Miami Beach, Florida facts for kids
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Miami Beach, Florida
|City of Miami Beach|
Southern portion of Miami Beach with downtown Miami in background
Location in Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits
|Incorporated||March 26, 1915|
|• City||15.22 sq mi (39.42 km2)|
|• Land||7.69 sq mi (19.92 km2)|
|• Water||7.53 sq mi (19.49 km2) 62.37%|
|Elevation||4 ft (1.2 m)|
|• Density||10,774.73/sq mi (4,160.38/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
33109, 33139, 33140, 33141.
|Area code(s)||305, 786|
|GNIS feature ID||0286750|
Miami Beach is a coastal resort city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. It was incorporated on March 26, 1915. The municipality is located on natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay, the latter of which separates the Beach from the mainland city of Miami. The neighborhood of South Beach, comprising the southernmost 2.5 square miles (6.5 km2) of Miami Beach, along with Downtown Miami and the Port of Miami, collectively form the commercial center of South Florida. Miami Beach's estimated population is 88,885 according to the most recent United States Census estimates. Miami Beach is the 26th largest city in Florida based on official 2019 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. It has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts since the early 20th century.
In 1979, Miami Beach's Art Deco Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Art Deco District is the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and comprises hundreds of hotels, apartments and other structures erected between 1923 and 1943. Mediterranean, Streamline Moderne and Art Deco are all represented in the District. The Historic District is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the East, Lenox Court on the West, 6th Street on the South and Dade Boulevard along the Collins Canal to the North. The movement to preserve the Art Deco District's architectural heritage was led by the late former interior designer Barbara Baer Capitman, who now has a street in the District named in her honor.
In 1870, a father and son, Henry and Charles Lum, purchased the land for 75 cents an acre. The first structure to be built on this uninhabited oceanfront was the Biscayne House of Refuge, constructed in 1876 by the United States Life-Saving Service at approximately 72nd Street. Its purpose was to provide food, water, and a return to civilization for people who were shipwrecked. The next step in the development of the future Miami Beach was the planting of a coconut plantation along the shore in the 1880s by New Jersey entrepreneurs Ezra Osborn and Elnathan Field, but this was a failed venture. One of the investors in the project was agriculturist John S. Collins, who achieved success by buying out other partners and planting different crops, notably avocados, on the land that would later become Miami Beach. Meanwhile, across Biscayne Bay, the City of Miami was established in 1896 with the arrival of the railroad, and developed further as a port when the shipping channel of Government Cut was created in 1905, cutting off Fisher Island from the south end of the Miami Beach peninsula.
Collins' family members saw the potential in developing the beach as a resort. This effort got underway in the early years of the 20th century by the Collins/Pancoast family, the Lummus brothers (bankers from Miami), and Indianapolis entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher. Until then, the beach here was only the destination for day-trips by ferry from Miami, across the bay. By 1912, Collins and Pancoast were working together to clear the land, plant crops, supervise the construction of canals to get their avocado crop to market, and set up the Miami Beach Improvement Company. There were bath houses and food stands, but no hotel until Brown's Hotel was built in 1915 (still standing, at 112 Ocean Drive). Much of the interior land mass at that time was a tangled jungle of mangroves. Clearing it, deepening the channels and water bodies, and eliminating native growth almost everywhere in favor of landfill for development, was expensive.
With loans from the Lummus brothers, Collins had begun work on a 2½-mile-long wooden bridge, the world's longest wooden bridge at the time, to connect the island to the mainland. When funds ran dry and construction work stalled, Indianapolis millionaire and recent Miami transplant Fisher intervened, providing the financing needed to complete the bridge the following year in return for a land swap deal. That transaction kicked off the island's first real estate boom. Fisher helped by organizing an annual speed boat regatta, and by promoting Miami Beach as an Atlantic City-style playground and winter retreat for the wealthy. By 1915, Lummus, Collins, Pancoast, and Fisher were all living in mansions on the island, three hotels and two bath houses had been erected, an aquarium built, and an 18-hole golf course landscaped.
