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Miami ( or ) is a major coastal city in southeastern Floridamarker, in the United Statesmarker. Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade Countymarker, the most populous county in Florida. The Miami Urbanized Area (as defined by the Census Bureau) was the fifth most populous urbanized area in the U.S. in the 2000 census with a population of 4,919,036. The United Nations estimated that in 2007, Miami had become the fourth largest urbanized area in the United States, behind New York Citymarker, Los Angelesmarker, and Chicagomarker.

Miami is well known as a global city because of it's importance in finance, commerce, media, entertainment, arts and international trade. The city is home to many company headquarters, banks, and television studios. It is an international center for popular entertainment in television, music, fashion, film, and the performing arts. The city's Port of Miamimarker is known for accommodating the largest volume of cruise ships in the world and is home to many cruise line headquarters. Miami is also home to the largest concentration of international banks in the United States.

Since 2001, Miami has been undergoing a large building boom with more than 50 skyscrapers rising over built or currently under construction in the city. Miami's skyline is ranked third most impressive in the U.S., behind New York City and Chicago, and 18th in the world according to the Almanac of Architecture and Design. Its growth has made it the ninth tallest skyline in the United States and 25th tallest in the world. The city currently has the eight tallest (as well as thirteen of the fourteen tallest) skyscrapers in the state of Florida, with the tallest being the Four Seasons Hotel & Towermarker.

In 2008, Miami was ranked as "America's Cleanest City" according to Forbes Magazine for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets and city-wide recycling programs. In a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States (of four U. S. cities included in the survey) and the world's fifth-richest city, in terms of purchasing power.


The Miami area was first inhabited for more than one thousand years by the Tequestas, but was later claimed for Spain in 1566 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. A Spanish mission was constructed one year later in 1567. In 1836, Fort Dallasmarker was built, and the Miami area subsequently became a site of fighting during the Second Seminole War.

Miami holds the distinction of being the only major city in the United States founded by a woman, Julia Tuttle, who was a local citrus grower and a wealthy Clevelandmarker native. The Miami area was better known as "Biscayne Bay Country" in the early years of its growth. Some published reports described the area as a promising wilderness. The area was also characterized as "one of the finest building sites in Florida." The Great Freeze of 1894-1895 hastened Miami's growth, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived. Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railroad to the region. Miami was officially incorporated as a city on July 28, 1896 with a population of just over 300.

Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure but weakened after the collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane and the Great Depression in the 1930s. When World War II began, Miami, well-situated due to its location on the southern coast of Florida, played an important role in the battle against German submarines. The war helped to expand Miami's population; by 1940, 172,172 people lived in the city. After Fidel Castro rose to power in 1959, many Cubansmarker sought refuge in Miami, further increasing the population. In the 1980s and 1990s, various crises struck South Florida, among them the Arthur McDuffie beating and the subsequent riot, drug wars, Hurricane Andrew, and the Elián González uproar. Nevertheless, in the latter half of the 20th century, Miami became a major international, financial, and cultural center.

Miami and its metropolitan area grew from just over one thousand residents to nearly five and a half million residents in just 110 years (1896-2006). The city's nickname, The Magic City, comes from this rapid growth. Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.


At only of land area, Miami has the smallest land area of any major U.S. city with a metro area of at least 2.5 million people. The city proper is home to less than 1 in 13 residents of South Florida. Additionally, 52% of Miami-Dade County's population doesn't live in any incorporated city. Miami is the only major city in the United States bordered by two national parks, Everglades National Parkmarker on the west, and Biscayne National Parkmarker on the east.

Miami and its suburbs are located on a broad plain between the Florida Evergladesmarker to the west and Biscayne Baymarker to the east that also extends from Florida Baymarker north to Lake Okeechobeemarker. The elevation of the area never rises above and averages at around above mean sea level in most neighborhoods, especially near the coast. The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region. The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains Miami Beachmarker and South Beach. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, runs northward just off the coast, allowing the city's climate to stay warm and mild all year.


View from one of the high points in Miami, west of downtown.
The western parts of the city have points as high as above sea level.

The surface bedrock under the Miami area is called Miami oolite or Miami limestone. This bedrock is covered by a thin layer of soil, and is no more than thick. Miami limestone formed as the result of the drastic changes in sea level associated with recent glaciations or ice ages. Beginning some 130,000 years ago the Sangamonian Stage raised sea levels to approximately above the current level. All of southern Florida was covered by a shallow sea. Several parallel lines of reef formed along the edge of the submerged Florida plateau, stretching from the present Miami area to what is now the Dry Tortugasmarker. The area behind this reef line was in effect a large lagoon, and the Miami limestone formed throughout the area from the deposition of oolites and the shells of bryozoans. Starting about 100,000 years ago the Wisconsin glaciation began lowering sea levels, exposing the floor of the lagoon. By 15,000 years ago, the sea level had dropped to 300 to below the contemporary level. The sea level rose quickly after that, stabilizing at the current level about 4000 years ago, leaving the mainland of South Florida just above sea level.

