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Miami-Dade County, Florida
Seal of Miami-Dade County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Miami-Dade County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the USA highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded January 18, 1836
Seat Miami
Largest City Miami
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

2,431 sq mi (6,296 km²)
1,898 sq mi (4,916 km²)
533 sq mi (1,380 km²),
 - (2015)
 - Density

1,378.9/sq mi (532/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: Francis L. Dade
County flag Flag of Miami-Dade County, Florida
County logo Logo of Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County (formerly Dade County) is an American county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the southeasternmost county on the U.S. mainland. According to a 2015 census report, the county had a population of 2,693,117, making it the most populous county in Florida and the seventh-most populous county in the United States. It is also Florida's third-largest county in terms of land area, with 1,946 square miles (5,040 km2). The county seat is Miami.

Miami-Dade County is included in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The county is home to 34 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. The northern, central and eastern portions of the county are heavily urbanized with many high rises up the coastline, as well as the location of South Florida's central business district, Downtown Miami. Southern Miami-Dade County includes the Redland and Homestead areas, which make up the agricultural economy of Miami. Agricultural Redland makes up roughly one third of Miami-Dade County's inhabited land area, and is sparsely populated, a stark contrast to the densely populated, urban northern Miami-Dade County. The western portion of the county extends into the Everglades National Park and is populated only by a Miccosukee tribal village. East of the mainland in Biscayne Bay is also Biscayne National Park and the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserves.


Native peoples

The earliest evidence of Native American settlement in the Miami region came from about 12,000 years ago. The first inhabitants settled on the banks of the Miami River, with the main villages on the northern banks.

The inhabitants at the time of first European contact were the Tequesta people, who controlled much of southeastern Florida, including what is now Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and the southern part of Palm Beach County. The Tequesta Indians fished, hunted, and gathered the fruit and roots of plants for food, but did not practice any form of agriculture. They buried the small bones of the deceased with the rest of the body, and put the larger bones in a box for the village people to see. The Tequesta are credited with making the Miami Circle.

European explorers and settlers

Juan Ponce de León was the first European to visit the area in 1513 by sailing into Biscayne Bay. His journal records that he reached Chequescha, a varianth of Tequesta, which was Miami's first recorded name. It is unknown whether he came ashore or made contact with the natives. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his men made the first recorded landing when they visited the Tequesta settlement in 1566 while looking for Avilés' missing son, shipwrecked a year earlier. Spanish soldiers led by Father Francisco Villarreal built a Jesuit mission at the mouth of the Miami River a year later but it was short-lived. After the Spaniards left, the Tequesta Indians were left to fend themselves from European-introduced diseases like smallpox. By 1711, the Tequesta sent a couple of local chiefs to Havana, Cuba, to ask if they could migrate there. The Cubans sent two ships to help them, but Spanish illnesses struck and most of the Indians died.

The first permanent European settlers arrived in the early 19th century. People came from the Bahamas to South Florida and the Keys to hunt for treasure from the ships that ran aground on the treacherous Great Florida Reef. Some accepted Spanish land offers along the Miami River. At about the same time, the Seminole Indians arrived, along with a group of runaway slaves. The area was affected by the Second Seminole War, during which Major William S. Harney led several raids against the Indians. Most non-Indian residents were soldiers stationed at Fort Dallas. It was the most devastating Indian war in American history, causing almost a total loss of population in Miami.

After the Second Seminole War ended in 1842, William English, re-established a plantation started by his uncle on the Miami River. He charted the “Village of Miami” on the south bank of the Miami River and sold several plots of land. In 1844, Miami became the county seat, and six years later a census reported that there were ninety-six residents living in the area. The Third Seminole War was not as destructive as the second one. Even so, it slowed down the settlement of southeast Florida. At the end of the war, a few of the soldiers stayed.

Birth of Dade County

Julia DeForest Tuttle
Julia Tuttle (1849-1898), the founder of Miami.
Flaglerstreet Miami 1945
Crowds on Flagler Street in Downtown Miami on August 15, 1945, 20 minutes after the announcement of Japan's surrender at the end of World War II.

Dade County was created on January 18, 1836, under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. At the time of its creation, Dade County included the land that now contains Palm Beach and Broward counties, together with the Florida Keys from Bahia Honda Key north and the land of present-day Miami-Dade County. The county seat was originally at Indian Key in the Florida Keys; then in 1844, the County seat was moved to Miami. The Florida Keys from Key Largo to Bahia Honda were returned to Monroe County in 1866. In 1888 the county seat was moved to Juno, near present-day Juno Beach, Florida, returning to Miami in 1899. In 1909, Palm Beach County was formed from the northern portion of what was then Dade County, and then in 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create what is now Broward County. There have been no significant boundary changes to the county since 1915.