The Town of Miami Beach was chartered on March 26, 1915; it grew to become a City in 1917. Even after the town was incorporated in 1915 under the name of Miami Beach, many visitors thought of the beach strip as Alton Beach, indicating just how well Fisher had advertised his interests there. The Lummus property was called Ocean Beach, with only the Collins interests previously referred to as Miami Beach.
Carl Fisher was the main promoter of Miami Beach's development in the 1920s as the site for wealthy industrialists from the north and Midwest to and build their winter homes here. Many other Northerners were targeted to vacation on the island. To accommodate the wealthy tourists, several grand hotels were built, among them: The Flamingo Hotel, The Fleetwood Hotel, The Floridian, The Nautilus, and the Roney Plaza Hotel. In the 1920s, Fisher and others created much of Miami Beach as landfill by dredging Biscayne Bay; this man-made territory includes Star, Palm, and Hibiscus Islands, the Sunset Islands, much of Normandy Isle, and all of the Venetian Islands except Belle Isle. The Miami Beach peninsula became an island in April 1925 when Haulover Cut was opened, connecting the ocean to the bay, north of present-day Bal Harbour. The great 1926 Miami hurricane put an end to this prosperous era of the Florida Boom, but in the 1930s Miami Beach still attracted tourists, and investors constructed the mostly small-scale, stucco hotels and rooming houses, for seasonal rental, that comprise much of the present "Art Deco" historic district.
Post–World War II economic expansion brought a wave of immigrants to South Florida from the Northern United States, which significantly increased the population in Miami Beach within a few decades. After Fidel Castro's rise to power in 1959, a wave of Cuban refugees entered South Florida and dramatically changed the demographic make-up of the area. In 2017, one study named zipcode 33109 in Miami Beach as having the 4th most expensive home sales in the United States.
South Beach (also known as SoBe, or simply the Beach), the area from Biscayne Street (also known as South Pointe Drive) one block south of 1st Street to about 23rd Street, is one of the more popular areas of Miami Beach. Before the TV show Miami Vice helped make the area popular, SoBe was under urban blight, with vacant buildings and a high crime rate. Today, it is considered one of the richest commercial areas on the beach, yet poverty and crime still remain in some places near the area.
Miami Beach, particularly Ocean Drive of what is now the Art Deco District, was also featured prominently in the 1983 feature film Scarface and the 1996 comedy The Birdcage.
Lincoln Road, running east-west parallel between 16th and 17th Streets, is a nationally known spot for outdoor dining, bicycling, rollerblading and shopping and features and galleries of well known designers, artists and photographers such as Romero Britto, Peter Lik, and Jonathan Adler.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.7 sq mi (48.5 km2), of which 7.0 sq mi (18.2 km2) is land and 11.7 sq mi (30.2 km2) (62.37%) is water.
Elevation and tidal flooding
Miami Beach sees sunny day flooding of certain roads during the annual king tides, though some argue this has been the case for decades, as the parts of the western side of South Beach are at virtually 0 feet (0 m) above normal high tide, with the entire city averaging only 4.4 feet (1.3 m) above mean sea level (AMSL). However, a recent study by the University of Miami showed that tidal flooding became much more common from the mid 2000s. The fall 2015 king tides exceeded expectations in longevity and height. Traditional sea level rise and storm mitigation measures including sea walls and dykes, such as those in the Netherlands and New Orleans, may not work in South Florida due to the porous nature of the ground and limestone beneath the surface.
In addition to present difficulty with below-grade development, some areas of southern Florida, especially Miami Beach, are beginning to engineer specifically for sea level rise and other potential effects of climate change. This includes a five-year, US$500 million project for the installation of 60 to 80 pumps, building of taller sea walls, and the physical raising of road tarmac levels, as well as possible zoning and building code changes, which could eventually lead to retrofitting of existing and historic properties. Some streets and sidewalks were raised about 2.5 feet (0.76 m) over previous levels; the four initial pumps installed in 2014 are capable of pumping 4,000 US gallons per minute. However, this plan is not without criticism. Some residents worry that the efforts will not be sufficient to successfully adapt to rising sea levels and wish the city had pursued a more aggressive plan. On the other hand, some worry that the city is moving too quickly with untested solutions. Others yet have voiced concerns that the plan protects big-money interests in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach has a tropical climate, more specifically a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen Am), with hot humid summers and warm dry winters. Other than the Florida Keys, Miami Beach has the warmest winter weather in the United States (mainland). The warm and sunny weather in Miami Beach and South Florida attracts millions of travelers from around the world from November through April. Sea surface temperatures range from 74 F in winter to 86 F in the spring/summer/fall months. Miami Beach has the warmest ocean surf in the United States mainland annually.
