Merrick House, and the Holocaust Memorial.

The Bass Museum of Art in the heart of the Art Deco district in Miami Beach houses a permanent collection of Old Masters, sculptures, textiles and period furniture. Newer museums in the region include the Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Wolfsonian. The Wolfsonian boasts a collection of more than 100,000 objects, including ceramics, glass, books, and furniture. Also instrumental in Miami's cultural life is the Art in Public Places program, one of the earliest of its kind, which has installed more than 450 works in the Metro-Dade area.

Arts and Culture Information: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, 701 Brickell Ave., Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131; telephone (305)539-3000; toll-free (800)933-8448

Festivals and Holidays

Miami hosts countless festivals and fair throughout the year. Many reflect the city's rich cultural heritage. The Hispanic Heritage Festival runs throughout October with art, theater, dance, and Latin folklore, and cuisine. In March, the grounds of Vizcaya Palace are transformed into a sixteenth century marketplace of arts, crafts, and performance at the Italian Renaissance Festival. The nation's largest Hispanic festival is Carnival Miami, also held in March, featuring salsa, brilliant costumes, and Cuban delicacies. It culminates in an all-day block party in the heart of Little Havana, the Calle Ocho Festival, which earned the title of the world's largest street party because it spans 23 city blocks. Cowbells, whistles, and washboard bands salute summer's Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival, which celebrates Bahamian culture.

Art festivals abound. One of the largest and most prestigious is Art Basel Miami Beach. This fair, sister to the world famous Art Basel Switzerland, debuted in December 2002 and is now the most successful art fair in North America. January's annual Art Deco Weekend in South Miami Beach features tours of the historic Art Deco district, site of more than 800 buildings from the 1920s and 1930s, and includes an antique car show, a costume ball, films, and lectures. Other art events include the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, a three-day event held in February, as well as the Miami Beach Festival of the Arts, Art in the Tropics, and the South Miami Art Festival. Film festivals are just as common. The Miami International Film Festival showcases films from the United States, South America, Europe, the near East, and Australia that might not otherwise be seen in this country. Other festivals spotlight Jewish, gay and lesbian, Brazilian, African American, and Italian films.

The Orange Bowl Festival centers around the Orange Bowl football game on New Year's night. This festival, which has been held annually since 1933, includes the King Orange Jamboree and sports tournaments for children and adults. The season of Lent is kicked off with the Greater Miami Mardi Gras celebration. The Miami Wine & Food Festival, ranked as one of the nation's top ten wine events, is held each April. More than 100 rides and 50,000 exhibits are featured at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition, an 18-day event held in the spring.

Sports for the Spectator

Miami offers a variety of spectator sports at both the professional and collegiate level. The Miami Dolphins of the National Football League play their home games in Pro Player Stadium, which is also home to the Florida Marlins National League baseball team. The AmericanAirlines Arena houses the professional basketball team the Miami Heat, who play from November through April. The Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League play from October through April at the National Car Rental Center in neighboring Broward County. The excitement of Major League Soccer exists for the city in the form of the Miami Fusion, who play home games at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

The city of Miami is the site of the Orange Bowl Classic and Festival, which features the annual New Year's Day football game between two top-ranked collegiate teams. The University of Miami Hurricanes play their home basketball games in the Orange Bowl, while the Florida International University Golden Panthers play at the Golden Panther Arena.

Other popular spectator sports in the Miami area are horse and auto racing. Hialeah Park holds thoroughbred races year-round; Calder Race Course in Miami also offers thoroughbred racing. One of Miami's major sporting events is the Grand Prix of Miami, an annual, week-long auto race in the European tradition. Held at the Metro-Dade Homestead-Miami Speedway, the event attracts more sports car entries than any other auto racing event in the United States and is televised throughout the world. It also features the season opener of the PPG Indy Car World Series. Jai-alai is played year-round at the Miami Jai-Alai fronton. Those interested in other sports can choose among golf tournaments, greyhound races, horse shows, regattas, soccer matches, and tennis tournaments. Golf enthusiasts enjoy the Royal Caribbean International Golf Classic and the Genuity Golf Championship, while tennis fans gather for the Florida Caribbean Tennis Championships, the NASDAQ-100 Open, and the Ericsson Open.

Sports for the Participant

A complete range of outdoor activities is available year-round in Miami at numerous public and private facilities. Miami-Dade County offers more than 20 public golf courses. Nearly 500 tennis courts for day and evening play are located in many parks and recreation areas throughout Miami and the county; in addition, most hotels have their own tennis facilities.

The extensive public park system in the Miami area was called "one of the most innovative systems in the country" by the National Recreation and Parks Association. Of the more than 300 parks and nature centers, two are national parks: Everglades and Biscayne. Among the recreational activities that can be pursued in Miami's parks are picnicking, canoeing, boating, hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, basketball, softball, handball, racquetball, vita course trails, and 80 miles of Class I bike trails.

Water sports are pursued with great enthusiasm in Miami's ocean and bay. Most local dive shops offer lessons, certification courses, and dive trips for scuba and skin diving. Among the favorite diving spots are Haulover Park and Biscayne National Park. For surfing one can go to Haulover Beach in Sunny Isles and South Pointe in South Miami Beach. A popular place for windsurfing is Hobie Beach in Key Biscayne. Waterskiing schools, jumps, towing services, and ski boat rentals can be found along beaches and causeways throughout the Miami area. Many beach hotels also offer water sports equipment rental.

Fishing is another favorite pastime. A fresh water fishing license, obtainable at bait and tackle stores, is required for anyone between the ages of 15 and 65 years. The Florida Game and Fresh Water Commission publishes guides to fishing regions. In the Miami area the popular spots are Tamiami Canal, from west Miami along U.S. 41, which is noted for pan fish and bass; and Thompson Park fishing camp, a 29-acre campground near Hialeah, with three fishing lakes available only to campers. No license is required for salt water fishing, but minimum size and bag limits apply. Fishing piers are located at Haulover Park, Baker's Haulover Cut, and South Pointe. Full-service charter boats and party boats for deep sea fishing are available at area marinas. Annual events include the Mayor's Cup Billfish and Miami Billfish tournaments.

Shopping and Dining

In keeping with its international image, Miami offers a cosmopolitan shopping experience. Every kind of shopping facility is available in the area, from indoor and outdoor malls to elegant specialty boutiques. Virtually all famous high-end retailers and designers, including Chanel, Versace, Saks Fifth Avenue, Cartier, and Bloomingdale's, have a presence in the area.