The third-costliest natural disaster to occur in the United States was Hurricane Andrew, which hit Miami early Monday morning on August 24, 1992. It struck the southern part of the county from due east, south of Miami and very near Homestead, Kendall, and Cutler Ridge (now the Town of Cutler Bay). Damages numbered over US$25 billion in the county alone, and recovery has taken years in these areas where the destruction was greatest. This was the costliest natural disaster in US history until Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf region in 2005.

Name change

On November 13, 1997, voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami. Voters were acting pursuant to home rule powers granted to Dade County, including the ability to change the name of the county without the consent of the Florida Legislature. The change in name also addressed a source of public dissatisfaction with the name "Dade" which was chosen to honor of Francis L. Dade, who had been killed in the Dade Massacre in the 1830s. The Massacre did not occur in South Florida, but in the west central part of the state, in present-day Sumter County, near Bushnell. There is also a Dade City, which is closer to the site of the massacre.

The Miami skyline


Miami Riverwalk
Miami River in Downtown Miami

Physical geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,431 square miles (6,300 km2), of which 1,898 square miles (4,920 km2) is land and 533 square miles (1,380 km2) (21.9%) is water. It is the third-largest county in Florida by land area and second-largest by total area. Most of the water is in the Biscayne Bay, with another significant portion in the adjacent waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Miami-Dade County is only about 6 feet (1.8 m) above sea level. It is rather new geologically and located at the eastern edge of the Florida Platform, a carbonate plateau created millions of years ago. Eastern Dade is composed of Oolite limestone while western Dade is composed mostly of Bryozoa. Miami-Dade is among the last areas of Florida to be created and populated with fauna and flora, mostly in the Pleistocene.

The bay is divided from the Atlantic Ocean by the many barrier isles along the coast, one of which is where well-known Miami Beach is located, home to South Beach and the Art Deco district. The Florida Keys, which are also barrier islands are only accessible through Miami-Dade County, but which are otherwise part of neighboring Monroe County. Miami is situated seventy miles from West Palm Beach, and thirty miles from Fort Lauderdale.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 446
1850 159 −64.3%
1860 83 −47.8%
1870 85 2.4%
1880 257 202.4%
1890 861 235.0%
1900 4,955 475.5%
1910 11,933 140.8%
1920 42,753 258.3%
1930 142,955 234.4%
1940 267,739 87.3%
1950 495,084 84.9%
1960 935,047 88.9%
1970 1,267,792 35.6%
1980 1,625,781 28.2%
1990 1,937,094 19.1%
2000 2,253,362 16.3%
2010 2,496,435 10.8%
Est. 2015 2,693,117 7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

2010 U.S. Census

Downtown Miami from north 20080408
Since late 2001, Downtown Miami has seen a large construction boom in skyscrapers, retail and has experienced gentrification.
Brickell north entrance
Miami's Brickell neighborhood, is amongst the fastest-growing areas of Miami-Dade County

U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Ethnic/Race Demographics:

  • White (non-Hispanic): 15.4% (2.3% German, 2.2% Italian, 1.8% Irish, 1.5% English, 1.0% Russian, 0.9% Polish, 0.9% French) (White total 73.8% when including White Hispanics)
  • Black (non-Hispanic): 17.1% (6.9% West Indian/Afro-Caribbean American [4.5% Haitian, 1.4% Jamaican, 0.3% Bahamian, 0.2% Trinidadian and Tobagonian, 0.1% Other or Unspecified West Indian, 0.1% British West Indian,] 0.5% Subsaharan African) (Black total 18.9% when including Black Hispanics)
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 65.0% (34.3% Cuban, 4.6% Colombian, 4.2% Nicaraguan, 3.7% Puerto Rican, 2.3% Dominican, 2.2% Honduran, 2.1% Mexican, 1.9% Venezuelan, 1.6% Peruvian, 1.1% Argentinean, 0.8% Ecuadorian, 0.8% Guatemalan, 0.7% Salvadoran, 0.5% Spaniard, 0.5% Chilean)
  • Asian: 1.5% (0.4% Chinese, 0.4% Indian, 0.2% Filipino, 0.2% Other Asian, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Japanese)
  • Two or more races: 2.4%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.2%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.03%
  • Other Races: 3.2% (0.6% Arab)

In 2010, 3.4% of the Miami-Dade's population considered themselves to be of only "American" ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity.)

In 2010, Cubans made up the largest population of immigrants (with more than half of the population,) with Colombians coming in second, Haitians in third, followed by Hondurans in fourth place, then Dominicans, Venezuelans, Peruvians, Jamaicans, Mexicans, and Argentinians among the highest group of expatriates.

