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Miami Dade College

MDC's Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami in 1970.

Miami Dade College, or simply Miami Dade or MDC, is a public four year college with eight campuses and twenty-one outreach centers located throughout Miami-Dade County, Florida in the United States. Miami Dade College is the largest member institution of the Florida College System. Miami Dade College's main campus is in Downtown Miami, Florida.

Founded in 1959 as Dade County Junior College, it is the largest institution of higher learning in the United States with over 161,000 students. It is currently the largest secondary institution in the United States in terms of number of students enrolled.



Miami Dade College was established in 1959 and opened in 1960 as Dade County Junior College. The original campus was located at the recently built Miami Central High School. The campus consisted of a portion of the school and an adjacent farm. In 1960, a facility was built on an old naval air station near Opa-Locka Airport (known as Amelia Earhardt field), which would soon become the College's North Campus.[1] The College enrolled African American students and Cuban exiles who could not afford other schools, becoming Florida's first integrated junior college. As the college grew, a temporary satellite campus opened in what is today Pinecrest at Miami Palmetto High School until the new South Campus (later Kendall Campus) was built in Kendall. Later renamed Miami-Dade Junior College, its two flagship campuses expanded and enrolled more students, eventually outgrowing the University of Florida and Florida State University. After some time, college president Mitchell Wolfson Jr. envisioned a campus at the heart of Downtown Miami, and in 1973, the Wolfson Campus was built. The College changed its name to Miami-Dade Community College around the same time.

The Wolfson Campus in Downtown Miami under construction in 1970. The College initially implemented an open admissions policy, meaning anyone who could afford classes was allowed to enroll. Because of this, the focus of the College became strengthening its academics. As a result, the Medical Center was built near Miami's Civic Center adjacent to the University of Miami Jackson Memorial Hospital to train students in Allied Health and nursing (RN) programs. With the Mariel exile community arriving in 1980, the College created an outreach center in Hialeah to give incoming refugees educational opportunities. Another outreach center, the InterAmerican center, was built to accommodate bilingual education. The Homestead Campus was built in 1990 in Homestead to relieve the concerns of students having to drive to the Kendall Campus.

In the mid-1990s, the College made use of new media and technologies under the direction of president Eduardo Padrón. As the Florida legislature reduced the education budget, the College began to rely heavily the Miami Dade College Foundation, consisting mainly of Alumni, for financial support. The College also had to figure out new ways of recruiting students, and the College began its "Successful Alumni" campaign in the late 1990s, marketing the success of the College's alumni to local prospective students.

Ethnic enrollment, 2008[2] Percentage
African American 19%
Hispanic 68%
White (non-Hispanic) 9%
Other 4%
Total 100%

Beginning in 2000, the College implemented a strategic plan to revamp the College and its recruiting goals. In 2002, the College disbanded its Honors Program and created The Honors College for talented high school graduates. The Honors College is a representation of Miami Dade College's most academically-gifted students in different fields and was originally based in the three larger campuses (Wolfson, Kendall, and North). In 2007, The Honors College expanded into the InterAmerican Campus with The Honors College Dual Language Honors Program. A vision of president Padrón and leading members of Miami Dade College, the aim of the program is to tailor to the needs of the growing Spanish-speaking population in the United States as well as abroad. The Dual Language Honors Program opened its doors to bilingual students who wish to continue their careers with professional fluency in the English and Spanish languages.

In 2003, the College was granted the right to award baccalaureate degrees in education to meet future education needs, and currently offers three bachelors degrees. As a result, the College changed its name again from Miami-Dade Community College to Miami Dade College to reflect four year degree possibilities.

Notable Alumni & Attendees

Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón
Miami Dade College President Eduardo J. Padrón
Miami Dade College has produced thousands of alumni over the years. Among the most notable alumni are U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the current Mayor of Miami Manny Diaz, the former President of Texas A&M University Elsa Murano, the former President of Panama Mireya Moscoso, the actor Steven Bauer, and the future Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza.

Present and Future

Miami Dade College opened the West Campus in the Doral area on March 1, 2006. The Hialeah Center has become a fully accredited campus, with possible future expansions considered critical.

The College also has a virtual college, where a degree can be attained completely over the internet.