Like much of Florida, there is a marked wet and dry season in Miami Beach. The tropical rainy season runs from May through September, when showers and late day thunderstorms are common. The dry season is from November through April, when few showers, sunshine, and low humidity prevail. The island location of Miami Beach however, creates fewer convective thunderstorms, so Miami Beach receives less rainfall in a given year than neighboring areas such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Proximity to the moderating influence of the Atlantic gives Miami Beach lower high temperatures and higher lows than inland areas of Florida. Other than the Florida Keys (and Key West), Miami Beach is the only U.S. city (mainland) to never report snow flurries in its weather history.
Miami Beach's location on the Atlantic Ocean, near its confluence with the Gulf of Mexico, make it extraordinarily vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms. Though direct strikes from hurricanes are rare (Miami has experienced only two direct hits from major hurricanes in recorded weather history – the 1926 Miami hurricane and Hurricane Cleo in 1964), the area has seen indirect contact from hurricanes Betsy (1965), Inez (1966), Andrew (1992), Irene (1999), Michelle (2001), Katrina (2005), and Wilma (2005).
|Climate data for Miami Beach, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1927-present|
|Record high °F (°C)||87
|Average high °F (°C)||73.8
|Average low °F (°C)||61.4
|Record low °F (°C)||32
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.09
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.9||6.1||7.2||6.2||9.1||14.9||12.4||14.6||15.1||12.0||8.7||7.0||120.2|
This chart shows the average coastal water temperature for the Atlantic Ocean by month in degrees Fahrenheit for Miami Beach based on historical measurements.
|January||February||March||April 1–15||April 16–30||May 1–15||May 16–31||June 1–15||June 16–30||July 1–15||July 16–31||August 1–15||August 16–31||September 1–15||September 16–30||October 1–15||October 16–31||November||December|
|Biscayne Bay||Indian Creek, Surfside||Atlantic Ocean|
|Biscayne Bay, North Bay Village, Miami, Fisher Island||Atlantic Ocean|
|Fisher Island||Government Cut, Fisher Island||Atlantic Ocean|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
|Miami Beach demographics|
|2010 Census||Miami Beach||Miami-Dade County||Florida|
|Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010||-0.2%||+10.8%||+17.6%|
|Population density||11,511.1/sq mi||1,315.5/sq mi||350.6/sq mi|
|White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic)||87.4%||73.8%||75.0%|
|(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian)||40.5%||15.4%||57.9%|
|Black or African-American||4.4%||18.9%||16.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||53.0%||65.0%||22.5%|
|Native American or Native Alaskan||0.3%||0.2%||0.4%|
|Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian||0.1%||0.0%||0.1%|
|Two or more races (Multiracial)||2.7%||2.4%||2.5%|
|Some Other Race||3.2%||3.2%||3.6%|
As of 2010[update], those of Hispanic or Latino ancestry accounted for 53.0% of Miami Beach's population. Out of the 53.0%, 20.0% were Cuban, 4.9% Colombian, 4.6% Argentine, 3.7% Puerto Rican, 2.4% Peruvian, 2.1% Venezuelan, 1.8% Mexican, 1.7% Honduran, 1.6% Guatemalan, 1.4% Dominican, 1.1% Uruguayan, 1.1% Spaniard, 1.0% Nicaraguan, 0.9% Ecuadorian and 0.8% were Chilean.
As of 2010[update], those of African ancestry accounted for 4.4% of Miami Beach's population, which includes African Americans. Out of the 4.4%, 1.3% were Black Hispanics, 0.8% were Subsaharan African, and 0.8% were West Indian or Afro-Caribbean American (0.3% Jamaican, 0.3% Haitian, 0.1% Other or Unspecified West Indian, 0.1% Trinidadian and Tobagonian.)
