The economic significance of the city is partly based on tourism, bringing 30 million annual visitors to Miami - many of them cruise ship passengers - and partly on its proximity to Latin America. More than 1000 companies run their Central and South American businesses from here; many others have their headquarters in the area. Downtown Miami has the highest density of banks of the whole country and a large part of the South American finance system is handled in the city, primarily in the Brickell Avenue neighborhood. In addition, the port of Miami is one of the country’s most important, for passenger traffic as well as for goods leaving and entering the country. The international airport, on the schedule of numerous airlines from all over the world, is one of the busiest in the US.
Miami and the region enjoy a warm climate year-round, described as a tropical monsoon climate, with average winter temperatures around 20° C. The winter months are decidely drier than the summer. Between mid-August and the end of September, there is an increased danger of hurricanes hitting the area.
While there is no visible border line separating the city from the surrounding area, there are a number of clearly defined neighborhoods within Miami that differ in their population composition. Notably, more than 50% of the city’s inhabitants were not born in the USA – 34% are from Cuba alone. In total, around 70% of the people in Miami are of Hispanic heritage and English is merely spoken in about 24% of households as the primary language. The rapid population growth Miami experienced in the latter half of the 20th century is primarily caused on immigration; migration from within the USA is mostly going into the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, the population development also brought an increase in crime; Miami is still one of the most dangerous cities in the USA.
Miami is thus home to countless cultures and traditions that are continued in the new surroundings yet are rarely mixing. Multinational organisations assess Miami as a “Global City” thanks to its economic strength and purchase power, but at the same time, the town is often lauded for its neat, green cityscape. By that, Miami may well offer a perspective on developments that could still be in the future for other world megacities.