The College also hosts the School for Advanced Studies, or SAS, a limited admission opportunity for Miami-Dade Public School students. High school classes are held at Kendall, Wolfson, and North Campus alongside regular college credit courses, and students choose three college classes per semester to take in place of traditional high school electives. College books and tuition is paid for by the county, and there is no cost to students. Bus service is also provided throughout the county to the schools. The goal is to allow students to earn their Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree while earning their high school diploma. SAS is the 15th best high school in the nation, and is repeatedly one of the highest ranking high schools.[3]

Out of approximately 161,000 students, on average, almost 6,000 go on to earn baccalaureate degrees, AA/AS/AAS degrees, vocational, technical and/or college credit certificates. Its student population is as diverse as Miami-Dade County. Associate in Arts transfer students from Miami Dade College go on to transfer primarily to schools within the State University System of Florida, though some do transfer to out-of-state institutions, mainly through articulation agreements made between institutions. Students from its Honors College have been accepted at prestigious institutions such as Columbia University, Brown University, Williams College, University of Florida, Yale University, Georgetown University, and Cornell University.

The College faces limited funding issues, and is looking for funding so that it can continue to fund current and future baccalaureate programs. Out of Florida's 28 community colleges, Miami Dade ranks among the lowest in receiving state aid. To offset this, Dr. Padrón and other College officials have pushed for legislation that would allow Miami-Dade County to put forth a referendum for a 0.5% increase in Miami-Dade County sales tax. This measure, Dr. Padrón believes, would allow the College to set aside some money into an investment fund for long-term facility maintenance and scholarships for students. He also argues that tourists pay one-third of Miami-Dade's sales tax, and that the proposed tax increase would only be in effect for five years. However, the legislation has not made it through the Florida Legislature.


Miami Dade College operates eight campuses and various outreach centers located throughout Miami-Dade County. The Honors College is currently represented on four campuses, with a new bilingual program (English-Spanish) at the InterAmerican Campus. All campuses have different schools for various disciplines (engineering, business, etc.). Some campuses also operate dual-enrollment programs for high school students. Most campuses also have College Preparatory or English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that help students pass the Computerized Placement Test (CPT) that is required for admittance and proves prospective students are qualified to take college-level mathematics and English courses.

The North Campus (11380 NW 27th Ave., Miami FL 33167) has specialized programs that train future firefighters, police officers, and EMS personnel. It also has a School of Entertainment and Design Technology and has a partnership with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) for engineering programs. The North Campus also operates the Carrie Meek Entrepreneurial Education Center in Liberty City. Recently, the Campus gained the right, by Florida's Board of Governors, to offer a Bachelor in Applied Science degree in Public Safety, housed within the School of Justice.

The Kendall Campus (11011 SW 104th St., Miami FL 33176) serves as the College's Enrollment Office and Disbursing Office. Kendall Campus also houses the College's athletic teams. The Sharks compete at the highest level of the National Junior College Athletic Association and its teams have won various district and state level awards. The College President's office is based here, as well as The Honors College and the Miami Dade College Foundation.

The Wolfson Campus (300 NE 2nd Ave., Miami FL 33132) was opened in 1970 and is the only comprehensive urban campus in the city. Located within the city’s financial, governmental, technological and cultural hubs, Wolfson provides a fully accredited, high-quality education to over 27,000 students each year. Each year, this Campus hosts Miami Book Fair International, the nation's largest and finest literary festival, which brings hundreds of renowned authors and publishers and over 500,000 spectators to the Campus. The Campus has two art galleries a full-service library, and two state-of-the art computer courtyards. The Wolfson Campus also has strong business and paralegal studies programs (approved by the American Bar Association).

The Medical Center (950 NW 20th St., Miami FL 33127), located in Miami's Medical District near downtown Miami, trains students in the Nursing (BSN/RN) and Allied Health fields, completing the Associate in Applied Science degree that will allow them immediate entry into health professions.

The Homestead Campus (500 College Ter., Homestead FL 33030) contains the College's Aviation program, one of thirteen schools in the nation accredited ATC-CTI (Air Traffic Control Collegiate Training Inititiative) status by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The InterAmerican Campus (627 SW 27th Ave., Miami FL 33135) contains the School of Education, where baccalaureate in science degrees are awarded to future educators. The College's first Bachelor of Science (BS) degree recipients graduated in 2005.

