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Miami boasts one of the most international populations of any U.S. city. Located on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula that separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean, it is often called the “Gateway to the Americas,” and sometimes even the “Capital of Latin America”, for its vital importance to international commerce within the region.
Over 100 foreign consulates, trade offices and bi-national chambers of commerce can be found in the Miami area. Almost sixty percent of residents are of foreign birth, with more than half of the overall populace originating from Cuba, and over four percent hailing from Haiti—the single biggest community of these two nationalities in the U.S.
Miami’s link to Latin America is hard to overstate—a vast majority of Miami residents can trace their heritage to that part of the world, and it is estimated that two thirds of Miamians speak Spanish at home as their native language, while those who speak anything besides English as their first language exceeds 77 percent—making it the second largest U.S. city with a Spanish speaking majority. Other common languages in Miami include: Haitian Creole, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, Arabic, Chinese and Greek.
The following are Miami’s most important industries to date.
Tourism continues to be Miami’s principal source of income. Known as the “Cruise Capital of the World”, the Port of Miami has been the world’s busiest cruise port for several decades. As such, many major cruise lines are headquartered in Miami, from Carnival to Royal Caribbean to Norwegian. Florida’s tropical climate makes Miami’s beaches a year-round attraction, which serve as backdrop for a number of high-profile international events, including Art Basel and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
The Port of Miami carries the unusual distinction of being a world-class cargo port as well as a cruise port, leading to the nickname “Cargo Gateway to the Americas”. As one of the busiest free trade zones, it is first in the nation for international freight and third for international containerized cargo worldwide, employing over 300 freight forwarders and customs brokers.
Because it is so close to Latin America and the Caribbean, nearly 1400 multinational corporations maintain their headquarters in Miami, including many important financial institutions. The Brickell neighborhood of Downtown Miami alone contains more international banks than anywhere else in the U.S. besides New York, and is sometimes called the “Wall Street of Miami” for this reason.
Miami is the center for Spanish language media production in the U.S., and comprises the third largest hispanic television market in the nation overall. Miami is also home to a number of Spanish language newspapers, such as El Nuevo Herald (the second biggest in the U.S.), Diario Las Americas, La Palma and El Sentinel, plus two of the last eight remaining French language papers in the country.