Beneath the plain lies the Biscayne Aquifer, a natural underground source of fresh water that extends from southern Palm Beach Countymarker to Florida Baymarker, with its highest point peaking around the cities of Miami Springsmarker and Hialeahmarker. Most of the South Florida metropolitan areamarker obtains its drinking water from this aquifer. As a result of the aquifer, it is not possible to dig more than beneath the city without hitting water, which impedes underground construction. For this reason, the mass transit systems in and around Miami are elevated or at-grade.

Most of the western fringes of the city extend into the Evergladesmarker, a subtropical marshland located in the southern portion of the U.S. state of Floridamarker. This causes occasional problems with local wildlife such as alligators venturing into Miami communities and major highways.

In terms of land area, Miami is one of the smallest major cities in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, the city encompasses a total area of . Of that area, is land and is water. That means Miami comprises over 400,000 people in a mere , making it one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, along with New York City, San Francisco, and Chicagomarker among others. Miami is located at .


A typical winter day in Miami.

Miami has a true tropical climate, specifically the Tropical monsoon climate (Köppen climate classification Am) with hot & humid summers and warm winters, with a marked dry season in the winter. The city does experience cold fronts from late October through March. However, the average monthly temperature for any month has never been recorded as being under 64.4 °F (January averages 67 °F). Most of the year is warm and humid, and the summers are almost identical to the climate of the Caribbean tropics. The wet season lasts from May to October, when it gives way to the dry season, which features mild temperatures with some invasions of cool air, which is when the little winter rainfall occurs — with the passing of a front. The hurricane season largely coincides with the wet season.

In addition to its sea-level elevation, coastal location and position just above the Tropic of Cancermarker, the area owes its warm, humid climate to the Gulf Stream, which moderates climate year-round. A typical summer day does not have temperatures below . Temperatures in the high 80s to low 90s (30-35 °C) accompanied by high humidity are often relieved by afternoon thunderstorms or a sea breeze that develops off the Atlantic Ocean, which then allow lower temperatures, although conditions still remain very muggy. During winter, humidity is significantly lower, allowing for cooler weather to develop. Average minimum temperatures during that time are around , rarely dipping below , and the equivalent maxima usually range between .

Miami has never recorded a triple-digit temperature; the highest temperature recorded was . The coldest temperature ever recorded in the city of Miami was on several occasions. Miami has never recorded an accumulation of snow, and only once recorded flurries, on January 20, 1977. Weather conditions for the area around Miami were recorded sporadically from 1839 until 1900, with many years-long gaps. A cooperative temperature and rainfall recording site was established in what is now Downtown in December, 1900. An official Weather Bureau Office was opened in Miami in June, 1911.
Miami receives abundant rainfall, one of the highest among major U.S. cities. Most of this rainfall occurs from mid-May through early October. It receives annual rainfall of , whereas nearby Fort Lauderdalemarker and Miami Beach receive and , respectively, which demonstrates the high local variability in rainfall rates. Hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through November 30, although hurricanes can develop beyond those dates. The most likely time for Miami to be hit is during the peak of the Cape Verde season which is mid-August through the end of September. Due to its location between two major bodies of water known for tropical activity, Miami is also statistically the most likely major city in the world to be struck by a hurricane, trailed closely by Nassau, Bahamasmarker, and Havanamarker, Cubamarker. Despite this, the city has been fortunate in not having a direct hit by a hurricane since Hurricane Cleo in 1964. However, many other hurricanes have affected the city, including Betsy in 1965, Andrew in 1992, Irene in 1999, and Hurricanes Katrina and Wilma in 2005. In addition, a tropical depression in October 2000 passed over the city, causing record rainfall and flooding. Locally, the storm is credited as the No Name Storm of 2000, though the depression went on to become Tropical Storm Leslie upon entering the Atlantic Ocean. Miami has been identified as one of three cities in the United Statesmarker most vulnerable to hurricanes, mainly due to its location and it being surrounded by ocean and low-lying coastal plains, the other two cities being New Orleansmarker and New York Citymarker.

Surrounding areas


Miami is partitioned into many different sections, roughly into North, South, West and Downtown. The heart of the city is Downtown Miamimarker and is technically on the eastern side of the city. This area includes Brickellmarker, Virginia Keymarker, Watson Island, and the Port of Miamimarker. Downtown is South Floridamarker's central business district, and home of many major banks, financial headquarters, cultural and tourist attractions, and high-rise residential towers.

The southern side of Miami includes Coral Waymarker, The Roadsmarker and Coconut Grovemarker. Coral Way is a historic residential neighborhood built in 1922 connecting Downtown with Coral Gablesmarker, and is home to many old homes and tree-lined streets. Coconut Grove was established in 1825 and is the location of Miami's City Hall in Dinner Key, the Coconut Grove Playhousemarker, CocoWalkmarker, many nightclubs, bar, restaurants and bohemian shops, and as such, is very popular with local college students. It is a historic neighborhood with many parks and gardens such as Villa Vizcayamarker, The Kampong, The Barnacle Historic State Parkmarker, and home of the Coconut Grove Convention Center, many of the country's most prestigious private schools, and numerous historic homes and estates.