The New World School of the Arts (25 NE 2nd St., Miami FL 33132) is both a high school and a college that focuses on visual arts, theatre, dance, and music. Admission requirements include an audition or review of the applicant's art portfolio. The school is regularly ranked among the best high schools.[4]

The Hialeah Campus (1776 W 49th St., Hialeah FL 33012), a former extension of the North Campus, has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and can now award the same degrees as other campuses. Expansion may be under way for the Campus' small facilities.

The West Campus (3800 NW 115th Ave., Doral FL 33178) opened in March 2006 for students residing in or near Doral, for student and faculty convenience. In the past, Doral residents drove to the North Campus, Downtown Miami, or other campuses to attend classes.

The Carrie P. Meek Entrepreneurial Educational Center (6300 NW 7th Ave., Miami FL 33150), also known as the MEEC (pronounced intentionally the same way as Meek's last name) is an outreach center founded in 1989. There are college credit courses available to be taken here, however the focus is on non-credit courses and vocational programs, seminars, and workshops to train people for employment.

Aside from New World School of the Arts and the MEEC, there are nineteen other outreach centers MDC administers.[5]


  1. America's Top Public High Schools - Newsweek
  2. America's Top Public High Schools - Newsweek
  3. Outreach Centers

External links

fr:Miami Dade College sh:Miami Dade College

Miami-Dade Transit

Miami-Dade Transit is the public transit authority in Miami-Dade County, Florida. It is the largest transit system in Florida and the 12th largest transit system[1] in the U.S. It currently operates the Metrorail, Metromover, Metrobus, and Paratransit (STS) systems.


In 1960, the Dade County Commission passed an ordinance creating the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to unify the different transit operations into one countywide service. This ordinance provided for the purchase, development, and operation of an adequate mass transit system by the County. These companies included the Miami Transit Company, Miami Beach Railway Company, South Miami Coach Lines, and Keys Transit Company on Key Biscayne and would be managed by National City Management Company. Over the years and under various administrations, MTA evolved into the Metro-Dade Transportation Administration, the Metro-Dade Transit Agency, the Miami-Dade Transit Agency, and is now known simply as Miami-Dade Transit (MDT).

Miami-Dade Transit, a county department of more than 4,000 employees, is the largest transit agency in the state of Florida and accounts for more than half of the trips taken on public transit in the state. MDT operates an accessible, integrated system of 100-plus Metrobus routes; the Metrorail rapid transit system; Metromover, a downtown people mover system; and the Paratransit division’s Special Transportation Service. Metrobus routes cover more than 35-million miles annually, including limited service to Broward and Monroe counties. In 2004, MDT's Metrorail, Metromover, and Metrobus transported more than 96 million passengers, compared to 85 million the previous year.


On October 1st, 2009, Miami-Dade Transit will switch to its new EASY Card system[2]. It is a contactless smartcard system which uses RFID technology for it to operate without any contact.

The current standard fare is $2.00 and reduced fare is $1.00. A standard monthly pass costs $100 and $50 for reduced fare. The monthly Metropass will soon be loaded onto the EASY Card. When the EASY Card system is in use, Transit fare equipment at all Metrorail stations do not accept any type of cash[4]. An EASY Card is required when boarding.

Reduced fares are available only to Medicare recipients, people with disabilities, and Miami-Dade students in grades 1-12.

All Miami-Dade senior citizens aged 65 years and older and with Social Security benefits ride free with a Golden Passport pass. Veterans residing in Miami-Dade and earning less than $22,000 annually ride free with the Patriot Passport pass.




The Metrobus network provides bus service throughout Miami-Dade County 365 days a year. It consists of more than 100 routes and 900 buses, which connect most points in the county and part of southern Broward County as well. Eight (8) of these routes operate around the clock: most other routes operate from 4 AM to 2 AM.

24 hour bus routes: 3, 11, 27, 38, 77, L, S

All Metrobuses are wheelchair accessible, in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Along U.S. 1 in southern Miami-Dade, Metrobus service uses an exclusive right-of-way called the South Miami-Dade Busway.