Aventura Mall, located in the northern portion of Miami-Dade County, is the largest super-regional mall in south Florida. It contains 250 upscale shops and restaurants, as well as a 24-screen movie theater. The Village at Merrick Park, which opened in 2002, features 115 stores and restaurants in a natural environment complete with landscaped fountains, tropical foliage, and serene gardens. At the Downtown Miami Shopping District are more than 1,000 retail businesses, including the country's second-largest jewelry district. In Little Havana ethnic shops offer a variety of exotic items, from Cuban coffee and rum-soaked pastries to mantillas and furniture. The Falls, located on the southern edge of the city and anchored by Bloomingdale's and Macy's, sets its more than 100 shops among covered walkways, footbridges, and waterfalls. In Coconut Grove, CocoWalk shopping district resembles a European village. Bal Harbor Shops are in Miami Beach in an area called the Rodeo Drive of the South because of their exclusive stores and designer boutiques. Lincoln Road Shopping District, located in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, was the first pedestrian-only shopping street in the United States. In trendy South Miami, The Shops at Sunset Place, an entertainment-shopping complex, has waterfalls, fountains, a grand staircase, and 35-foot Banyan trees.

Dadeland Mall features more than 185 specialty stores. Biscayne Bay's open-air Bayside Marketplace, on 20 acres of waterfront property at the north end of Bayside Park, has more than 100 shops that offer merchandise not ordinarily found in regional shopping areas. Just west of Miami Beach is the Miami Design District, comprised of 18 blocks of interior design showrooms and home furnishings and furniture stores that are open to the public.

With its expanding role in international trade, cuisine from every culture as well as local specialties can be found in a wide variety of dining establishments in Miami. Enhancing the ethnic diversity of Miami's dining possibilities are the more than 30 restaurants, supper clubs, and cafeterias in Little Havana.

Visitor Information: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, 701 Brickell Ave., Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131; telephone (305)539-3000; toll-free (800)933-8448

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Miami: Economy

Miami: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

For most of Miami's history, its economy has been based on tourism. In fact, it was not so long ago that the city came to life only during the winter months when tourists from cold northern regions flocked to its beaches, hotels, and resorts. That phenomenon is no longer the case, as tourists visit the region throughout the year. In 2003, 10.4 million overnight visitors came to Greater Miami, infusing the local economy with $9.9 billion in direct expenses, such as hotel rooms, restaurants, shopping, transportation, and attractions, and another $5.5 in indirect expenditures in such areas as real estate, medicine, and retail.

While tourism continues to be the principal industry in Miami, the city's economy has become more diversified. Trade is increasingly vital to the economy. Its close proximity to Latin America and the Caribbean make it the center of international trade with those areas. Nearly $50 billion in total merchandise trade came through the Miami Customs District in 2002. Because many companies choose to establish their Latin American headquarters in southern Florida, Miami-Dade County is known as the "Gateway to the Americas." In 2003 approximately 1,200 multinational corporations were established in the region.

The city's international trade infrastructure is vast and varied. With an economic impact of $18.6 billion, Miami International Airport is the nation's top airport for international freight and third for international passengers. The Port of Miami, which contributes $8 billion to the local economy, ranks first among the state's containerized ports and ninth in the United States. The World Trade Center Miami is Florida's oldest international organization, and assists member companies to introduce and expand their international presence. It is also petitioning to establish Miami-Dade County as the site of the Permanent Secretariat of the 34-nation Free Trade Area of the Americas. Miami is home to more than 64 foreign consulates, 25 international trade offices, and 32 binational chambers of commerce. Two free trade zones exist in Greater Miami, the Homestead Free Zone and the Miami Free Zone, one of the world's largest privately owned and operated zones. The top imports into the Miami Customs District in 2002 were apparel and accessories; the leading exports were electrical machinery and photographic and medical equipment.

International banking is another growing segment of the economy. With total deposits of $74.3 billion in 2003, about 100 commercial banks, thrift institutions, foreign bank agencies, and Edge Act banks are located in downtown Miami, representing the largest concentration of domestic and international banks on the East Coast south of New York. Brazilian, British, Canadian, French, German, Israeli, Japanese, Spanish, and Venezuelan banks have offices in Miami-Dade County. Still, domestic banks dominate the market, led by Bank of America Corp., which has total deposits of over $7.8 billion in its 25 local offices.

Items and goods produced: apparel, textiles, books and magazines, pharmaceuticals, medical and diagnostic testing equipment, plastics, aluminum products, furniture, light manufactured goods, transportation equipment, cement, electronic components, agricultural products such as tomatoes, beans, avocadoes, and citrus fruits

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Beacon Council is the agency responsible for recruiting new businesses to Miami-Dade County in an effort to create new jobs. The Council's many free services include site identification; labor recruitment and training; business data and economic research; packaging local, state, and federal business incentives; and import/export assistance. The Council promotes the many advantages of doing business in Miami-Dade County, including a number of business incentive programs and a favorable tax structure. Business location incentives at the local level include Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Zone opportunities, each of which offers tax or wage credits to businesses based on the number of new jobs created. The Miami-Dade County Targeted Jobs Incentive Fund is available to companies that are on the list of industries identified by the county as desirable additions to the local economy. The Grow Miami Fund grants qualified small businesses long-term, low-interest loans ranging from $50,000 to $2 million. In 2003 the city partnered with ACCION USA to make $4 million in micro loans available to the small business community.

State programs

Enterprise Florida is a partnership between Florida's government and business leaders and is the principal economic development organization for the state of Florida. Enterprise Florida's mission is to increase economic opportunities for all Floridians by supporting the creation of quality jobs, a well-trained workforce, and globally competitive businesses. It pursues this mission in cooperation with its statewide network of economic development partners.

Among the incentive programs managed at the state level is the Economic Development Transportation Fund, which provides up to $2 million to fund the cost of transportation projects, such as access roads and road widening, required for the establishment, expansion, or retention of businesses in Florida. The state's Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund is similar to the Miami-Dade program that rewards the creation of jobs in certain industries. Florida also offers various sales and use tax exemptions for machinery and equipment purchase, electric energy, research and development, and other aspects of doing business in the area.

Job training programs

The Workforce Development Board (WDB), commonly known as Jobs & Education Partnership, is a part of Enterprise Florida. WDB provides policy, planning, and oversight for job training programs funded under the federal Workforce Investment Act, along with vocational training, adult education, employment placement, and other workforce programs administered by a variety of state and local agencies. Regional Workforce Development Boards operate under charters approved by the Workforce Development Board. The 24 regional boards have primary responsibility for direct services through a state-wide network of One-Stop Career systems.

State and local workforce development efforts are concentrated on three broad initiatives. First Jobs/First Wages focuses on preparing workers for entry-level employment including the School-to-Work and WAGES (Work and Gain Self-Sufficiency) programs. High Skill/High Wages targets the higher skills needs of employers and training workers for advancement through such programs as Performance Based Incentive Funding, Occupational Forecasting Conference/Targeted Occupations, Quick Response Training, and Incumbent Worker Training. One-Stop Career Centers are the central elements of the One-Stop system that provide integrated services to employers, workers, and job-seekers.