The western side of Miami includes Little Havanamarker, West Flagler, and Flagamimarker, and is home to many of the city's traditionally immigrant neighborhoods. Although at one time a mostly Jewish neighborhood, today western Miami is home to immigrants from mostly Central America and Cubamarker, while the west central neighborhood of Allapattahmarker is a multicultural community of many ethnicities.

The northern side of Miami includes Midtownmarker, a district with a great mix of diversity with many West Indiansmarker, Hispanics, bohemians, artists, and Whites. Edgewatermarker, and Wynwoodmarker, are neighborhoods of Midtown and are made up mostly of high-rise residential towers and are home to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Artsmarker. The wealthier residents usually live in the northeastern part, in Midtown, the Design Districtmarker, and the Upper East Sidemarker, with many sought after 1920s homes and home of the MiMo Historic District, a style of architecture originated in Miami in the 1950s. The northern side of Miami, also has notable African-American and Caribbean immigrant communities such as Little Haitimarker, Overtownmarker (home of the Lyric Theater), and Liberty Citymarker.


Entertainment and performing arts

Miami is home to many entertainment venues, theaters, museums, parks and performing arts centers. The newest addition to the Miami arts scene is the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Artsmarker, the second-largest performing arts center in the United States after the Lincoln Centermarker in New York City, and is the home of the Florida Grand Opera. Within it are the Ziff Ballet Opera House, the center's largest venue, the Knight Concert Hall, the Carnival Studio Theater and the Peacock Rehearsal Studio. The center attracts many large scale operas, ballets, concerts, and musicals from around the world and is Florida's grandest performing arts center. Other performing arts venues in Miami include the Gusman Center for the Performing Artsmarker, Coconut Grove Playhousemarker, Colony Theatre, Lincoln Theatre, New World Symphony House, Actor's Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, Jackie Gleason Theatre, Manuel Artime Theater, Ring Theatre, Playground Theatre, Wertheim Performing Arts Center, the Fair Expo Centermarker and the Bayfront Park Amphitheatermarker for outdoor music events.

The city is home to numerous museums as well, many of which are in Downtownmarker. These include the Bass Museummarker, Frost Art Museummarker, Historical Museum of Southern Florida, Jewish Museum of Floridamarker, Lowe Art Museummarker, Miami Art Museummarker, Miami Children's Museummarker, Miami Science Museummarker, Museum of Contemporary Artmarker, Vizcaya Museum and Gardensmarker, Wolfsonian-FIU Museummarker and the Miami Cultural Center, home of the Main Miami Library. Other popular cultural destinations in the area include Jungle Islandmarker, Miami MetroZoomarker, Miami Seaquariummarker, Coral Castlemarker, St. Bernard de Clairvaux Churchmarker, Charles Deering Estatemarker, and parks and gardens in and around the city; there are over 80 parks in Miami. The largest and most popular parks are Bayfront Parkmarker and Bicentennial Parkmarker (located in the heart of Downtown and the location of the American Airlines Arenamarker and Bayside Marketplacemarker), Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardenmarker, Tropical Park, Watson Islandmarker, Morningside Parkmarker and Key Biscaynemarker.

Miami is also a major fashion center, home to models and some of the top modeling agencies in the world. Miami is also host to many fashion shows and events, including the annual Miami Fashion Week and the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Miami held in the Wynwood Art Districtmarker.


Nightclubs in Downtown.
Miami music is varied. Cubans brought the conga and rumba to Miami from their homelands instantly popularizing it in American culture. Dominicans brought bachata, and merengue, while Colombians brought vallenato. West Indiansmarker and Caribbean peoplemarker have brought reggae, soca, kompa, zouk, calypso, and steel pan to the area as well.

In the early 1970s, the Miami disco sound came to life with TK Records, featuring the music of KC and the Sunshine Band, with such hits as "Get Down Tonight", "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" and "That's the Way (I Like It)"; and the Latin-American disco group, Foxy , with their hit singles "Get Off" and "Hot Number". Miami-area natives George McCrae and Teri DeSario were also popular music artists during the 1970s disco era. Miami-influenced, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, hit the popular music scene with their Cuban-oriented sound and had huge hits in the 1980s with "Conga" and "Bad Boys".

Miami is also considered a "hot spot" for dance music, Freestyle, a style of dance music popular in the 80's and 90's heavily influenced by Electro, hip-hop, and disco. Many popular Freestyle acts such as Pretty Tony, Debbie Deb, Stevie B, and Exposé, originated in Miami. Indie/folk acts Cat Power and Iron & Wine are based in the city, while alternative hip hop artist Sage Francis, electro artist Uffie, and the electroclash duo Avenue D were born in Miami, but musically based elsewhere. Also, punk band Against All Authority is from Miami, and rock/metal bands Nonpoint and Marilyn Manson each formed in neighboring Fort Lauderdale. Popular Cuban American female recording artist, Ana Cristina, was born in Miami in 1985, and became the first Hispanic person in history to perform the "Star Spangled Banner" at a presidential inauguration.