Bus route 301 (Dade-Monroe Express) extends into Monroe County, reaching Marathon, where a transfer is available to a Key West Transit bus proceeding further into the Keys. With the appropriate bus transfers, one can travel all the way from Key West to Jupiter entirely on public-transit buses. This route is contracted out to American Coach.

South Miami-Dade Busway

The South Miami-Dade Busway (originally the South Dade Busway) began operating on February 3, 1997 and was extended in April 2005. The final segment of the Busway extension to Florida City opened on Sunday, December 16, 2007. It is parallel to US1/ S Dixie Highway, and replaced an abandoned Florida East Coast Railroad line. It is an alternative to daily traffic congestion. The roadway was built by the Florida Department of Transportation just for Metrobus routes and emergency vehicles. Express buses on the exclusive lanes shuttle passengers to and from Dadeland South Station (see Metrorail) in under 40 minutes.

Both full-size buses and minibuses operate on the Busway and in adjacent neighborhoods, entering the exclusive lanes at major intersections. Local and limited-stop service is offered between Florida City and Dadeland South Metrorail Station. Park & Ride lots along the busway are located at SW 152d Street (Coral Reef Drive), SW 168th Street (Richmond Drive), SW 200th Street (Caribbean Boulevard) and SW 244th Street. At Dadeland South Station, riders transfer to Metrorail. Riders headed downtown can transfer from Metrorail to Metromover, which consists of three shorter downtown loops, at Government Center Station.

The South Miami-Dade Busway has 22 sheltered stations and several unsheltered bus stops. Each station contains up-to-date transit information (maps, schedules, brochures) with newspapers, benches, and public phones added for customer comfort and convenience. Additionally, a multi-use path stretches the length of the Busway.

Busway vs. rail controversy

The Busway has been the site of many accidents, as some car drivers driving south on US-1 (which runs parallel to the Busway for much of its length), and looking to turn west, do not stop at the red arrows that govern the right turn lane at an intersection that has a Busway crossing adjacent to it. They make a right turn and go right into the path of a bus that is entering the adjacent Busway intersection. Buses currently have to slow down to before crossing the intersection, and the police often patrol the intersections looking for red arrow runners. Surprisingly, even the intersections where the Busway runs as far as 2 blocks west of US-1 suffer the same problem, with car drivers either not seeing or flatly ignoring the red lights at SW 184th and 186th Streets. City planners and residents alike have commented that rather than dismantling the former Florida East Coast Railroad line for the busway, the Metrorail system could have been extended southward over the railway line.

Paratransit (STS)

Paratransit/Special Transportation Services (STS) is available for people with a mental or physical disability that cannot ride Metrobus, Metrorail, or Metromover. For $3.00 per one-way trip, STS offers shared-ride, door-to-door travel in accessible vehicles throughout most of Miami-Dade County, in some parts of south Broward County, and in the middle and northern Keys . STS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including most holidays.

Other projects

Metrorail extensions
Metrorail extensions

New lines

For more information, see Orange Line (MDT).

See also



External links

pt:Miami-Dade Transit

Miami-Dade County, Florida

Miami-Dade County (often referred to as simply Miami-Dade, Dade County, or Dade) is a county located in the southeastern part of the state of Florida. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the county population was 2,387,170 in 2007, making it the most populous county in Florida and the ninth most populous county in the United States.[1] It is also Florida's second largest county in terms of land area, with 1,946 square miles.[2] The county's population makes up approximately half of the South Florida metropolitan area population and holds several of the principal cities of South Florida. The county seat is the City of Miami.

The county is home to 35 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. The eastern portion of the county is heavily urbanized with many high rises up the coastline, as well as the location of the county's central business district, Downtown Miami. The western portion of the county extends into the Everglades National Park and is unpopulated. East of the mainland in Biscayne Bay is also Biscayne National Park, making Miami the only metropolitan area in the United States that borders two national parks.


Pre-European contact

The earliest evidence of Native American settlement in the Miami region came from about 12,000 years ago.[3] 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 contact

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, which was Miami's first recorded name.[4] It is unknown whether he came ashore or made contact with the Indians. 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.[5] 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.[6]

The first permanent European settlers arrived in the early 1800s. 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 the Miami area.