Development Projects

Under the leadership of Mayor Manuel Diaz, the city of Miami experienced an unprecedented level of development and private investment. New projects valued at about $12.5 billion were planned or under construction in 2004. This influx of capital resulted in a tax base that grew 15 percent during the year, attributing to a $2.3 billion dollar increase in real estate values. Two of the largest projects under development are the Midtown Miami Project, which will result in the Shops at Midtown and the Midtown Miami residential center, and a $1.5 billion commitment by a group of private investors to develop several locations in the city; combined, these two projects will result in 3.5 million square feet of residential, commercial, office, and parking space in Miami. Another significant development is the Wagner Square project, slated to break ground in 2005, which will produce residential and commercial retail units from 2.95 acres of environmentally contaminated city land.

City leaders are determined to develop all areas of the Greater Miami region, not just the downtown area. The $1 billion Midtown Miami residential project will create more than 1,500 jobs in Wynwood, an area that lost 20,000 jobs during the 1990s. Approximately $175 million in private investment will help revitalize Overtown, the poorest neighborhood in Miami. The University of Miami will bolster the region's foothold in biotechnology by constructing a 300,000 square foot Clinical Research Building along with two new wet lab facilities. The Miami International Airport launched a $4.6 billion program to renovate existing facilities and construct new ones.

In addition to attracting new business developments, Miami is focused on improving the existing environment. Mayor Diaz implemented the city's first Capital Improvement Plan, an initiative to rebuild the city's entire infrastructure by reconstructing, resurfacing, and repairing every road, sidewalk, and curb on a 12-year cycle. Operation Difference and a Quality of Life task force strive to make the city safer and cleaner by tackling garbage dumping and housing violations, along with such illegal activities as drug dealing, prostitution, and gambling. The Miami Herald reported that the city's crime rate dropped nine percent during 2004, the 11th consecutive year of decline.

The Clean Up Miami Campaign includes daytime street sweepers and litter and graffiti clean-up teams. The Adopt-a-Waterway program, the first of its kind in the nation, will improve water quality in the Miami River and its tributaries and will complement the city's $80 million dredging project that is expected to pull approximately 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from the river. Miami-Dade County's Adopt-a-Tree program distributes thousands of trees throughout the region. The Miami River Greenways Plan will develop a series of pedestrian and bicycle paths to link parks and neighborhoods on both sides of the river.

Economic Development Information: Miami Department of Economic Development, 444 SW 2nd Ave., 3rd Fl., Miami, FL 33130; telephone (305)416-1435; fax (305)416-2156; email The Beacon Council, 80 SW 8th St., Ste. 2400, Miami, FL 33130; telephone (305)579-1300; fax (305)375-0271; email

Commercial Shipping

Miami ranked 22nd among "America's 100 Most Logistics Friendly Metros" by Expansion Management magazine in 2004. The economic and logistical vitality of Miami comes in large measure from Miami International Airport (MIA). Served by more than 100 airlines, MIA is a hub of both domestic and international trade and is the primary commerce link between North and South America. In 2002 the airport transported nearly 1.8 million tons of cargo and more than 30 million passengers. MIA ranks first in the nation for international freight and third for both international cargo and international passengers. Its trade support infrastructure includes more than 300 freight forwarders and customs brokers, as well as a Cargo Clearance Center that provides 24-hour service by inspectors from the U.S. Customs Serice, Department of Agriculture, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Food and Drug Administration.

The Port of Miami, in addition to being the world's largest cruise port, has achieved dominance in international commerce; it ranks first in Florida and ninth nationally in commercial tonnage. In 2002 the port handled 8.7 million tons of cargo and 3.6 million passengers, a 5.9 percent and 7.4 percent increase over the previous year, respectively. The Miami Free Zone's principal function is importing for domestic U.S. consumption. Fifteen minutes from the seaport and five minutes from the airport, the free zone is one of the largest duty-free zones in the United States. Two major railway systems, Amtrak and Tri-Rail, link the city locally and nationally. Interstates 95 and 195 run perpendicular through the Miami region. A network of 5,640 miles of roadway provides delivery and receiving routes for the nearly 100 motor freight lines operating in the area.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The Miami-Dade County labor force is Florida's largest and most comprehensive, numbering over 1.1 million, of which college students and adult/vocational education students make up 100,000 each. The region's labor advantages include a large and diverse pool of Spanish-speaking and bilingual workers who contribute to Miami's expansion as a headquarters of international operations. The Beacon Council forecasts the largest employment growth sectors for the mid-to late-2000s will be professional and business services, education, health services, and construction.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Miami-Hialeah metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 1,004,100

Number of workers employed in . . .

manufacturing: 52,400

trade, transportation and utilities: 252,800

information: 28,400

financial activities: 67,300

professional and business services: 146,800

educational and health services: 129,900

leisure and hospitality: 92,100

other services: 42,100

government: 150,900

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $14.09 (2003 statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Largest employers Number of employees
Miami-Dade County Public Schools 54,387
Miami-Dade County 32,265
Federal Government 20,100
Florida State Government 18,900
Jackson Memorial Hospital/Health System 11,700
Baptist Health Systems of South Florida 10,300
University of Miami 9,079
American Airlines 9,000
Miami-Dade College 7,500
Florida International University 5,000
United Parcel Service Inc. 5,000

Cost of Living

The Beacon Council reports that Miami's 2003 cost of living, while above the national average, was lower than other major urban areas like New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Miami area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $323,449

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 111.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None for personal income; 5.5 percent of net income for corporations

State sales tax rate: 6.0%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.0%

Property tax rate: $26.23895 per $1,000 of assessed property value (2004)

Economic Information: The Beacon Council, 80 SW 8th Street, Suite 2400, Miami, FL 33130; telephone (305)579-1300; fax (305)375-0271; email

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MIAMI, founded in 1896, anchors a sprawling, four-county, South Florida metropolis of over 5 million people. The city has evolved through a series of quick character changes, including raw tropical frontier, vast real estate speculation, tourist playground for the rich and famous, retirement destination for the middle class, safe haven for Caribbean and Latin American exiles and refugees, and multicultural boiling pot. Few American cities have experienced such dramatic change so quickly. Few places captured the American imagination so completely and so consistently over the course of the twentieth century.

South Florida's forbidding distances and water-logged environment prevented the region from moving beyond the frontier stage until the early twentieth century. The railroad and hotel baron Henry Flagler made Miami the destination of his Florida East Coast Railway in 1896. In succeeding decades Flagler became the city's chief builder and promoter. Emphasizing Miami's seashore location and subtropical amenities, Flagler successfully cultivated the image of a "Magic City" in the Florida sunshine. With in two decades other fabulous promoters were grabbing national attention for their own Miami-area speculations. Carl Fischer created Miami Beach, George Merrick built suburban Coral Gables on city beautiful principles, and dozens of smaller real estate speculators subdivided Miami and nearby communities. Even before the great Florida boom of the mid-1920s, tourists flocked to Miami and Miami Beach, some 150,000 a year by 1920.

