Miami is a city located in southeast Florida
in Miami-Dade County on the Miami River, between the Florida
Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean, in the United States.
It is the county seat of Miami-Dade County, as
well as its largest city. As of the 2000 census, the city proper
had a total population of 362,470.
The city is one of many jurisdictions that comprise
the continuously-developed metropolis of Greater Miami, which is
overseen by the metropolitan government of Miami-Dade County. Municipalities
in the conburbation include Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, North Bay
Village, Sunny Isles, North Miami Beach, Aventura, North Miami,
Opa-Locka, Miami Lakes, Hialeah, Medley, Miami Springs, Westchester
(unincorporated), West Miami, Kendall (unincorporated), Pinecrest,
Key Biscayne, Coral Gables, Islandia, Sweetwater, Homestead, and
Miami Shores. Together they make Miami-Dade County, the most populous
county in the state (est. 2000 Census 2,253,362). A more exhaustive
list of municipalities and neighbhorhoods appears under Miami-Dade
When Miami was officially incorporated as a city
on July 28, 1896, it had a population of just over 300. Today, a
combined 2.2 million inhabitants living in the City and the surrounding
urbanized area, in addition to the 1.6 million of neighboring Broward
County and 1.1 million of Palm Beach County form the South Florida
metropolitan area, the largest urbanized area in the state.
This explosive population growth has been driven
by internal migration from other parts of the country, especially
the U.S. Northeast, as well as by immigration, especially in more
recent years. Today, Greater Miami is regarded as a cultural melting
pot, touched by its diverse populations, the majority of whom originate
from Latin America and the Caribbean. Partially due to its Romance-friendly
linguistic nature, it has also attracted a fair amount of Latin
The region's importance as an international financial
and cultural center has elevated Miami in the eyes of many to world
Three vessels of the U.S. Navy have been named USS
Miami in honor of the city.
Miami is located at 25°47'16" North, 80°13'27" West
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city proper has a total area of
143.1 km² (55.3 mi²). 92.4 km² (35.7 mi²) of
it is land and 50.7 km² (19.6 mi²) of it is water. The
total area is 35.44% water.
The name "Miami" comes from a Native American word for "sweet
water". The area was a concentration of water because the Miami
River is essentially a funnel for water from the Everglades to the
Native Americans are known
to have settled in the Miami region for about 10,000 years. Its
most noteworthy early inhabitants were the Tequesta people, who
controlled an empire covering most of South Florida.
Although Ponce de Leon attempted to settle the area
in the early 1500s, his men could not defend the territory against
the natives, so they kept to the more sparsely populated north.
For most of the colonial period, Miami was only briefly visited
by traveling Europeans when it was visited at all.
Miami was still largely uninhabited in the late 1800s, even following
the 1857 cessation of hostilities with the Seminole tribe (the only
Native American tribe to never officially surrender or sign a treaty
with the U.S. government). In 1891 , a woman named Julia Tuttle
purchased an enormous citrus plantation in the area. She initially
pressured railroad magnate Henry Flagler to expand his rail line,
the Florida East Coast Railroad southward to the area.
In 1894, however, Florida was struck by a terrible
winter that destroyed virtually all of the citrus crop in the northern
half of the state. Fortunately, unlike the rest of the state, Miami
was unaffected, and Tuttle's citrus became the only citrus on the
market that year. She wrote to Flagler again, persuading him to
visit the area and see it for himself: he did so, and concluded
at the end of his first day that the area was ripe for expansion.
On July 28, 1896, the City of Miami was incorporated
with 344 citizens (243 of which were identified as white and 181
Miami's growth up to World War II was astronomical:
During the early 1920s, the authorities in Miami
allowed gambling and were very lax in regulating Prohibition , and
so thousands of people migrated from the northern United States
to the Miami region, creating a construction boom and building a
skyline of high-rise buildings where none had existed before. Some
early developments had to be razed ten years after their initial
construction to make way for even larger buildings. A catastrophic
hurricane in 1927, followed by the Great Depression, ended this
In the mid-1930s, the Art Deco district of Miami
Beach was developed.
During World War II , the U.S. government constructed
many training, supply, and communications facilities around Miami,
taking advantage of its strategic location at the southeastern corner
of the country. Many servicemen and women returned to Miami after
the war, pushing the population up to half a million by 1950.
The 1950s saw Miami transformed by its neighbor to the south, Cuba.
Mobsters were drawn to the city because of its proximity to the
organized crime paradise of Batista-era Havana.
Following the 1959 coup that unseated Fulgencio Batista
and brought Fidel Castro to power, Cuban exiles began travelling
to Florida en masse. In 1965 alone, 100,000 Cubans packed into the
twice-daily "freedom flights" between Havana and Miami.
Later, the Mariel Boatlift brought 150,000 Cubans to Miami in a
single flotilla, the largest in civilian history.
The city, for the most part, welcomed the Cuban exiles.
Little Havana emerged as a predominantly Spanish-speaking community,
and Spanish speakers elsewhere in the city could conduct most of
their daily business in their native tongue.
The Cuban inflow slowed down in the 1980s, and was
largely replaced by refugees from Haiti. As the Haitian population
grew, the area known today as Little Haiti emerged, centered around
Northeast Second Avenue and 54th Street. Additionally, into the
1990s, the presence of Haitians was acknowledge with Haitian Creole
language signs in public places and ballots during voting. However,
because Haiti was not under communist leadership, the U.S. government
later under the Clinton administration created and implemented the
Wet Foot-Dry Foot Policy, which not as willing to grant residency
to many Haitians seeking political asylum.