The 80's and 90's also brought the genre of high energy Miami Bass to dance floors and car subwoofers throughout the country. Miami Bass spawned artists like 2 Live Crew (featuring Uncle Luke), 95 South, Tag Team, 69 Boyz, Quad City DJ's, and Freak Nasty. Examples of these songs are "Whoomp! (There It Is)" by Tag Team in 1993, "Tootsee Roll" by 69 Boyz in 1994, and "C'mon N' Ride It (The Train)" by the Quad City DJ's in 1996. These songs all reached the top 10 in the pop charts and gave Miami Bass a new commercial success.

Miami is also home to a vibrant techno and dance scene and hosts the Winter Music Conference, the largest dance event in the world, Ultra Music Festival and many electronica music-themed celebrations and festivals. Along with neighboring Miami Beachmarker, Miami is home to some famous nightclubs, such as Spacemarker, Mansion, Parkwest, Ink, and Cameo. The city is known to be part of clubland, along with places such as Mykonosmarker, Ibizamarker and Ayia Napamarker.

There are also several rap and hip hop artists out of Miami. They include Trick Daddy, Trina, Pitbull, Jackie-O, Rick Ross, and legendary Miami Bass group, 2 Live Crew


Miami has one of the largest media market in the nation and the second highest in the state of Floridamarker. Miami has several major newspapers, the main and largest newspaper being The Miami Herald. El Nuevo Herald is the major and largest Spanish-language newspaper. Both The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald are Miami's and South Florida's main, major and largest newspapers and are both headquartered in Downtown Miamimarker in Herald Plaza. Other major newspapers include Miami Today, headquartered in Brickellmarker, Miami New Times, headquartered in Midtownmarker, Miami Sun Post, South Florida Business Journal, Miami Times, and Biscayne Boulevard Times. An additional Spanish-language newspapers, Diario Las Americas also serve Miami. The Miami Herald is Miami's primary newspaper with over a million readers and is headquartered in Downtown in Herald Plaza. Several other student newspapers from the local universities, such as Florida International Universitymarker's The Beacon, the University of Miamimarker's The Miami Hurricane, Miami-Dade College's The Metropolis, Barry University's The Buccaneer, amongst others. Many neighborhoods and neighboring areas also have their own local newspapers such as the Coral Gables Tribune, Biscayne Bay Tribune, and the Palmetto Bay News.

A number of magazines circulate throughout the greater Miami area, including Miami Monthly, Southeast Florida's only city/regional; Ocean Drive, a hot-spot social scene glossy, and South Florida Business Leader.

Miami is also the headquarters and main production city of many of the world's largest television networks, broadcasting companies and production facilities, such as Telemundo, TeleFutura, Mega TV, Univision, RCTV International and Sunbeam Television.

Miami is the twelfth largest radio market and the seventeenth largest television market in the United States. Television stations serving the Miami area include: WAMImarker (Telefutura), WBFSmarker (My Network TV), WSFLmarker (The CW), WFORmarker (CBS), WHFTmarker (TBN), WLTVmarker (Univision), WPLGmarker (ABC), WPXMmarker (ION), WSCVmarker (Telemundo), WSVNmarker (Fox), WTVJmarker (NBC), WPBTmarker (PBS), and WLRNmarker (also PBS).


In Miami and other areas in Miami-Dade Countymarker, a unique accent is widely spoken, called the "Miami accent." Although it is very similar to accents spoken in the Northeast, it contains a rhythm and pronunciation heavily influenced by Spanish language. The Miami accent is not to get confused with Spanish-accented English, because the Miamians who are not Latino, or do not speak Spanish, speak with the Miami accent as well, including Black and White Miamians. Although commonly spoken by those born and raised in Miami or other areas in Miami-Dade County, it can also be acquired by those who move to the area. However, like most accents, the accent is acquired in most areas but not all, which is why not all Miamians speak with the Miami accent.


Miami is home to many major professional sports teams. The Miami Dolphins, the NFL team, Miami Heat, the NBA team, Florida Marlins, the MLB team, and the Florida Panthers, Miami's NHL team. As well as having all four major professional teams, Miami is home to many other sports teams and activities such as Miami FC, Miami Tropics, for soccer the Sony Ericsson Openmarker for professional tennis, numerous greyhound racing tracks, marinas, Jai-Alai venues, and golf courses.

The Miami Heat is the only major professional sports team that plays its games within Miami's city limits at the American Airlines Arenamarker. The team recently won the 2006 NBA Finals, winning the series 4-2 over the Dallas Mavericks. The Miami Dolphins and the Florida Marlins both play their games in Miami Gardensmarker. The Orange Bowl, a member of the Bowl Championship Series, hosts their college football championship games at LandShark Stadiummarker. The stadium has also hosted the Super Bowl; the Miami metro area has hosted the game a total of nine times (four Super Bowls in Dolphin Stadium, including Super Bowl XLI and five at the Miami Orange Bowlmarker), tying New Orleansmarker for the most games.

