Miami is certainly one of America’s most distinctive cities — combining gorgeous weather, clean air, endless business options, a fusion of people and culture, but social ills that leave many behind.
The metropolitan area houses more than 5.5 million people, making it one of the nation’s top 10 most populous regions and a major center for finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts and international trade. In fact, internationalism is Miami’s hallmark as more than 60 percent of the city’s residents are foreign-born. No other city in the world can make that claim.
Three-quarters of the residents speak languages other than English in the home and those who speak only English are a shrinking fraction. Given that unique flavor, it is no surprise that Miami is the most important city in the U.S. for Spanish language media. Univisión, Telemundo and UniMÁS are each headquartered there.
But, reports Bloomberg News, “Miami’s Gini coefficient, a measure of income inequality, is the third-highest among U.S. cities after Atlanta and New Orleans. It’s higher than in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and mirrors Mexico City’s level. The city is also the toughest for low-wage workers to rise, according to a Bloomberg analysis of the upward mobility of fast-food employees.”
That leaves the city with a high incidence of families living below the poverty line and high crime rate.
Yet a unifying force in the city has been the Miami Hurricanes football team, which burst on to the national scene in the 1980s with an unprecedented swagger and countless hometown heroes. The “U” has won five national championships and produced scores of NFL players, controversies, Hall of Famers and scandals. But from the smoke-filled introductions to Sebastian the Ibis, Miami football remains as distinctive as its environs.