The collapse of the Florida real estate boom in the late 1920s and the coming of the Great Depression in the 1930s only temporarily slowed Miami's growth. The glamorous vacation and resort image of Miami and Miami Beach kept the tropical twin cities in the national spotlight. Between 1920 and 1940 the Miami area grew in permanent population from 43,000 to 268,000, an increase of over 520 percent that placed Miami among the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas.

Metropolitan Miami's population growth slowed after 1940 but not by much, rising to 495,000 in 1950 and to 935,000 in 1960, a growth rate of 250 percent over two decades. Miami's upward growth spiral during the mid-century decades was sustained by powerful new forces for change. As in the rest of the emerging Sun Belt, the impact of World War II was far-reaching. The federal government established numerous military bases and training facilities in the Miami area. Defense spending and military payrolls provided a major boost to the local economy, attracted large numbers of civilian workers, and facilitated economic diversification. After the war thousands of service people who had trained in Miami returned to live out their Florida dreams.

New technologies also brought growth and change to Miami. Rail transportation supported South Florida's tourist economy until the 1930s, when automobiles and then commercial air travel increasingly filled that role. The newly developed DC-3 airliner, introduced in 1935, set Miami on a new course as one of the nation's aviation centers and a major gateway to Latin American cities. By the 1980s Miami had one of the busiest airports in the world, and the aviation industry (airport, airlines, suppliers) had become the city's largest employer.

Other powerful forces for change emerged by the 1950s. The introduction of home air conditioning in 1955 revolutionized Miami home construction and made year round living in South Florida appealing to larger numbers of people. Postwar demographic changes also altered Miami's population base considerably. Before the war Miami's population consisted primarily of southern whites and blacks as well as a large contingent of immigrant blacks from the Bahamas. After the war internal migration of Jews, Italians, and social-security retirees from the Northeast and Midwest brought new levels of ethnic diversity to the city. The Miami area's Jewish population rose from about 8,000 in 1940 to about 140,000 in 1960, a dramatic migration that rippled through Miami's politics and culture. Jews concentrated in Miami Beach, facing anti-Semitism but eventually coming to dominate that city's political structure. Liberal northern Jews, unaccustomed to racial segregation, worked with black activists in voter registration campaigns and lunch-counter sit-ins to achieve major civil rights breakthroughs by 1960. Miami's demographic transformation also underlay major governmental reforms, such as the introduction of a powerful county wide metropolitan government in 1957.

The decade of the 1960s brought still further change to Miami. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 toppled an unpopular dictatorship, but it also unleashed the first of many successive migration waves of Cuban exiles to South Florida. Over the next forty years, arriving by airlift, boat-lift, and make-shift rafts, almost 1 million Cubans found a new home in the Miami area. The subsequent arrival of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, Nicaraguans, Colombians, and others from Latin America and the Caribbean quickly altered the city's ethnic composition. As the Latin population grew, the practice of exile politics resulted in Hispanic domination of Miami and Miami-Dade County. After 1972 Hispanic mayors predominated in Miami. Unsettled by the new immigration and its consequences, non-Hispanic whites began an exodus of their own from the Miami area by the 1980s. Most migrating northerners began to choose other Florida retirement destinations. However, international trade and finance boomed along with the local real estate market, as Miamians took advantage of the city's new Latin ambiance. By the 1980s Latin American and European tourists in Miami and Miami Beach outnumbered American vacationers.

Miami's new ethnic and racial diversity led to turmoil and conflict. Black Miamians suffered from job competition with Cuban arrivals in the 1960s and resented the special treatment and financial support the newcomers received from the federal government. Haitians complained about a double standard in American immigration policy that favored the mostly white exiles from communist Cuba but excluded black immigrants from Haiti. Four major race riots in Miami between 1980 and 1992 reflected these underlying tensions. The polarizing debate over Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy rescued from an overturned raft in 1999 and reunited with his father in

Cuba in 2000, unleashed new tensions. Urban problems, such as high crime rates, a flourishing illegal drug trade, attacks on tourists, political corruption, and damage to an environmentally sensitive ecosystem, contributed to Miami's newest image as a lost paradise.

The 2000 census demonstrated the powerful impact of forty years of immigration on Miami and confirmed widely held perceptions of its boiling-pot cultural mix. Hispanics comprised 66 percent of the city of Miami's population of 362,470. Metro Miami's population of 2.2 million included 1.3 people of Hispanic background, or 57 percent of the total. About 650,000 of the Hispanics are of Cuban descent. Almost 60 percent of metro Miami residents speak Spanish at home, another testament to the power of Latin immigration. Transformed by twentieth century technologies and shaped by economic and demographic changes, Miami nevertheless retains its tropical allure and cultural vitality.


Dunn, Marvin. Black Miami in the Twentieth Century. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1997.

García, María Cristina. Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida, 1959–1994. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996.

Grenier, Guillermo J., and Alex Stepick III, eds. Miami Now! Immigration, Ethnicity, and Social Change. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1992.

Mohl, Raymond A. "Miami: The Ethnic Cauldron." In Sunbelt Cities: Politics and Growth since World War II. Edited by Richard M. Bernard and Bradley R. Rice. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983.

Portes, Alejandro, and Alex Stepick. City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Raymond A.Mohl

See alsoCuban Americans ; Resorts and Spas ; Sun Belt .

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Miami: History

Miami: History

Early Settlement Attempts Create Conflict

South Florida was settled more than four thousand years ago by primitive people who had established a thriving culture by the time Spanish explorers led by Ponce de Leon arrived in 1513. The principal native tribe in the region that is now Miami-Dade County was the Calusa (renamed Tequesta by de Leon), whose members built villages along the Miami River. The name Miami comes from the Calusa word "Mayami," meaning "Big Water." Tequestaor Chequeschatheir village on the north bank of the river, became the site of the future city of Miami.

Spanish conquistadors, attracted by the mild climate, abundant food sources, and fresh water supplyand by tales of gold and other richesmade repeated attempts to colonize the Miami region during the early sixteenth century but were met with hostility from the Calusas. Nevertheless, by the early 1700s, less than two hundred years after the arrival of the Spanish, most of the native population of south Florida had disappeared. European diseases like smallpox had severely reduced their numbers, as did inter-tribal wars. The few Calusas who remained were threatened by invading Creek and Seminole Indians, and in 1711 many fled to Havana, Cuba.

Spain, never really successful in settling the Miami region, supported France against the British during the French and Indian War, and as a result lost Florida to the victorious British in 1763. In 1783, after the American Revolution, Florida briefly reverted to Spanish possession, but in 1821 Spain ceded Florida to the United States for $5 million. Over the next two decades, settlers moving into the Biscayne Bay area encountered conflict with the Seminoles living there. In 1836, as part of an effort to quell the angry Seminoles, the U.S. Army took over Fort Dallasoriginally a naval post at the mouth of the Miami River. In 1842, after numerous skirmishes, the remaining Seminoles were driven into the Everglades swamp, a region so unfit for human habitation that the government did not challenge their occupation of it. Seven years later a permanent structure was built at Fort Dallas from which the army could monitor the Seminoles.