There were 867,352 households out of which 30.61% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 18.79% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.49% were non-families. 23.55% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.38% (2.52% male and 5.86% female) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.33.

The age distribution is 21.9% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,605, and the median income for a family was $50,065. Males had a median income of $35,096 versus $29,980 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,957. About 13.8% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 22.1% of those aged 65 or over.

In 2010, 51.1% of the county's population was foreign born, with 48.7% being naturalized American citizens. Of foreign-born residents, 93.0% were born in Latin America, 3.2% were born in Europe, 2.7% born in Asia, 0.5% born in Africa, 0.5% in North America, and 0.1% were born in Oceania.

Population Miami-Dade
2040 Projection 3,179,655
2035 Projection 3,071,471
2030 Projection 2,959,308
2025 Projection 2,840,497
2020 Projection 2,717,585
2015 Estimate 2,693,117
2010 Census 2,496,435
2000 Census 2,253,362
1990 Census 1,937,094

2000 U.S. Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,253,362 people, 776,774 households, and 548,402 families residing in the county, with an average population density of 1,158 inhabitants per square mile (447/km2). There were 852,278 housing units with an average density of 438 per square mile (169/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 69.7% White (49% White Hispanic, 20.7% Non-Hispanic White), 20.3% African American and Black (with a large part being of Caribbean descent), 0.20% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 4.60% from other races, and 3.80% from two or more races. 57.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In relation to ancestry (excluding the various Hispanic and Latino ancestries), 5% were Haitian, 5% American, 2% Italian, 2% Jamaican, 2% German, 2% Irish, and 2% English ancestry.

1,147,765 Miami-Dade residents—50.9% of the total population—were foreign-born, a percentage greater than that of any other county in the United States. 47% of the foreign-born population were naturalized U.S. citizens. Among the foreign-born population, the most common countries of origin were Cuba (46%), Nicaragua (8%), Colombia (7%), Haiti (6%), the Dominican Republic (3%), Honduras (3%), Jamaica (3%) and El Salvador (2%).

There were 776,774 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.7% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.35.

The age distribution is 24.8% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,966, and the median income for a family was $40,260. Males had a median income of $30,120 versus $24,686 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,497. About 14.5% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.9% of those under age 18 and 18.9% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2010, 63.77% of the population spoke Spanish, 28.07% English, 4.22% French Creole (mainly Haitian Creole,) 0.64% French, and 0.55% spoke Portuguese as their mother language. 52% of the county residents were born outside the United States, while 71.93% of the population spoke a language other than English as their primary language.

In the 1950s about 80% of the county population were English-speaking non-Hispanic whites. As of 2010 58.5% of the population natively spoke Spanish, with about half of them having low English fluency. 27.2% of the population spoke only English.


Towns of Miami-Dade County Florida closer
Map of the municipalities (colored areas) and unincorporated (grey areas) communities of Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade County includes 34 incorporated areas, 38 census-designated places, and 16 unincorporated regions.


See also: Transportation in Miami


Miami International Airport, 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 Airport and Los Angeles International Airport), 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.

  • Homestead General Aviation Airport
  • Miami Executive Airport
  • Opa-Locka Executive
  • Homestead Air Reserve Base, east of Homestead in an unincorporated area, serves military traffic.
  • Miami Seaplane Base
  • Dade-Collier

Public transit

Government Center rush hour
Government Center, one of the main metro stations in Miami

Public transit in Miami-Dade County is served by Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works, and is the largest public transit in Florida. Miami-Dade Transportation and Public Works operates a heavy rail metro system Metrorail, an elevated people mover in Downtown Miami, Metromover and the bus system, Metrobus.

Major expressways

I-195 Miami eastbound
Julia Tuttle Causeway connects Miami and Miami Beach
Flagler Street
Flagler Street in Downtown Miami
The Downtown Distributor
Downtown Distributor

In Florida a Tolled State Road is often (but not always) denoted by having the word "TOLL" printed on the top of the State Road shield.

When a driver passes through a toll plaza without paying the proper toll a digital image of the car's license tag is recorded. Under Florida Law, this image can be used by the Authority to issue a toll violation.

Miami-Dade County has 10 major expressways and 1 minor expressway in Downtown Miami.

County roads

This is a list of Miami-Dade county roads. Miami-Dade County has fewer county roads than any other county in Florida, despite its large population. None are signed.