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.[7] 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 Tuttle, the founder of Miami.
Julia Tuttle, the founder of Miami.
Flagler Street in Downtown 20 minutes after surrender during World War II.
Flagler Street in Downtown 20 minutes after surrender during 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.[8][9][10]

The second-costliest natural disaster to occur in the United States was Hurricane Andrew, which hit this county early Monday morning on August 24, 1992. It struck the central 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.

After the Cuban Revolution, exiles from Cuba migrated in large numbers to Dade County.

On November 13, 1997 voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami.[11]


Miami River in Downtown Miami
Miami River in Downtown Miami

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,431 square miles (6,297 km²), of which, 1,946 square miles (5,040 km²) of it is land and 485 square miles (1,257 km²) of it (19.96%) is water, most of which is Biscayne Bay, with another significant portion in the adjacent waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

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 the largest city within Miami-Dade County as well as the county seat, with an estimated population of 424,662.[12] Miami is the only metropolitan area in the United States that borders two national parks. Biscayne National Park is located east of the mainland, in Biscayne Bay, and the western third of Miami-Dade County lies within Everglades National Park. The northwest portion of the county contains a small part of the Big Cypress National Preserve.


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

Miami-Dade County includes 35 incorporated areas, plus a number of unincorporated regions that are mostly Census-designated places.

Adjacent counties


Age pyramid of Miami-Dade county

Age pyramid of Miami-Dade county

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. The population density was 1,158 people per square mile (447/km²). There were 852,278 housing units at an average density of 438 per square mile (169/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 69.70% White (16.6% Non-Hispanic White),[13] 17.5% African American and Black (with a large part being of Caribbean descent), 0.19% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 4.58% from other races, and 3.79% from two or more races. 65.6% 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.[14]

1,147,765 of Miami-Dade residents, or 50.9 percent of the total population, were foreign-born, a percentage greater than any other county in the United States (47% of whom were naturalized U.S. citizens),[14][15] The most common countries of foreign-born residents included Cuba (42%), Nicaragua (16%), Colombia (6%), Haiti (6%), Dominican Republic (3%), and Jamaica (3%).[14]

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.

2008 U.S. Census estimates

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

U.S. Census Bureau 2008 Ethnic/Race Demographics:[16]

According to the 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, when compared to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Hispanic population dropped 3%, the Black (non-Hispanic) population grew 3%, the White (non-Hispanic) population grew 2.5%, and the Asian population grew 0.2%.

Population Miami-Dade
2030 Projection 3,196,805
2025 Projection 3,019,785
2010 Projection 2,551,284
2006 Estimate 2,402,208
2000 Census 2,253,485
1990 Census 1,967,000

[18] [19]


As of 2000, 59.25% spoke Spanish as their first language, 32.09% English, 4.12% French Creole, 0.89% French, and 0.67% spoke Portuguese as their mother language.[20] 50.9% of the county residents were born outside the United States, while 67.90% of the population speaks a language other than English at home.[20]


Headquarters of Burger King

Headquarters of Burger King
Burger King is headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.[21] Hewlett Packard's main Latin America offices are located in unincorporated Miami-Dade County.[22]

Before its dissolution, National Airlines (NA) was headquartered by the airport.[23] Before its dissolution Air Florida was headquartered at the Dade Towers in an unincorporated area.[24]

After Frank Borman became president of Eastern Airlines in 1975, he moved Eastern's headquarters from Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan, New York City to an unincorporated area in Miami-Dade County[25][26] Around 1991 the Miami-Dade County lost several large corporations, including Eastern Airlines, which folded in 1991.[27]

Diplomatic missions

Several consulates are located in Miami-Dade County. Those in unincorporated areas within the county are the Consulate-General of Honduras,[28] the Consulate-General of Nicaragua,[29] and the Consulate-General of Panama[30].

Law and government

Miami-Dade County has operated under a unique metropolitan system of government, a "two-tier federation," since 1957. This was made possible when Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1956 that allowed the people of Dade County (as it was known then) to enact a home rule charter. Prior to this year, home rule did not exist in Florida, and all counties were limited to the same set of powers by the Florida Constitution and state law.