While other outposts in Florida flourished after the final Seminole conflict, Miami and Dade County suffered. Farming had become impossible and settlers drifted to other locales. By 1860 the name Miami no longer appeared in public records. The Civil War barely touched the few people who lived in the isolated Miami River settlement; in fact, it was assumed by those in prosperous north Florida towns that the southern region was uninhabited. Although stragglers, deserters, and freed slaves passed through Miami after the war, few settled there.

The City Becomes a Cosmopolitan Mecca

In the 1870s investors and developers from the midwest moved into the area, claiming old titles and buying land. Among them was Julia Tuttle, the wealthy widow of a Cleveland businessman, who enjoyed life in Miami and saw potential for a resort community there. She persuaded Henry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railroad into the wilderness beyond Palm Beach. On April 15, 1896, Flagler brought his railroad into Miami and also began to develop the town, which was incorporated in 1896. Other entrepreneurs followed, and Miami grew from a village with a population of 343 people to a flourishing resort. Miami Beach was founded in 1915.

After World War I, improved highways gave greater access from the north and triggered an unprecedented building boom. In 1920 the city's population was 30,000 people; by 1925 real estate speculation swelled the population to 200,000 people. A year later the boom had collapsed, but it had laid the basis for future development in office buildings, hotels, housing, and a network of streets and roads. A hurricane in 1926 killed 243 people and caused damage estimated at $1.4 billion in 1990 dollars. Miami's phenomenal growth slowed.

World War II brought a second boom to Miami. Soldiers replaced tourists, and after the war servicemen who had trained in the city returned to make their homes there. This second boom has continued without significant interruption to the present. It was given impetus in the 1960s with the migration of more than 178,000 refugees from Communist Cuba. The Cuban migration transformed Miami into an international city, strengthening existing ties with the Caribbean and South America. Today the city is bilingual; Spanish-speaking employees work at most businesses, and downtown shops post signs in both English and Spanish. Still, racial tensions persisted. For example, an incident of alleged police brutality toward an African American caused major rioting in 1980. And African Americans staged a tourism boycott resulting from the snubbing by county commissioners of former South African President Nelson Mandela during his visit to Miami in 1990.

End of Century Sees Political Turmoil, Reform Efforts

Capitalizing on its multinational character, Miami moved during the 1980s and 1990s into the forefront of world commerce and finance. Hundreds of thousands of European visitors discovered Miami Beach, popularizing the Art Deco hotels and adding to the city's cosmopolitan flair. But in the wake of racial and ethnic tensions, some highly publicized murders of foreign tourists, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992, at least 100,000 non-Hispanic whites fled the Greater Miami area between 1990 and 1996, leaving a city that was the only large U.S. city with a Hispanic majority.

The city struggled in the late twentieth century to balance the needs of its mostly poor citizens with the need for business development. In spite of its glamorous image, Miami was the nation's fourth poorest city. In 1997, faced with a $68 million budget shortfall, Miami became the first city in Florida to have an oversight board appointed by the state. City voters rejected a plan to dissolve Miami as separate entity and merge it with the county, though county voters approved to change the name of Dade County to Miami-Dade County. This name change did little to help Miami, whose problems had become more than financial. The 2000 incident involving Elian Gonzalez, a five-year-old Cuban boy who survived a shipwreck to arrive in the United States only to be returned to Cuba by the U.S. government, deepened ethnic tensions between Miami's Cuban and non-Cuban population. By the turn of the century, corruption in the city government and a number of controversial police shootings brought about scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice.

A Radical with a Business Vision

Desperate for a positive change, disenchanted voters shook up Miami's government by electing Manuel A. Diaz as mayor in 2001. Diaz, a lawyer who had never held elected office, immediately and radically restructured the government. Modeling it on a private-sector organization, he eliminated some departments and consolidated others, and incorporated a vertical structure consisting of such positions as a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Business processes were rewritten at each employee and government level, and a new emphasis was placed on accountability, training, and timely service to citizens. A number of programs were developed and implemented to boost the local economy and improve the quality of life for Miami's residents and visitors. By 2004, only three years after the city was nearly bankrupt and its bonds were junk grade, Wall Street gave its bonds an A+ rating, the highest in Miami's history. Diaz's remarkable results in such a short time earned him the Urban Innovator of the Year Award by the Manhattan Institute.

Historical Information: Historical Museum of Southern Florida, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33130; telephone (305)375-1492; email

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Miami: Education and Research

Miami: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Like all public schools in the state of Florida, the public elementary and secondary schools of Miami are part of a county-wide district. The Miami-Dade County district, fourth largest in the United States, is administered by a partisan nine-member elected school board that appoints a superintendent.

The district operates the largest magnet school system in the nation, offering 77 specialized fields of study in such areas as mathematics, science, and technology; gifted; international education; Montessori; visual and performing arts; communications and humanities; and careers and professions. Additionally, 25 charter schools are under contract with the school district. In 20022003, more than 117,000 children were enrolled in the kindergarten through the twelfth grade at 286 schools and centers.

The following is a summary of data regarding Miami's public schools as of the 20022003 school year.

Total enrollment: 371,482

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 206

junior high/middle schools: 53

senior high schools: 36

other: 45

Student/teacher ratio: 19:1

Teacher salaries

average: $45,905

Funding per pupil: $5,858 (20012002 operating and special revenue funds)

Miami-Dade County has more than 400 private schools enrolling approximately 50,000 students.

Public Schools Information: Miami-Dade County Public Schools, 1450 N.E. Second Avenue, Miami, FL 33132; telephone (305)995-1000

Colleges and Universities

The Miami area has dozens of institutions of higher learning, including five vocational/technical schools. Florida International University, which enrolls more than 31,000 students, is the state's largest public university. The University of Miami is a private university noted for its business school. Miami-Dade Community College, with nearly 47,000 students, is recognized as one of the best in the nation. Barry University and St. Thomas University are both affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church; Florida Memorial College is affiliated with American Baptist Churches in the USA; and Trinity International University is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America. International Fine Arts College offers Associate, Bachelor's, and Master's degrees.