# Road Name(s) Direction and Termini Notes
CR 854 Ives Dairy Road SR 817 US 1 former SR 854 (east of US 441)
CR 913 Crandon Boulevard, Rickenbacker Causeway extension of SR 913
CR 948 Lindgren Road extension of SR 825
CR 959 Southwest 57th Avenue extension of SR 959
CR 973 Galloway Road extension of SR 973
CR 992 Coral Reef Drive extension of SR 992
CR 9823 Northwest 67th Avenue
Northwest 68th Avenue
N/S SR 826 Palm Springs North Broward County line Palm Springs North


Street grid

A street grid stretches from downtown Miami throughout the county. This grid was adopted by the City of Miami following World War I after the United States Post Office threatened to cease mail deliveries in the city because the original system of named streets, with names often changing every few blocks and multiple streets in the city sharing the same name, was too confusing for the mail carriers. The new grid was later extended throughout the county as the population grew west, south, and north of city limits. The grid is laid out with Miami Avenue as the meridian going North-South and Flagler Street the baseline going east-west. The grid is primarily numerical so that, for example, all street addresses north of Flagler and west of Miami Avenue have NW in their address (e.g. NW 27th Avenue). Because its point of origin is in downtown Miami which is close to the coast, the NW and SW quadrants are much larger than the SE and NE quadrants. Many roads, especially major ones, are also named, although, with a few notable exceptions, the number is in more common usage among locals. Although this grid is easy to understand once one is oriented to it, it is not universal in the entire county. Hialeah uses its own grid system which is entirely different in its orientation. Coral Gables and Miami Lakes use named streets almost exclusively, and various smaller municipalities such as Florida City and Homestead use their own grid system along with the Miami-Dade grid system adding to the confusion. In the beach cities and parks of Miami Beach, Surfside, Bal Harbor, Haulover, Sunny Isles, and Golden Beach, the streets are coordinated with the main grid; however, their avenues are named.

Sites of interest


Perez Art Museum Miami
Perez Art Museum in Downtown Miami
Frost Art Museum
  • Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach
  • Coral Castle, Homestead Miami
  • Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Coral Gables
  • Frost Art Museum, (Florida International University, Miami)
  • HistoryMiami, Downtown Miami
  • Holocaust Memorial, Miami Beach
  • Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami Beach
  • Lowe Art Museum, (University of Miami, Coral Gables)
  • Miami Children's Museum, Miami
  • Miami Cultural Center, Downtown Miami
  • Miami Science Museum, Miami
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
  • Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami
  • Rubell Family Collection, Miami
  • The Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami
  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami
  • Weeks Air Museum, Miami
  • Wings Over Miami Museum, Miami
  • Wolfsonian, (Florida International University, Miami Beach)
  • The World Famous Mondesi Carranza Museum, Miami Beach

Culture and wildlife

Villa Vizcaya
Villa Vizcaya, a popular tourist attraction
  • Zoo Miami, Miami
  • Jungle Island, Miami
  • Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami
  • Bayside Marketplace, Downtown Miami
  • Miami Seaquarium, Miami
  • Monkey Jungle, Miami
  • Ancient Spanish Monastery, North Miami Beach
  • Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Miami
  • Wertheim Performing Arts Center, (Florida International University, Miami)
  • Florida Grand Opera, Miami
  • Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, Downtown Miami
  • Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, Downtown Miami

Other areas and attractions

South Beach
  • South Beach
  • Ocean Drive
  • Calle Ocho
  • Lincoln Road
  • Downtown Miami
  • Bal Harbour Shops
  • Dolphin Mall
  • Aventura Mall
  • Biltmore Hotel
  • Freedom Tower
  • Miami Art Deco District
  • Miami Design District
  • Bayside Marketplace
  • Little Havana
  • Star Island


  • Tropical Park
  • Bayfront Park
  • Museum Park
  • Crandon Park

Sports venues

American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat.

Miami-Dade County holds the majority of sports arenas, stadiums and complexes in South Florida. Some of these sports facilities are:

  • Hard Rock Stadium- Miami Dolphins (football) and The Miami Hurricanes (football),
  • Marlins ParkMiami Marlins (baseball)
  • American Airlines Arena- Miami Heat (basketball)
  • Tennis Center at Crandon Park- Sony Ericcson Open
  • FIU Stadium- FIU Panthers (football)
  • FIU Arena- FIU Panthers (basketball)
  • FIU Baseball Stadium- FIU Panthers (baseball)
  • BankUnited Center- Miami Hurricanes (basketball)
  • Tropical Park Stadium
  • Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Calder Race Course
  • Hialeah Park Race Track
  • Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field- Miami Hurricanes (baseball)

Former venues include:


  • Miami MLS Stadium


Sister cities

See also: List of sister cities in Florida

Miami-Dade County has 23 sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

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