Division between county and municipality politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democrat
2008 41.6% 358,256 58.1% 497,386
2004 46.6% 361,095 52.9% 409,732
2000 46.3% 289,574 52.6% 328,867
1996 37.9% 209,740 57.3% 317,555
1992 43.2% 235,313 46.7% 254,609
1988 55.3% 270,937 44.3% 216,970
1984 59.2% 144,281 40.8% 223,863
1980 50.7% 265,888 40.2% 210,868
1976 40.5% 211,148 58.1% 303,047
1972 58.9% 256,529 40.8% 177,693
1968 37.0% 135,222 48.4% 176,689
1964 36.0% 117,480 64.0% 208,941
1960 42.3% 134,506 57.7% 183,114

Unlike a consolidated city-county, where the city and county governments merge into a single entity, these two entities remain separate. Instead there are two "tiers", or levels, of government: city and county. There are 35 municipalities in the county, the City of Miami being the largest.

District Commissioner
1st Barbara J. Jordan
2nd Dorrin D. Rolle
3rd Audrey Edmonson
4th Sally A. Heyman
5th Bruno A. Barreiro
6th Rebeca Sosa
7th Carlos A. Gimenez
8th Katy Sorenson
9th Dennis C. Moss, Chairman
10th Javier D. Souto
11th Joe A. Martinez
12th José Pepe Diaz
13th Natacha Seijas

Cities are the "lower tier" of local government, providing police and fire protection, zoning and code enforcement, and other typical city services within their jurisdiction. These services are paid for by city taxes. The County is the "upper tier", and it provides services of a metropolitan nature, such as emergency management, airport and seaport operations, public housing and health care services, transportation, environmental services, solid waste disposal etc. These are funded by county taxes, which are assessed on all incorporated and unincorporated areas.

Of the county's 2.2 million total residents (as of 2000), approximately 52% live in unincorporated areas, the majority of which are heavily urbanized. These residents are part of the Unincorporated Municipal Services Area (UMSA). For these residents, the County fills the role of both lower- and upper-tier government, the County Commission acting as their lower-tier municipal representative body. Residents within UMSA pay a UMSA tax, equivalent to a city tax, which is used to provide County residents with equivalent city services (police, fire, zoning, water and sewer, etc.). Residents of incorporated areas do not pay UMSA tax.

Structure of county government

Dade County Courthouse built in 1928
Dade County Courthouse built in 1928

The Executive Mayor of Miami-Dade County is elected countywide to serve a four-year term. The Mayor is not a member of the County Commission. The Mayor appoints a County Manager, with approval and consent of the Board of County Commissioners, to oversee the operations of the County Departments. The Mayor has veto power over the Commission. The current mayor is Cuban-born Carlos Alvarez.

The Board of County Commissioners is the legislative body, consisting of 13 members elected from single-member districts. Members are elected to serve four-year terms, and elections of members are staggered. The Board chooses a Chairperson, who presides over the Commission, as well as appoints the members of its legislative committees. The Board has a wide array of powers to enact legislation, create departments, and regulate businesses operating within the County. It also has the power to override the Mayor's veto with a two-thirds vote.

The election of Commissioners from single member districts came to be in 1992 after a group led by attorney and City of Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr. with the support of some African American and Hispanic civic leaders, challenged the at large election system in the courts, arguing that the present system did not allow for the election of minority commissioners, despite the fact that African American Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler had been elected several times. The court, under the ruling of Judge Graham, created the single member district election system.

Florida's Constitution provides for four elected officials to oversee executive and administrative functions for each county (called "Constitutional Officers"): Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Supervisor of Elections, and Tax Collector. However, the current Constitution allows voters in home-rule counties (including Miami-Dade) to abolish the offices and reorganize them as subordinate County departments; Miami-Dade voters chose this option.

The most visible distinction between Miami-Dade and other Florida counties is the title of its law enforcement agency. It is the only county in Florida that does not have an elected sheriff, or an agency titled "Sheriff's Office." Instead the equivalent agency is known as the Miami-Dade Police Department, and its leader is known as the Metropolitan Sheriff and Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department. The judicial offices of Clerk of the Circuit Court, State Attorney, and Public Defender are still branches of State government and are therefore independently elected and not part of County government.