Libraries and Research Centers

In addition to its main branch in downtown Miami, the Miami-Dade Public Library System operates 34 branches and four regional libraries, with a regional library on Miami Beach and a branch in Sunny Isles Beach scheduled to open in 2005. Its collection numbers more than 3.8 million volumes; 1 million volumes can be found at the Main Library in the downtown Metro-Dade Cultural Center, where the largest collection of books and documents in the Southeast are housed. The library also holds numerous newspapers, magazines, films, records, tapes, sheet music, and photographs. The Main Library serves as a resource center for the system and provides information via eight subject departments: art, business, Florida, languages, music, science, urban affairs, and genealogy. Special collections are held in the Florida Room, the Foundations Center Regional Collection, and the U.S. and State Documents department; special interests include Florida and foreign languages, particularly Spanish. The library sponsors a wide array of educational and culturally enriching programs and exhibitions attended by more than 500,000 patrons annually. In 2002 the library system returned bookmobile service to outlying suburban neighborhoods.

Miami is home to more than 40 special libraries, including the University of Miami, which houses more than two million volumes. The library at the Wolfsonian Museum features a collection of about 36,000 books and other materials focusing on industrial arts, design, and architecture. The Wolfsonian's research and study center traces the interconnections of European culture with other cultures. Numerous other research centers are affiliated with academic institutions, conducting research activities in such fields as medicine, energy, marine science, economics, Latin America and the Caribbean, the environment, and aging.

Public Library Information: Miami-Dade Public Library System, 101 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33130-1523; telephone (305)375-5026; email

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Miami (cities, United States)

Miami (mīăm´ē, –ə). 1 City (1990 pop. 358,548), seat of Dade co., SE Fla., on Biscayne Bay at the mouth of the Miami River; inc. 1896. The region of Greater Miami encompasses all of Dade co., including Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Hialeah, and many smaller communities.

The second largest city in the state, a port of entry, and the transportation and business hub of S Fla., it is also a popular and famous resort of the E United States. Tourism remains a major industry, closely followed by manufacturing and commerce. Miami has an international airport and is the principal American port for cruise ships to the Caribbean. The city is also the processing and shipping hub of a large agricultural region and a center for rebuilding and repairing aircraft. Manufactures include clothing, transportation equipment, machinery, plastics, and electronic components. Other industries are printing and publishing, fishing, and shellfishing. Miami is the home to the National Hurricane Center (at Florida International Univ.) and the headquarters of the U.S. Armed Forces Southern Command, responsible for military operations in Central and South America.

Professional football's Miami Dolphins, baseball's Florida Marlins, and basketball's Miami Heat play in the city, and college football's annual Orange Bowl contest is held there. Professional hockey's Florida Panthers play in suburban Sunrise. Miami is the seat of a number of institutions of higher education, including Barry Univ., Florida International Univ., Florida Memorial College, Miami Dade College, and St. Thomas Univ. The Univ. of Miami is in nearby Coral Gables. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, host to the Miami City Ballet and the Florida Grand Opera, is also there, and the nearby Pérez Art Museum Miami opened in 2013. A number of state parks, gardens, and major tourist attractions are in the area.

The first modern settlement was made in the 1870s near the site of Fort Dallas, built in 1836 during the Seminole War, but it was preceded by more ancient settlements, such as the Tequesta site unearthed in 1998. In the 1890s, Henry M. Flagler made Miami a railroad terminus, dredged the harbor, began a recreational center, and promoted tourism. Miami received its greatest impetus during the Florida land boom of the mid-1920s. Since 1959 the large influx of Cubans has created "Little Havana," an ethnic sector that has had sporadic racial unrest; by the 1990 census nearly 50% of the city population was Hispanic, predominantly of Cuban descent.

In Apr., 1980, the U.S. government agreed to allow 3,500 Cuban political refugees into the country; a national announcement by Cuban leader Fidel Castro that those wanting to leave Cuba should gather at Mariel, near Havana, resulted in the boatlift of more than 100,000 Cuban refugees to S Florida. The 1980s and early 1990s were marked by large suburban growth, spurred by the increase of high-technology industries in the Miami area. Metrorail, the city transit system, opened in 1984. In the 21st cent. Miami has experienced continuing growth in its Hispanic population, which has been augmented an influx of Central and South Americans.

See J. Buchanan, Miami: A Chronological & Documentary History, 1513–1977 (1978); J. Didion, Miami (1987); T. D. Allman, Miami: City of the Future (1988, rev. ed., 2013).

2 City (1990 pop. 13,142), seat of Ottawa co., extreme NE Okla., in the foothills of the Ozarks and on the headwaters of Grand Lake, which provides both electric power and recreation. It is a trade, shipping, and marketing center for a tristate livestock and dairy region where lead and zinc are mined. Manufactures include apparel, metal and leather products, electronic materials, motor coaches, and fiberglass boats.

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Miami: Transportation

Miami: Transportation

Approaching the City

The visitor arriving in Miami by plane will stop at the Miami International Airport (MIA), an ultramodern facility only seven miles from downtown and served by more than 100 airlines. MIA is the one of the busiest in the world, and has the third highest international passenger traffic in the country. The Metropolitan Miami-Dade County Aviation Department, which is overseeing a $4.6 billion expansion of the airport, also maintains five general aviation facilities that handle corporate aircraft flights. The Port of Miami is the world's busiest cruise port, serving more than 3.6 million passengers annually. Amtrak provides passenger rail service into and out of the city. Tri-Rail links downtown Miami to three counties and to Miami International Airport via a 65-mile train system.

The major north-south expressways into Miami are Interstate 95, the Palmetto Expressway (also called State Road 826), and the Florida Turnpike. Main east-west routes are Interstate 195, the Dolphin Expressway (State Road 836), the Airport Expressway (State Road 112), the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 4, which is also Southwest Eighth Street), and the Miami Beach Causeways (MacArthur, Venetian, Julia Tuttle, and Seventy-ninth Street). Other east-west thoroughfares are the Bal Harbor (Broad Street), Sunny Isles (State Road 826) and William Lehman Causeways.

Traveling in the City

Miami is laid out in a grid pattern organized around a downtown intersection of Miami Avenue (east-west) and Flagler Street (north-south), which divides the city into four quadrants. For ease in getting around, visitors have only to remember that "streets," "lanes," and "terraces" run east and west, while "avenues," "courts," and "places" run north and south.

Miami's Metrorail-Metrobus system is operated by the MetroDade Transportation Administration. A tourist attraction in its own right, Metrorail carries passengers in air conditioned, stainless steel trains on an elevated railway over a 21.5-mile route from south of the city to north Miami-Dade. It provides connections to all major areas of the city. With the completion of the downtown Metromover, Miami-Dade County became the first community in the world to have a people mover connected to a rail system. The Metromover is a free service that is made up of individual motorized cars running atop a 4.4-mile elevated track, looping around the downtown and connecting to the Metrorail. Interconnecting with the Metrorail and the Metromover is the fleet of buses known as Metrobus, which runs almost 24 hours a day.

Bus, boat, and even helicopter tours are a relaxing way to see Miami and its environs. Comprehensive tour service is provided by numerous tour companies that feature half- and full-day bus or trolley excursions in and around Miami. For those who would like to experience the full effect of the city's skyline, several cruise lines in Miami Beach offer luncheon and moonlight boat excursions.

