Miami is located at the southeastern corner of the United States near the tip of the Florida peninsula. Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, Miami grew rapidly because of its resort and recreational opportunities.
Since 1980, however, a more diversified economy has emerged in the city and metropolitan region. Miami's economy is increasingly international in its orientation; the city's connections to Latin America are particularly vital.
The 1980s saw a transition from heavy reliance on tourism to a more diversified regional economy, thereby enhancing employment opportunities for many. However, strong economic disparities remained among the races, and three major race riots erupted in Miami's inner city during the decade.
Hurricane Andrew devastated the southern suburbs of Miami in 1992, resulting in the costliest natural disaster in American history up to that time. By the mid-1990s greater Miami had largely recovered, but its geographic position makes it vulnerable to future tropical storm hazards.
Miami is also faced with an exodus of wealth and business interests northward from Dade County into Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Tourism still plays a significant role, with about 14 million visitors entering Dade County each year. A sizable proportion of this flow is focused on the port of Miami; the city's growing fleet of cruise ships has made it one of the world's leading passenger ports.
Trade is another important activity, and the city increasingly serves as the gateway between the United States and Central America, the Caribbean, and South America.
Banking and international finance have become major functions of Miami's bilingual business community.
Light industry is also important, and lightweight clothing is a notable product.
Miami International Airport is one of the nation's largest, and the city is served by an interstate highway, Amtrak railway service, and Tri-Rail commuter railway service to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. A heavy-rail transit system opened in 1984 as a single line through downtown Miami, connecting Hialeah and the Dadeland complex south of Coral Gables. In addition, a monorail circles through downtown.
Streets of Miami: Ocean Drive
Metropolitan Miami is the southern anchor of the Gold Coast Megalopolis.
The Gold Coast Megalopolis is a 160-km (100-mi) continuous corridor of cities and suburbs is home to more than 4 million people.
Miami's climate is marginally tropical, with hot, moist summers and warm, drier winters and an average annual temperature of about 24° C (76° F).
Major cities near Miami to :
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