Miami FC, Florida's only professional soccer team, plays at Tropical Park Stadiummarker. Miami signed world-famed soccer player Romario in March 2006 to a one year deal. The Florida Panthers NHL team plays in neighboring Broward County, Florida at the BankAtlantic Centermarker in the city of Sunrisemarker. Miami is also home to Paso Fino horses, where competitions are held at Tropical Park Equestrian Center.

Miami is also the home of many college sports teams. The two largest are the Florida International Universitymarker Golden Panthers whose football team plays at FIU Stadiummarker and the University of Miami Hurricanes, whose football team formerly played at the Miami Orange Bowlmarker, but moved to LandShark Stadiummarker starting with the 2008 season.

A number of defunct teams were located in Miami, including the Miami Floridians (ABA), Miami Matadors (ECHL), Miami Manatees (WHA2), Miami Gatos (NASL), Miami Screaming Eagles (WHA), Miami Seahawks (AAFC), Miami Sol (WNBA), Miami Toros (NASL), Miami Tropics (SFL), Miami Tropics (ABA), and the Miami Hooters (Arena Football League). The Miami Fusion, a defunct Major League Soccer team played at Lockhart Stadiummarker in nearby Broward County.

Miami professional sports teams
Club Sport League Venue League Championships
Miami Dolphins Football National Football League LandShark Stadiummarker Super Bowl (2)

Florida Panthers Hockey National Hockey League BankAtlantic Centermarker none
Miami Heat Basketball National Basketball Association American Airlines Arenamarker NBA Finals (1)

Florida Marlins Baseball Major League Baseball; NL LandShark Stadiummarker World Series (2)

Miami FC Soccer United Soccer League First Division Tropical Park Stadiummarker none

Miami college sports teams
College / Athletics Football Football

Basketball Basketball

Conference National Championships

(Most Recent)
FIUmarker Golden Panthers FIU football FIU Stadiummarker FIU basketball U.S.marker Century Bank Arenamarker Sun Belt Conference 4 (1984 - Men's Soccer)
Miamimarker Hurricanes Miami football LandShark Stadiummarker Miami basketball BankUnited Centermarker Atlantic Coast Conference 30 (2001 - Football & Baseball)
Barry Buccaneers - - Barry basketball Health & Sports Center Sunshine State Conference 7 (2007 - Men's Golf)
NSU Sharks - - NSU basketball Don Taft UC Arena Sunshine State Conference 11 (2009 - Women's Golf & Women's Rowing)


Miami is one of the country's most important financial centers. It is a major center of commerce, finances, corporate headquarters, and boasts a strong international business community. According to the ranking of world cities undertaken by the Globalization and World Cities Study Group & Network (GaWC) and based on the level of presence of global corporate service organizations, Miami is considered a "beta world city".

Several large companies are headquartered in or around Miami, including but not limited to: Alienware, Arquitectonica, Arrow Air, Bacardi, Benihana, Brightstar Corporation, Burger King, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Lines, CompUSA, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Espírito Santo Financial Group,, Greenberg Traurig, Interval International, Lennar, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Perry Ellis International, RCTV International, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Ryder Systems, Seabourn Cruise Line, Telefónica USA, TeleFutura, Telemundo, Univision, U.S. Century Bank, and World Fuel Services. Because of its proximity to Latin America, Miami serves as the headquarters of Latin American operations for more than 1400 multinational corporations, including AIG, American Airlines, Cisco, Disney, Exxon, FedEx, Kraft Foods, Microsoft, Oracle, SBC Communications, Sony, and Visa International.

Miami International Airportmarker and the Port of Miamimarker are among the nation's busiest ports of entry, especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean. Additionally, Downtown has the largest concentration of international banks in the country located mostly in Brickellmarker, Miami's financial district. Miami was also the host city of the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas negotiations, and is one of the leading candidates to become the trading bloc's headquarters.
Tourism is also an important industry in Miami. The beaches, conventions, festivals and events draw over 12 million visitors annually from across the country and around the world, spending $17.1 billion. The historical Art Deco district in South Beach, is widely regarded as one of the most glamorous in the world for its world-famous nightclubs, beaches, historical buildings, and shopping. However, it is important to note that Miami Beach is a separate city from the City of Miami.

Miami is the home to the National Hurricane Center and the headquarters of the United States Southern Command, responsible for military operations in Central and South America. In addition to these roles, Miami is also an industrial center, especially for stone quarrying and warehousing.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2004, Miami had the third highest incidence of family incomes below the federal poverty line in the United States, making it the third poorest city in the USA, behind only Detroit, Michiganmarker (ranked #1) and El Paso, Texasmarker (ranked #2.) Miami is also one of the very few cities where its local government went bankrupt, in 2001.

In 2005, the Miami area witnessed its largest real estate boom since the 1920s. Midtownmarker, having well over a hundred approved construction projects, is an example of this. As of 2007, however, the housing market has crashed and more than 23,000 condos are for sale and/or foreclosed. The Miami area ranks 8th in the nation in foreclosures.