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Miami: Convention Facilities

Miami: Convention Facilities

With several convention centers, including a new ultramodern downtown facility, Miami is an attractive gathering place for large or small groups. Generous hotel space and a warm climate, coupled with a diverse range of available leisure activities, make the city an ideal spot for business mixed with pleasure.

The Miami Convention Center is located on the Miami River in the heart of the business and financial district. One of the most advanced meeting, educational, sports, and entertainment complexes in the southeast, it offers 70,000 square feet of space for exhibits, shops, and restaurants, and its main convention floor can accommodate 5,000 people. The Hyatt Regency Miami is adjacent to the center, and also offers convention facilities. The 5,000-seat James L. Knight International Center can accommodate many types of events, and Riverfront Hall adds 28,000 square feet of space to the Convention Center. A scenic promenade leads from the center to Bayside Marketplace.

The Miami Beach Convention Center, which spans four city blocks and sits adjacent to the Jackie Gleason Theatre, offers 500,000 square feet of gross exhibition space and 70 meeting rooms. Promoted as the nation's only African American majority-owned convention hotel, the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort features two 15-story oceanfront buildings within walking distance of the Miami Beach Convention Center. Ten minutes from downtown Miami, the unique Coconut Grove Exhibition Center, once a navy hangar, offers up to 150,000 square feet of contiguous space, which can subdivide into five halls ranging from 7,000 to 50,000 square feet apiece. Located on Biscayne Bay, it is within walking distance of the center of the village of Coconut Grove and Sailboat Bay and Kennedy Park. The Radisson Mart Plaza Hotel & Convention Center is ranked as the largest hotel exhibit space in the region. It offers more than 24,000 square feet of meeting space, with another 115,500 square feet available in the adjoining Radisson Centre.

For groups ranging in size from 20 to 1,350 people, other downtown meeting sites can be found in numerous hotels. Some resort hotels located in Miami offer meeting facilities along with a variety of activities, including health clubs and water sports; similarly, some resort hotels located in nearby Coconut Grove, Key Biscayne, and Coral Gables also accommodate large and small meeting groups. Miami Beach, too, offers a number of hotels with meeting facilities, of which the best known are the Fontainebleau, the Eden Roc, and the Doral, popular for decades as tourist resorts.

Convention Information: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, 701 Brickell Ave., Ste. 2700, Miami, FL 33131; telephone (305)539-3000; toll-free (800)933-8448; email

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Miami: Communications

Miami: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Miami's major daily newspaper, the morning The Miami Herald is supplemented by two Spanish-language dailies, El Nuevo Patria and Diario Las Americas, a Spanish-language weekly, El Nuevo Herald (Sunday), and the Daily Business Review. The Miami Times is an African American community newspaper. Miami Today is a weekly newspaper aimed at upper management. New Times of Miami is an alternative news and arts weekly. Among the more than 50 newspapers and magazines published in Miami are the Spanish-language version of Harper's Bazaar, Hombre Internacional, and TV y Novelas, which covers the lifestyles of Spanish-language soap opera stars.

Television and Radio

Television stations broadcasting from Miami include seven network-affiliated stations, two public broadcasting stations, one independent, and one commercial station. Cable television service is also available throughout Miami-Dade County. Seventeen AM and FM radio stations broadcasting from Miami present programming ranging from popular, easy listening, country, rock and roll, jazz, and classical music to news, sports, religious and educational programs, and talk shows; several stations serve the special interests of African Americans and Spanish-language listeners.

Media Information: The Miami Herald, Knight-Ridder Inc., 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132-1693; telephone (305)350-2111

Miami Online

The Beacon Council. Available

City of Miami home page. Available

Diario las Americas. Available

El Nuevo Herald. Available

Enterprise Florida. Available

Historical Museum of Southern Florida. Available

Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. Available

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. Available

Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System. Available

The Miami Herald. Available

Miami-Dade County home page. Available

Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Available www.dade

Miami-Dade Public Library System. Available

Miami Department of Economic Development. Available

Selected Bibliography

Beebe, Morton, Miami: The Sophisticated Tropics (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1991)

Miller, Mark, Miami and the Keys (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 1999)

Muir, Helen, Miami, U.S.A. (Miami: Pickering Press, 1990)

Parks, Arva Moore, and Carolyn Klepser, Miami Then & Now (Berkeley, CA: Thunder Bay Press, 2003)

Portes, Alejandro, and Alex Stepick, City on the Edge: The Transformation of Miami (Berkeley: University of California Press, c1993)

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Miami: Health Care

Miami: Health Care

Miami-Dade County, with 28 hospitals and more than 32,000 licensed healthcare professionals, has the state's largest concentration of medical facilities, which provide comprehensive human and social services through an array of programs. Hundreds of thousands of residents take part in a wide variety of county programs including emergency assistance, mental health care, substance abuse treatment and prevention, homeless shelter, veteran services, and other traditional social services.

Considered one of the best hospitals in the United States, Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital (JMH) is also one of the nation's largest health care facilities. JMH, Miami-Dade County's only public hospital, is affiliated with the University of Miami School of Medicine and is known for research work in a number of fields, particularly eye and blood diseases, diabetes, and back pain. With the only Level 1 trauma center in South Florida, JMH treats more than 95 percent of the trauma victims in Miami-Dade County. The burn center, spinal cord injury center and organ transplant program are other JMH specialty areas unique to South Florida. Also at the Medical Center, the Bascom-Palmer Eye Institute/Anne Bates Leach Eye Hospital, Mailman Center for Child Development, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, National Parkinson Foundation, Diabetes Research Institute, and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, among many others, have earned Miami-Dade County high marks nationally and internationally as a center for groundbreaking research and treatment programs.

Baptist Hospital owns several facilities in the area and is highly regarded for the quality of its patient care. Miami Children's Hospital, a 268-bed facility, is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital especially for the treatment of children. The not-for-profit hospital has a medical staff numbering over 650, is the largest freestanding pediatric teaching hospital in the Southeastern United States, and has a tele-education program reaching more than 40 sites in Latin America and the Caribbean. Other Miami-area hospitals are Mount Sinai Medical Center of Greater Miami, Cedars Medical Center, and Mercy Hospital.