Public services

Fire Rescue

The Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department is the agency that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for Miami-Dade County, Florida. The department serves 28 municipalities and all unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County from 60 fire stations[31]. The Department also provides fire protection services for Miami International Airport, Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport and Opa-Locka Airport.[32]

The communities served are Aventura, Bal Harbour, Bay Harbor Islands, Biscayne Park, Doral, El Portal, Florida City, Golden Beach, Hialeah Gardens, Homestead, Indian Creek, Islandia, Medley, Miami Lakes, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Opa-locka, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami, Surfside, Sweetwater, Sunny Isles Beach, Virginia Gardens, and West Miami.[33]

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is also the home to Urban Search and Rescue Florida Task Force 1 as well as EMS operations consisting of 57 Advanced Life Support units staffed by 760 state-certified paramedics and 640 state-certified emergency medical technicians.

Police Department

A Miami-Dade police car
A Miami-Dade police car
The Miami-Dade Police Department is full service metropolitan police department serving Miami-Dade County's unincorporated areas, although they have lenient mutual aid agreements with other municipalities, most often the City of Miami Police Department. The Miami-Dade Police Department is the largest police department in the state of Florida with over 5,000 employees. The Department is still often referred by its former name, the Metro-Dade Police or simply Metro.

The Miami-Dade Police Department operate out of nine districts throughout Miami-Dade County and have two special bureaus. The current director of the Miami-Dade Police Department is Robert Parker, who succeeded Carlos Alvarez, the current mayor of Miami-Dade County. The Department's headquarters are located in Doral, Florida.

Water and Sewer Department

Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (MDWASD) is one of the largest public utilities in the United States, employing approximately 2,700 employees as of 2007. It provides service to over 2.4 million customers, operating with an annual budget of almost $400 million. Approximately 330 million gallons of water are drawn everyday from the Biscayne Aquifer for consumer use. MDWASD has over 7,100 miles of water lines, a service area of and 14 pump stations. MDWASD has over 3,600 miles of sewage pipes, a service area of and 954 pump stations [34]


Florida International University
Florida International University
University of Miami
University of Miami
In Florida, each county is also a school district. Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is operated by an independently-elected School Board. A professional Superintendent of Schools manages the day-to-day operations of the district, who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the School Board. The Miami-Dade County Public School District is currently the fourth-largest public school district in the nation with almost 400,000 students in 2007/2008.

The Miami-Dade Public Library is one of the largest public library systems in the country, comprising 42 branch locations, and 8 branch locations currently being built/not officially opened.

Colleges and universities

Miami-Dade County is home to many private and public universities and colleges. Total approximate college/university student enrollment in the county in 2006 was about 245,000, one of the largest number for university students in the USA.



Miami International Airport 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.

General aviation airports in the county include Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport in an unincorporated area, Opa-Locka Airport in Opa-Locka, and Homestead General Aviation Airport in an unincirporated area west of Homestead. Homestead Joint Air Reserve Base, east of Homestead in an unincorporated area, serves military traffic.

Public transit

Government Center is one of the main stations for the Metrorail

Government Center is one of the main stations for the Metrorail

Public transit in Miami-Dade County is served by Miami-Dade Transit, and is the largest public transit in Florida. Miami-Dade Transit operates a heavy rail metro system Metrorail, an elevated people mover in Downtown Miami, Metromover and the bus system, Metrobus. Currently, expansion of Metrorail is underway with the construction of a new Orange Line.

Major expressways

Julia Tuttle Causeway connects Miami and Miami Beach

Julia Tuttle Causeway connects Miami and Miami Beach
Flagler Street in Downtown Miami
Flagler Street in Downtown Miami
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 cars license tag is recorded. Under Florida Law, this image can be used by the Authority to issue a toll violation.[35]

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

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.[36] 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 (eg. 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. Miami Beach has its own system of numbered streets without compass directions.

Sites of interest


Miami Art Museum in Downtown Miami
Miami Art Museum in Downtown Miami
Frost Art Museum at Florida International University
Frost Art Museum at Florida International University

Culture and wildlife

Villa Vizcaya, a popular tourist attraction

Miami Seaquarium
Miami Seaquarium

Other areas and attractions

South Beach


Sports venues

American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat.

LandShark Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Marlins
LandShark Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Marlins

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

Former venues include:

Sister cities

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


External links

Government links

County departments and agencies

Special districts

Judicial branch


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