As of 2010[update], those of (non-Hispanic white) European ancestry accounted for 40.5% of Miami Beach's population. Out of the 40.5%, 9.0% Italian, 6.0% German, 3.8% were Irish, 3.8% Russian, 3.7% French, 3.4% Polish, 3.0% English, 1.2% Hungarian, 0.7% Swedish, 0.6% Scottish, 0.5% Portuguese, 0.5% Dutch, 0.5% Scotch-Irish, and 0.5% were Norwegian.
As of 2010[update], those of Asian ancestry accounted for 1.9% of Miami Beach's population. Out of the 1.9%, 0.6% were Indian, 0.4% Filipino, 0.3% Other Asian, 0.3% Chinese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Korean, and 0.1% were Vietnamese.
In 2010, 2.8% of the population considered themselves to be of only American ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity), and 1.5% were of Arab ancestry (with the majority of them being of Palestinian and Lebanese descent), as of 2010[update].
As of 2010[update], there were 67,499 households, while 30.1% were vacant. 13.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.3% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 61.1% were non-families. 49.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older (4.0% male and 8.0% female.) The average household size was 1.84 and the average family size was 2.70.
In 2010, the city population was spread out, with 12.8% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 38.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.0 males.
As of 2010[update], the median income for a household in the city was $43,538, and the median income for a family was $52,104. Males had a median income of $42,605 versus $36,269 for females. The per capita income for the city was $40,515. About 10.9% of families and 15.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.0% of those under age 18 and 27.5% of those aged 65 or over.
In 2010, 51.7% of the city's population was foreign-born. Of foreign-born residents, 76.9% were born in Latin America and 13.6% were born in Europe, with smaller percentages from North America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
As of 2000, speakers of Spanish at home accounted for 54.90% of residents, while those who spoke exclusively English made up 32.76%. Speakers of Portuguese were 3.38%, French 1.66%, German 1.12%, Italian 1.00%, and Russian 0.85% of the population. Due to the large Jewish community, Yiddish was spoken at the home of 0.81% of the population, and Hebrew was the mother tongue of 0.75%.
As of 2000, Miami Beach had the 22nd highest concentration of Cuban residents in the United States, at 20.51% of the population. It had the 28th highest percentage of Colombian residents, at 4.40% of the city's population, and was tied with two other locations for the 14th highest percentage of Brazilian residents, at 2.20% of its population. It also had the 27th largest concentration of Peruvian ancestry, at 1.85%, and the 27th highest percentage of people of Venezuelan heritage, at 1.79%. Miami Beach also has the 33rd highest concentration of Honduran ancestry at 1.21% and the 41st highest percentage of Nicaraguan residents, which made up 1.03% of the population.
Public Transportation in Miami Beach is operated by Miami-Dade Transit (MDT). Along with neighborhoods such as Downtown and Brickell, public transit is heavily used in Miami Beach, and is a vital part of city life. Although Miami Beach has no direct Metrorail stations, numerous Metrobus lines connect to Downtown Miami and Metrorail (i.e., the 'S' bus line). The South Beach Local (SBL) is one of the most heavily used lines in Miami, and connects all major points of South Beach to other major bus lines in the city. Metrobus ridership in Miami Beach is high, with some of the routes such as the L and S being the busiest Metrobus routes.
The Airport-Beach Express (Route 150), operated by MDT, is a direct-service bus line that connects Miami International Airport to major points in South Beach. The ride costs $2.65, and runs every 30 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. seven days a week.
Since the late 20th century, cycling has grown in popularity in Miami Beach. Due to its dense, urban nature, and pedestrian-friendly streets, many Miami Beach residents get around by bicycle.
In March 2011 a public bicycle sharing system named Decobike was launched, one of only a handful of such programs in the United States. The program is operated by a private corporation, Decobike, LLC, but is partnered with the City of Miami Beach in a revenue sharing model. Once fully implemented, the program hopes to have around 1000 bikes accessible from 100 stations throughout Miami Beach, from around 85th Street on the north side of Miami Beach all the way south to South Pointe Park.
