Miami at a Glance

Known as the major international trading hub of the Americas, Greater Miami\'s business community, people, neighborhoods, schools and architecture all exhibit a cosmopolitan character. The proximity of the Caribbean, Central and South America plus superior seaport and airport capabilities provide this area with a distinct advantage as a global trading center. Long acclaimed for its physical beauty and advantageous climate, Greater Miami also continues as a prime tourist destination.

Greater Miami includes all of Dade County, an area of more than 2,000 square miles. Residents and visitors enjoy plentiful green space and 84 miles of coastline. Skirting the southeastern shoreline is Biscayne National Park, an 181,500-acre marine area that includes Biscayne Bay and 44 keys (islands). Everglades National Park occupies 695,310 acres of marshes, mangroves and hammocks in the southwestern quadrant and is one of the largest and most fascinating wilderness preserves in the nation. Currently 2.06 million residents live in Greater Miami. Of that number, more than one million reside in unincorporated Dade County with the balance residing in the county\'s 29 municipalities. The City of Miami is the largest with a population of nearly 400,000, followed by Hialeah, Miami Beach, North Miami and Coral Gables.

Hispanics represent 50 percent of Greater Miami\'s total population and blacks account for 20 percent. The single largest age group, ages 25 to 44, makes up 31 percent of the population.

Throughout the past decade, Greater Miami\'s work force has grown younger and more culturally diverse. This work force is particularly well suited to employment in today\'s internationally oriented industries.


Good business opportunities keep people coming to Greater Miami. The community holds firm to its commitment to providing a strong foundation for steady economic growth, job creation and development, and strengthening international trade opportunities. The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce spearheaded many of the dynamic programs underway today, including One Community One Goal: Creating Jobs for the 21st Century, and will remain at the forefront in generating ideas and excitement for building a better and brighter future.

Economic development flourishes in Miami-Dade County, with the services, trade, manufacturing, real estate and construction sectors showing the strongest potential. Most have taken on a decidedly global focus, with international commerce challenging to become the region\'s top industry.

Exports and imports through the Miami Customs District, mainly with Latin America, reached over $47 billion in 1997. Top export trading partners included Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Argentina. Total cargo tonnage for 1997, as reported by the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department, totaled 1.9 million, while over 34.5 million passengers were registered through Miami International Airport. The
Miami-Dade County Seaport reported 7 million in cargo tonnage and over 3.2 million passengers passing through the Port of Miami in 1997. Continued trends by national and multinational corporations to seek operations in Greater Miami to serve Latin America and the Caribbean indicate an advantageous business environment.

One of the most valuable assets for international trade, the Miami Free Zone, is a Greater Miami pioneer. Under a license granted in 1977, the Greater Miami Chamber contracted with the Miami Free Zone Corporation to open the first privately-owned and operated foreign-trade zone in the world. Since 1979, the Miami Free Zone has processed more than $15.8 billion of goods. Located on 47 acres, the Zone\'s 846,000 square foot, modern, high-security warehouse and office complex is conveniently situated just west of Miami International Airport. Hewlett-Packard Company\'s Miami facilities were approved for special purpose sub zone status by the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1997. The two facilities are expected to employ approximately 240 people with a total annual payroll of $5.5 million. This is the first sub zone facility for Miami, Foreign Trade Zone #32, and South Florida. The Miami Free Zone is the recipient of the prestigious "E" Award for Excellence from the U.S. Department of Commerce, a testimony to the value and service the Zone provides to its nearly 200 major international trade clients. It is one of the driving forces in Greater Miami\'s emergence as a global trade center.

In 1997, the Greater Miami Chamber joined Enterprise Florida, a public/private entity established to guide Florida\'s economic development, to organize an export program for service businesses. Now underway, the Business Service Export Program is designed to promote Florida\'s business services worldwide.

Reports indicate that