Miami population
Year City


1900 1,681 N/A
1910 5,471 N/A
1920 29,549 66,542
1930 110,637 214,830
1940 172,172 387,522
1950 249,276 693,705
1960 291,688 1,497,099
1970 334,859 2,236,645
1980 346,865 3,220,844
1990 358,548 4,056,100
2000 362,470 5,007,564
2007 424,662 5,413,212

Miami is the 43rd most populous city in the U.S. The Miami metropolitan areamarker, which includes Miami-Dademarker, Browardmarker and Palm Beachmarker counties, had a combined population of more than 5.4 million people, ranked fourth-largest in the United States, (behind Chicago, Illinoismarker), and is the largest metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States. As of 2008, the United Nations estimates that the Miami Urban Agglomeration is the fourth-largest in the United States, and the 44th-largest in the world. As of the census of 2000, there were 362,470 people, 134,198 households, and 83,336 families residing in the city. The population density was 10,160.9/mi² (3,923.5/km2). There were 148,388 housing units at an average density of 4,159.7/mi² (1,606.2/km2).

The racial makeup of the city proper is as follows:

A map of Miami from 1955.

As of 2000, in terms of national origin and/or ethnic origin, 34.1% of the populace was Cubanmarker, while 5.6% of the city's population was Nicaraguanmarker, 5.5% of the population was Haitianmarker, 3.3% of the population was Honduranmarker, 1.7% of all residents were Dominicanmarker, and 1.6% of the population was Colombianmarker. In 2004, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) ranked Miami first in terms of percentage of residents born outside of the country it is located in (59%), followed by Torontomarker (50%).

There were 134,198 households out of which 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 18.7% have a female head of household with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.25. The age distribution was 21.7% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,483, and the median income for a family was $27,225. Males had a median income of $24,090 versus $20,115 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,128. About 23.5% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.2% of those under age 18 and 29.3% of those age 65 or over.

Miami's explosive population growth in recent years has been driven by internal migration from other parts of the country as well as by immigration. Miami is regarded as more of a multicultural mosaic, than it is a melting pot, with residents still maintaining much of, or some of their cultural traits. The overall culture of Miami is heavily influenced by its large population of Latinos, and Blacks, mainly from the Caribbean, from islands such as Jamaicamarker, Haitimarker, Trinidad and Tobagomarker, and The Bahamasmarker.

Today, the Miami areamarker has a sizable community of citizens, undocumented populations, and permanent residents, of Argentinesmarker, Bahamians, Brazilians, Canadiansmarker, Chileansmarker, Chinese, Colombiansmarker, Cubansmarker, Dominicansmarker, Ecuadoransmarker, French, Germans, Greeks, Guatemalansmarker, Guayanesemarker, Haitiansmarker, Honduransmarker, Jamaicansmarker, Indians, Italians, Mexicansmarker, Nicaraguansmarker, Peruviansmarker, Russians, Salvadoran, Spanish, Trinidadians and Tobagoniansmarker, Turks, South Africans, and Venezuelansmarker, as well as a sizable Puerto Rican population throughout the metropolitan area. While commonly thought of as mainly a city of Hispanic and Caribbean immigrants, the Miami area is home to large French, French Canadian, German, Italian, and Russian communities. The communities have grown to a prominent place in Miami and its suburbs, creating ethnic enclave neighborhoods such as Little Haitimarker, Little Havanamarker, Little Managuamarker, Little Brazilmarker, Little Moscowmarker, and Little San Juanmarker.


As of 2000, speakers of Spanish as their first language accounted for 66.75% of residents, while English was spoken by 25.45%, Haitian Creole by 5.20%, and French speakers comprised 0.76% of the population.Other languages that were spoken throughout the city include Portuguese at 0.41%, German at 0.18%, Italian at 0.16%, Arabic at 0.15%, Chinese at 0.11%, and Greek at 0.08% of the population. Miami also has one of the largest percentage populations in the U.S. that have residents who speak first languages other than English at home (74.55%).


The government of the City of Miami, Florida, uses the mayor-city commissioner system. The city commission consists of five commissioners, are elected from single member districts. The city commission constitutes the governing body with powers to pass ordinances adopt regulations and exercise all powers conferred upon the city in the city charter.The mayor is elected at large and appoints a city manager. The City of Miami is governed by Mayor Manny Diaz and 5 City commissioners which oversee the five districts in the City. It holds regular meetings in the City Hall of Miami located in 3500 Pan American Drive Miami, Florida 33133 in the neighborhood of Coconut Grovemarker.