- Belle Isle
- City Center
- Di Lido Island
- Flagler Monument Island
- Hibiscus Island
- Palm Island
- Rivo Alto Island
- San Marino Island
- Star Island
- South Pointe
- South of Fifth
Points of interest
- Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre
- Eden Roc (hotel)
- Flagler Monument Island
- Fontainebleau Hotel
- Versace Mansion (Casa Casuarina)
- Holocaust Memorial
- Lincoln Road
- Miami Beach Architectural District
- Miami Beach Botanical Garden
- Ocean Drive
- South Beach
- Wolfsonian-FIU Museum
- See also: List of sister cities in Florida
Miami Beach has 12 sister cities
- Brampton, Canada
- Almonte, Spain
- Marbella, Spain
- Fortaleza, Brazil
- Santa Marta, Colombia
- Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
- Nahariya, Israel
- Pescara, Italy
- Fujisawa, Japan
- Cozumel, Mexico
- Ica, Peru
- Basel, Switzerland
Miami-Dade County Public Schools serves Miami Beach.
- North Beach Elementary
- Treasure Island Elementary
- South Pointe Elementary
- Mater Beach Academy
- Biscayne Elementary
- Fienberg/Fisher K - 8 Center
- Nautilus Middle School
- Miami Beach Senior High School
Private schools include Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy, St. Patrick Catholic School, Landow Yeshiva – Lubavitch Educational Center (Klurman Mesivta High School for Boys and Beis Chana Middle and High School for Girls), and Mechina High School. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami operates St. Patrick Catholic School in Miami Beach. The archdiocese formerly operated Saint Joseph School in Miami Beach.
In the early history of Miami Beach, there was one elementary school and the Ida M. Fisher junior-senior high school. The building of Miami Beach High was constructed in 1926, and classes began in 1928.
- George Abbott, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director
- George Ade (1866–1944), writer
- Moses Annenberg, newspaper publisher
- Desi Arnaz (1917-1986), entertainer
- Shmuley Boteach (born 1966), Orthodox rabbi, radio and television host, and author
- Walter Briggs, Sr., entrepreneur, owner of the Detroit Tigers
- Barbara Baer Capitman, historic preservation activist, writer
- Douglas Isaac Busch, photographer and teacher
- Al Capone (1899–1947), mobster
- David Caruso, actor and producer, star of NYPD Blue and CSI: Miami
- John S. Collins, horticulturist
- Kent Cooper, Associated Press
- James M. Cox, Governor of Ohio and presidential candidate
- Ron Dermer (born 1971), Israeli Ambassador to the US
- Harvey Firestone, Firestone Tires
- Carl Graham Fisher, developer of Miami Beach
- Frank Gannett, Gannett Media Corporation
- Jackie Gleason, comedian, actor. TV host (Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine 1964–66, The Jackie Gleason Show 1966-70)
- Tony Goldman, real estate developer
- Ronald Green (1944-2012), American-Israeli basketball player
- Gabriel Heatter, radio commentator
- Jerry Herman, Broadway composer
- John D. Hertz, Hertz Rental Cars
- Nunnally Johnson, film director
- S.S. Kresge, retailer
- Meyer Lansky (1902–1983), mobster
- Albert Lasker, businessman
- Ring Lardner (1885–1933), writer
- Dan Le Batard, ESPN Radio & TV host
- Bernarr MacFadden, bodybuilder, owner of the Deauville Hotel
- Floyd Mayweather Jr., boxer
- Alex Omes, co-founder of Ultra Music Festival
- Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, IFBB professional bodybuilder
- James Cash Penney, department store magnate
- Irving Jacob Reuter, General Motors
- Grantland Rice, sportswriter
- Knute Rockne, football player and coach
- Damon Runyon, newspaperman and writer
- Nicholas Schenck, MGM studios
- Dutch Schultz, mobster
- Robin Sherwood, actress
- Sid Tepper, Songwriter
- Gianni Versace (1946–1997), fashion designer
- Betty Viana-Adkins, IFBB professional bodybuilder
- Neal Walk (1948–2015), basketball player
- Albert Warner, Warner Brothers studio founder
- Walter Winchell, columnist
- Garfield Wood, inventor
Images for kids
A street of Miami Beach with royal palms
Miami Beach, Florida Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.