Since then, the Latin and Caribbean-friendly atmosphere
in Miami has made it a popular destination for tourists and immigrants
from all over the world, and the third-biggest immigration port
in the country after New York City and Los Angeles
Today there are sizable populations of Argentinians,
Bahamians, Bajans, Brazilians, Colombians, Cubans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians,
Haitians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, Nicaraguans, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans,
Salvadorians, and Venezuelans throughout the metropolitan area.
In the 1980s, Miami became the United States' largest transshipment
point for drugs from Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. Again, geography
played a major role: Miami was the closest U.S. port to the point
of origin, so it was the most logical destination for smugglers.
The drug industry brought billions of dollars into
Miami, which were quickly funneled through dummy businesses and
into the local economy. Luxury car dealerships, five-star hotels,
condominium developments, swanky nightclubs, and other signs of
prosperity began rising all over the city. As the money arrived,
so did a violent crime wave that lasted through the early 1990s
and that has only begun to die down in the 21st century.
The popular television program Miami Vice, which
dealt with counter-narcotics agents in an idyllic upper-class rendition
of Miami, spread the city's image as America's most glamorous tropical
paradise. This image began to draw the entertainment industry to
Miami, and the city remains a hub of fashion, filmmaking, and music.
In the 1990s, various crises struck South Florida:
tourist shootings, Hurricane Andrew, the Elián González
uproar, and, most recently, the controversial 2003 FTAA negotiations.
Because of its proximity to Latin America, Miami serves as the headquarters
of Latin American operations for many multinational corporations,
including American Airlines, Cisco, Disney, Exxon, FedEx, Microsoft,
Oracle, SBC Communications and Sony. Miami International Airport
and the Port of Miami are among the nation's busiest ports of entry,
especially for cargo from South America and the Caribbean. Additionally,
downtown Miami has the largest concentration of international banks
in the country. 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: the beaches
of Greater Miami draw visitors from across the country and around
the world, and the Art Deco nightclub district in South Beach (located
in Miami Beach) is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.
In addition to these roles, Miami is also an industrial
center, especially for stone quarrying and warehousing.
Several large companies are headquartered in or around
Miami, including Burger King, Norwegian Cruise Line, Ryder System,
Miami's main international hub is Miami International Airport, which
is one of the busiest international airports in the world, serving
over 35 million passengers every year. It is a major hub for American
Airlines and is served by many international carriers.
The main seaport, The Port of Miami, is the largest
cruise ship port in the world, serving over 18 million passengers
per year. Additionally, the port one of the busiest cargo ports,
importing nearly ten million tons of cargo annually.
Miami is connected to Amtrak's Atlantic Coast services.
Local public transportation includes Metrobus and
Metrorail, a metro rapid transit system (both operated by Miami-Dade
Transit). Furthermore, Tri-Rail, a commuter rail system, connects
the major cities and airports of the South Florida metropolitan
As of the census of 2000, there are 362,470 people, 134,198 households,
and 83,336 families residing in the city. The population density
is 3,923.5/km² (10,160.9/mi²). There are 148,388 housing
units at an average density of 1,606.2/km² (4,159.7/mi²).
The racial makeup of the city is 66.62% White, 22.31% African American,
0.22% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 5.42%
from other races, and 4.74% from two or more races. 65.76% of the
population are Latino of any race.
There are 134,198 households out of which 26.3% have
children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married
couples living together, 18.7% have a female householder with no
husband present, and 37.9% are non-families. 30.4% of all households
are made up of individuals and 12.5% have someone living alone who
is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61
and the average family size is 3.25.
In the city the population is spread out with 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median
age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 98.9 males. For
every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 97.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is
$23,483, and the median income for a family is $27,225. Males have
a median income of $24,090 versus $20,115 for females. The per capita
income for the city is $15,128. 28.5% of the population and 23.5%
of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population,
38.2% of those under the age of 18 and 29.3% of those 65 and older
are living below the poverty line.
Click Here to Miami Schools, Colleges and Universities
Miami Sports teams
Marlins (MLB) (NL) (Pro Player Stadium)
Dolphins (NFL) (Pro Player Stadium)
Heat (NBA) (American Airlines Arena)
Panthers (NHL) (Office Depot Center)
Miami Sol (WNBA) (American Airlines Arena)
The Florida Panthers NHL team plays at the Office Depot Center in
neighboring Broward County, Florida. The Miami Fusion, a defunct
Major League Soccer team played at Lockhart Stadium, also in Broward.
Miami is also the site of the
Orange Bowl, an annual collegiate football championship
played at Pro Player Stadium. The city has hosted the Super Bowl
several times. There are also two well-known but largely disused
sporting venues in Miami: Miami Arena and the Orange
Click Here to Miami Attractions and Tourism
Miami in television and film
2 Fast 2 Furious
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
All About the Benjamins
Any Given Sunday
Making Mr. Right
Revenge of the Nerds 2
There's Something About Mary
The video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City takes place in a fictional
city very inspired by Miami, including some of the same architecture
- Famous Miami natives
- Steve Carlton, baseball player
- Bob Graham, U.S. Senator and former governor of
- Sidney Poitier, Academy Award-winning actor
- Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney General
- Steve Spurrier, former UF Gators football coach
- Ben Vereen, actor
- Marion Williams, gospel singer
Notable Nonnative Residents
- Anita Bryant, singer and anti-gay crusader
- Gloria Estefan
- Gérard Latortue, Prime Minister of Haiti
- Carl Hiaasen, notable contemporary novelist and
- Herald writer originally from Plantation, Florida
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas, famous conservationist
and writer of fiction and non-fiction