City council

  • Manuel A. Diaz - Mayor of the City of Miami, first elected in 2001 and re-elected to a second term in 2006.
  • Angel Gonzalez - City of Miami Commissioner, District 1
  • Marc Sarnoff - City of Miami Commissioner, District 2
  • Joe M. Sanchez - City of Miami Commissioner, District 3
  • Tomas P. Regalado - City of Miami Commissioner, District 4
  • Michelle Spence-Jones - City of Miami Commissioner, District 5

City management


Public schools

Public schools in Miami are governed by Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which is the largest school district in Florida and the fourth-largest in the United States. As of September 2008 it has a student enrollment of 385,655 and over 392 schools and centers. The district is also the largest minority public school system in the country, with 60% of its students being of Hispanic origin, 28% African American, 10% White and 2% non-white of other minorities. Miami is home to some of the nation's best high schools, such as Design and Architecture High School, ranked the nation's best magnet school, MAST Academy, Coral Reef High School, ranked 20th-best public high school in the U.S., Miami Palmetto High School, and the New World School of the Arts. M-DCPS is also one of a few public school districts in the United States to offer optional bilingual education.

Private schools

Miami is home to several prestigious Roman Catholic, Jewish and non-denominational private schools. The Archdiocese of Miamimarker operates the city's Catholic private schools, which include: Our Lady of Lourdes Academymarker, St. Hugh Catholic School, St. Agatha Catholic School, St. Theresa Schoolmarker, La Salle High School, Monsignor Edward Pace High Schoolmarker, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heartmarker, Christopher Columbus High School, Archbishop Curley-Notre Dame High Schoolmarker, St. Brendan High Schoolmarker, amongst numerous other elementary and high schools. Some of the most well-known non-denominational private schools in Miami are Ransom Everglades, Gulliver Preparatory School, and Miami Country Day School, which are traditionally known as some of the country's best schools. Other schools in the outlying areas include Belen Jesuit Preparatory Schoolmarker and Samuel Scheck Hillel Community Day School.

Colleges and universities

(List includes institutions in and around Miami.)

The city ranks second-to-last in people over 18 with a high school diploma, with 47% of the population not having that degree.



Miami International Airportmarker, located in an unincorporated area in the county, serves as the primary international airport of the Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world, Miami International Airport caters to over 35 million passengers a year. Identifiable locally, as well as several worldwide authorities, as MIA or KMIA, the airport is a major hub and the single largest international gateway for American Airlines, the world's largest passenger air carrier. Miami International is the United States' third largest international port of entry for foreign air passengers (behind New York's John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker and Los Angeles International Airportmarker), and is the seventh largest such gateway in the world. The airport's extensive international route network includes non-stop flights to over seventy international cities in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Alternatively, nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airportmarker also serves commercial traffic in the Miami area. Opa-Locka Airportmarker in Opa-Lockamarker and Kendall-Tamiami Airportmarker in an unincorporated area serve general aviation traffic in the Miami area.

Port of Miami

Miami is home to one of the largest ports in the United States, the Port of Miamimarker. It is the largest cruise ship port in the world. The port is often called the "Cruise Capital of the World" and the "Cargo Gateway of the Americas". It has retained its status as the number one cruise/passenger port in the world for well over a decade accommodating the largest cruise ships and the major cruise lines. In 2007, the port served 3,787,410 passengers. Additionally, the port is one of the nation's busiest cargo ports, importing 7.8 million tons of cargo in 2007. Among North American ports, it ranks second only to the Port of South Louisiana in New Orleansmarker in terms of cargo tonnage imported/exported from Latin America. The port is on and has 7 passenger terminals. China is the port's number one import country, and Hondurasmarker is the number one export country. Miami has the world's largest amount of cruise line headquarters, home to: Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, and Windjammer Barefoot Cruises.

Public transportation

Public transportation in Miami is operated by Miami-Dade Transit and SFRTA, and includes commuter rail (Tri-Rail), heavy-rail rapid transit (Metrorail), an elevated people mover (Metromover), and buses (Metrobus). Miami has Florida's highest transit ridership as about 17% of Miami's population uses transit on a daily basis.

Miami's heavy-rail rapid transit system, Metrorail, is an elevated system comprising 22 stations on a 22-mile (36-km)-long line. Metrorail runs from the western suburbs of Hialeahmarker and Medleymarker through the Civic Center, Downtownmarker, Coconut Grovemarker, Coral Gablesmarker and ends in the southern suburb of Pinecrestmarker; construction on a direct rapid transit connection to Miami International Airportmarker began in 2009 with expected passenger service beginning in 2012. A free, elevated people mover, Metromover, operates 21 stations on three different lines in Downtownmarker, with a station at roughly every two blocks of Downtown and Brickellmarker. Several expansion projects are being funded by a transit development sales tax surcharge throughout Miami-Dade County.

Tri-Rail, a commuter rail system operated by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, runs from Miami International Airportmarker northward to West Palm Beachmarker, making eighteen stops throughout Miami-Dademarker, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

Construction is currently underway on the Miami Intermodal Center and Miami Central Stationmarker, a massive transportation hub servicing Metrorail, Amtrak, Tri-Rail, Metrobus, taxis, rental cars, MIA People Mover, private automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians adjacent to Miami International Airport. Completion of the Miami Intermodal Center is expected to be completed by 2010, and will serve over 150,000 commuters and travelers in the Miami area. Phase I of Miami Central Station is scheduled to be completed in June 2010, and Phase II in 2011.