Health Care Information: Jackson Memorial Hospital/Jackson Health System, 1611 NW 12th Ave., Miami, FL 33136-1094; telephone (305)585-1111; email

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Miami: Population Profile

Miami: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents

1980: 1,626,000

1990: 1,973,194 (PMSA)

2000: 2,253,362 (PMSA)

Percent change, 19902000: 16.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 12th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 11th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 12th (CMSA)

City Residents

1980: 346,681

1990: 358,648

2000: 362,470

2003 estimate: 376,815

Percent change, 19902000: 1.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 41st

U.S. rank in 1990: 46th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 56th (State rank: 2nd)

Density: 10,160.9 people per square mile (based on 2000 land area)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 241,470

Black or African American: 80,858

American Indian and Alaska Native: 810

Asian: 2,376

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 130

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 238,351

Other: 19,644

Percent of residents born in state: 26.6% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 21,222

Population 5 to 9 years old: 21,962

Population 10 to 14 years old: 22,182

Population 15 to 19 years old: 22,339

Population 20 to 24 years old: 23,023

Population 25 to 34 years old: 54,264

Population 35 to 44 years old: 55,682

Population 45 to 54 years old: 44,287

Population 55 to 59 years old: 17,983

Population 60 to 64 years old: 17,758

Population 65 to 74 years old: 32,233

Population 75 to 84 years old: 21,140

Population 85 years and older: 8,395

Median age: 37.7 years

Births (Miami-Dade County, 2003)

Total number: 32,551

Deaths (Miami-Dade County, 2003)

Total number: 18,369 (of which, 194 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $15,128

Median household income: $23,483

Total households: 134,344

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 32,558

$10,000 to $14,999: 14,370

$15,000 to $24,999: 23,087

$25,000 to $34,999: 17,280

$35,000 to $49,999: 17,036

$50,000 to $74,999: 14,484

$75,000 to $99,999: 6,458

$100,000 to $149,999: 4,829

$150,000 to $199,999: 1,581

$200,000 or more: 2,661

Percent of families below poverty level: 23.5% (61% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 33,952

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Miami: Introduction
Miami: Geography and Climate
Miami: History
Miami: Population Profile
Miami: Municipal Government
Miami: Economy
Miami: Education and Research
Miami: Health Care
Miami: Recreation
Miami: Convention Facilities
Miami: Transportation
Miami: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1836 (incorporated 1896)

Head Official: Mayor Manuel A. Diaz (I) (since 2001)

City Population

1980: 346,681

1990: 358,648

2000: 362,470

2003 estimate: 376,815

Percent change, 19902000: 1.0%

U.S. rank in 1980: 41st

U.S. rank in 1990: 46th (State rank: 2nd)

U.S. rank in 2000: 56th (State rank: 2nd)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 1,626,000

1990: 1,937,194

2000: 2,253,362

Percent change, 19902000: 16.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 12th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 11th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 12th (PMSA)

Area: 36 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 12 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 76.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 58.53 inches

Major Economic Sectors: tourism, trade, banking, manufacturing

Unemployment rate: 5.4% (December 2004)

Per Capita Income: $15,128 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 33,952

Major Colleges and Universities: University of Miami, Miami-Dade Community College, Florida International University, Barry University, St. Thomas University

Daily Newspapers: The Miami Herald; Diario Las Americas

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Miami: Introduction

Miami: Introduction

Described as the "only great city of the world that started as a fantasy," Miami, with its subtropical climate, naturally protected harbor, and spectacular beaches, has traditionally been a haven for tourists and retirees. Since the late 1980s, however, the city has sustained unprecedented growth and, while transforming its image, has emerged as a center of international finance and commerce and as a regional center for Latin American and Haitian art.

An unincorporated village shortly before the turn of the twentieth century, Miami boasts a metropolitan area that includes a large unincorporated area and 30 incorporated areas or municipalities, all of which make up Miami-Dade County. Greater Miami offers a diversity of lifestyles and attractions to both residents and visitors in a variety of small towns and cities such as Coconut Grove, Miami Beach, South Beach, Coral Gables, Bal Harbor, and Hialeah. With easy access to other parts of the country, Miami has developed into one of America's major transportation hubs, and thriving job and housing markets have made it an ideal location for business expansion and new construction. At one time, Miami came to life only in the winter with the influx of tourists from the north. Today it is a year-round city that offers something for everyone.

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Miami: Geography and Climate

Miami: Geography and Climate

Located at the mouth of the Miami River on the lower east coast of Florida, Miami is bordered on the east by Biscayne Bay, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean. Further east, the islands of Key Biscayne and Miami Beach shelter the bay from the Atlantic Ocean, thus providing Miami with a naturally protected harbor. Once pine and palmetto flatlands, the Miami area boasts sandy beaches in its coastal areas and gives way to sparsely wooded outlying areas. A man-made canal connects the city to Lake Okeechobee, located 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Miami's year-round semi-tropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, with a long, warm summer and abundant rainfall followed by a mild, dry winter. Summer humidity levelsusually in the 86 to 89 percent range during the daymake Miami the second most humid city in the United States. Hurricanes occasionally affect the area in September and October; tornadoes are rare. Waterspouts are sometimes sighted from the beaches in the summer, but significant damage seldom occurs.

Area: 36 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 12 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 68.1° F; July, 83.7° F; annual average, 76.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 58.53 inches

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Miami: Municipal Government

Miami: Municipal Government

Miami's system of government is two-tiered: municipal and county. At the municipal level are a city mayor, five commissioners, and a city manager. The Miami-Dade County, or metropolitan government, consists of an executive mayor, a county manager, and 13 county commissioners, each of which represents a district and serves a four-year term. The county government administers issues that affect the greater metropolitan area, such as transportation and pollution control.

Head Officials: City Mayor Manuel A. Diaz (I) (since 2001, current term expires 2005); County Mayor Carlos Alvarez (since 2004)

Total Number of City Employees: 3,500 (2005)

Government Information: City Mayor's Office, 3500 Pan American Dr., Miami, FL 33133; telephone (305)250-5300; fax (305)854-4001; email County Mayor's Office, Stephen Clark Center, 111 NW 1st St., 29th Fl., Miami, FL 33128; telephone (305)375-5071; fax (305)375-3618; email

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Miami City and port on Biscayne Bay in se Florida, USA. Originally a small agricultural community, it developed quickly after 1895 when the railroad was extended and the harbour dredged. Modern Miami is a popular tourist resort, with luxury hotels and many sporting facilities. Industries: clothing, concrete, metal products, fishing, printing and publishing. Pop. (2000) 362,470.

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Miamichamois, clammy, gammy, Grammy, hammy, jammy, mammae, mammee, mammy, Miami, ramie, rammy, Sammy, shammy, whammy •acme, drachmae •Lakshmi •army, balmy, barmy, gourami, macramé, origami, palmy, pastrami, salami, smarmy, swami, tsunami, Yanomami •Clemmie, Emmy, jemmy, lemme, semi •elmy •Amy, cockamamie, flamy, gamy, Jamie, Mamie, samey •beamy, creamy, dreamy, gleamy, Mimi, preemie, seamy, steamy •gimme, shimmy, Timmy •pygmy • filmy •arch-enemy, enemy •synonymy • Jeremy • sashimi •blimey, gorblimey, grimy, limey, slimy, stymie, thymy •commie, mommy, pommie, pommy, tommy •dormy, stormy •foamy, homey, loamy, Naomi, Salome •polychromy

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