Two new light rail systems, Baylink and the Miami Streetcar, have been proposed and are currently in the planning stage. BayLink would connect Downtownmarker with South Beach, and the Miami Streetcar would connect Downtown with Midtownmarker.

Road and rail

Miami is the southern terminus of Amtrak's Atlantic Coast services, with its final station located in the suburb of Hialeah.

Miami-Dade County is served by four Interstate Highways (I-75, I-95, I-195, I-395) and several U.S. Highways including U.S. Route 1, U.S. Route 27, U.S. Route 41, and U.S. Route 441.For information on the street grid, see Miami-Dade County, Florida#Street grid.Some of the major Florida State Roads (and their common names) serving the county are:

In 2007, Miami was identified as having the rudest drivers in the United States, the second year in a row to have been cited, in a poll commissioned by automobile club AutoVantage. Miami is also consistently ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for pedestrians.


In recent years, the city government under Mayor Manny Diaz, has taken an ambitious stance in support of bicycling in Miami for both recreation and commuting. Every month, the city hosts "Bike Miami", where major streets in Downtown and Brickell are closed to automobiles, and left open for pedestrians and bicyclists. The event began in November 2008, and has doubled in popularity from 1,500 participants to about 3,000 in the October 2009 Bike Miami. This is the longest running such event in the U.S. In October 2009, the city also approved an extensive 20-year plan for bike routes and paths around the city. The city has begun construction of bike routes as of late 2009, and ordinances requiring bike parking in all future construction is under consideration.

In popular culture

Many television shows have been set or are filmed in Miami. The controversial Emmy winning drama Nip/Tuck, CBS's CSI: Miami, and Showtime's Dexter all take place in Miami. The Jackie Gleason Show was taped in Miami Beachmarker from 1964 to 1970. The NBC show Good Morning, Miami was fictionally based around the workings of a Miami television station. The popular sitcoms The Golden Girls and Empty Nest were based in Miami. Miami Vice was also based and filmed in the Miami area. Keeping with its modern music tradition, the city has recently hosted the 2004 and 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. Other music award shows to be hosted in Miami, are the Latin Grammys in 2003 and Lo Nuestro Awards in 2006. USA Network's hit show Burn Notice is set and filmed on location in Miami and throughout South Florida.

In the mid-2000s, Miami started to become a popular backdrop for reality television shows. Reality programming set in the city include the TLC show Miami Ink; Discovery Channel's After Dark; Animal Planet's Miami Animal Police; MTV's 8th & Ocean, Making Menudo, the fourth season of Making the Band, Room Raiders; The Real World: Miami, and The X Effect; VH1's Hogan Knows Best and its spin-off Brooke Knows Best; TruTV's Bounty Girls: Miami; A&E's The First 48; E!'s Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami, Bravo's Miami Social, and the third season of Bravo's Top Chef.

The video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which became one of the best selling video games in history, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, take place in Vice City, a fictional city inspired by Miami, including some of the same architecture and geography. There are also characters in the game who speak Haitian Creole and Spanish.
Miami has acted as the backdrop for many movies, including There's Something About Mary, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Wild Things, Marley & Me, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Out of Time, Bad Boys & Bad Boys II, Transporter 2, The Birdcage, The Substitute, Blow, True Lies, Police Academy 5, Reno 911!: Miami, Quick Pick, Miami Vice (based on the 1980s television series of the same name), Red Eye, The Bodyguard, Any Given Sunday, Cocaine Cowboys, Scarface, Miami Blues, and the James Bond films Goldfinger, Thunderball,and Casino Royale.

Miami is a center for Latin television and film production. As a result, many Spanish-language programs are filmed in the many television production studios, predominantly in Hialeahmarker and Doralmarker. This includes gameshows, variety shows, news programs, and telenovelas. Arguably, the most famous Miami-filmed programs are Sábado Gigante, a Saturday night variety show seen throughout the United States, South America and Europe, and the daytime talk shows Cristinaand El Gordo y la Flaca. Country singer, the late Keith Whitley (1955-1989), sang a song called, "Miami, My Amy", obviously about a special woman from Miami, one of his biggest hits to this day.

Sister cities

See also


  1. List of Urbanized Areas - accessed July 16, 2008
  2. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2007 Revision Population Database - accessed August 7, 2008
  3. " Calculated Average Height of the Ten Tallest (CAHTT)", Retrieved on 2009-08-24.
  4. "The Day in St. Augustine — The Hack Line to Biscayne Bay", The Florida Times-Union, 1893-01-10. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  5. "A Trip to Biscayne Bay", The Tropical Sun, 1893-03-09. Retrieved on 2006-01-22.
  6. Interview: Cat Power. Pitchfork Media (2006-11-13). Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  7. Miami: High rise buildings–All. Emporis. Retrieved on 2007-08-25.
  8. " Southwest Airlines Cities." Southwest Airlines. Retrieved October 30, 2008.

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