Miami is Latin America's Global City

A home to millions from across the region's 32 diverse countries, today Miami serves as a major cultural, corporate, and economic hub for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Strategically located at the tip of the Florida Peninsula, Miami is the southernmost major urban area in the United States, and a major trasportation and transshipment hub for the Americas. It has the closest east coast US port to Latin America that is neo-Panamax ready and the global airport that is most-connected to Latin America.

Home to more than 6 million residents, Miami now ranks as the 8th largest urban area in the country ahead of Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Ranked 20th on FDI Intelligence's Global Cities of the Future, Miami is internationally-oriented. Miami-Dade County ranks first in the United States in foreign-born share of the population of counties with at least half a million people. Miami’s population is also young and dynamic — the average age in Greater Downtown Miami is 35, and over two-thirds of the population is working age.

The regional economy is driven by several industries, including tourism/hospitality, trade, real estate, health care, and transportation.

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Miami’s Gross Regional Product of $300 billion makes it the equal of Hong Kong or Singapore in size. That economy has been growing, as well: its 20% growth between 2010 and 2014 make it the 5th fastest growing city in the United States. Economic growth has driven the unemployment rate down to a post-global economic crisis low of 4.9%.

Miami’s economy is driven by engaging with the greater world, with over half of all jobs in the region oriented outward. Trade and Transshipment represent just under 30% of all employment in the Miami area, while professional services and finance are 16%, and jobs in hospitality represent another 9% of the area’s workforce. Health and education, another source of Miami’s reputation nationally and globally, employs 12% of the population.

To keep this pool of talent competitive in a global marketplace, government in the Miami area — through the One Community One Goal program — has looked to boost development of investment and business in the following areas: aviation, banking & finance, creative design, hospitality & tourism, technology, life sciences & healthcare, and trade & logistics. 

In recent years, Miami to become a hub for entrepreneurship in the United States, ranking second in the country in start-up activity and sixth in small business activity according to the Kauffman Foundation. Annual startup activity more than doubled in Miami between 2000 and 2012. Venture capital is attracted to Miami because of access to South Florida and Latin American startups, access to potential local and Latin American investors and a convenient world-class location for investor meetings, portfolio updates and fundraising.

These innovators and entrepreneurs are coming into their own among larger companies that have made Miami their base for regional or global activity. In 2016 there were 65 multinationals overseeing at least $1 billion in annual sales from South Florida.


The state and local government takes a very active role in promoting economic development in the Miami area. The two main vehicles for government support are Enterprise Florida and the Beacon Council:

  • Enterprise Florida is a public-private partnership between Florida’s business and government leaders and is the principal economic development organization for Florida. It is the State of Florida’s platform to promote business. Enterprise Florida recruits new business to the state, and works to retain and expand existing industry and business. Enterprise Florida focuses its economic development efforts on a wide range of industries, including: aviation/aerospace, life sciences, information technology, homeland security/defense, financial/professional services, logistics and distribution, clean technology, manufacturing, headquarters and beyond.

  • The Beacon Council is Miami-Dade County’s leading organization foroffering economic and business development services in the Miami area. The Beacon Council hosts receptions, seminars and networking events for delegations from key international locations. It also leads economic development missions and participation in industry trade shows and conferences.

Federal Incentives

  • New Markets Tax Credit Program 
  • EB-5 Program 
  • Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)
  • Community Development Entity (CDE)
  • UC Economic Development Program (EDA)

State Incentives

  • Community Development District (CDD)
  • Capital Investment Tax Credit (CITC)
  • Qualified Target Industry Tax Credit (QTI)
  • High Impact Performance Incentive Grant(HIPI)
  • Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF)
  • Community Contribution Closing Fund (CCTC) 

County and City Incentives 

  • Empowerment Zone
    • Employment Tax Credits 
    • Facility Bonds 
    • Interest Deductions 
  • Enterprise Zone
    • Sales Tax Credits
    • Business Equipment Sales Tax Refunds


Ranked as the 10th Best Connected Major City in the World by FDI Intelligence, Miami benefits from world-class land, air, and sea infrastructure. Miami International Airport (MIA) is a global airport that gives Miami the ability to reach every corner of the planet. MIA caters to 44.5 million passengers per year, of which 21.2 million are international travelers. This makes it the second international airport in the US for passenger traffic (after New York’s JFK). The two million tons of cargo it moves per year make it first in the nation and tenth globally.  

The area also benefits from the air infrastructure of Fort Lauderdale International (FLL — 21st busiest US airport), which is a major domestic hub in the United States with growing international business — Emirates began a direct flight from Dubai in December. Palm Beach International (PBI — 52nd busiest US airport) also provides connectivity to the US, Canada and the Bahamas. 

Miami’s sea infrastructure is also world-class. PortMiami is the number one passenger cruise terminal in the world, welcoming 4.9 million passengers per year through eight passenger terminals to 19 different cruise lines. PortMiami is also a major cargo port — the eleventh busiest container terminal in the United States — moving eight million tons of cargo on over 1,200 cargo vessels a year. It is the only U.S. east coast port south of Virginia that is Post-Panamax ready, with -50/-52 foot drafts and Post-Panamax cranes.  

This port capability benefits from a recently completed $1.3 billion capital improvement program (including a fast-access tunnel and on-dock intermodal rail). 

The Miami area is also serviced by Port Everglades, the tenth busiest container terminal in the U.S. — moving 22.1 million tons of cargo — and South Florida’s main seaport for receiving petroleum products including gasoline, jet fuel, and alternative fuels.  Two years ago Port Everglades expanded cargo capacity through the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) connecting to rail.  

The Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway is the backbone of land connectivity for these ports, and provides access to 70% of the U.S. population in 1-4 business days through interconnections to two Class I railroads. Passenger rail connections are going to branch beyond existing Amtrak service with the launch of Brightline high-speed commuter rail service this year, connecting Downtown Miami with Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, with extended service to Orlando expected in 2018. 

Digital resources are the foundation of economic opportunity in the 21st century. Boasting a Tier-IV uptime facility — the Terramark Network Access Point (NAP) of the Americas — as well as a Tier-III uptime facility — Telefónica USA’s KeyCenter, Miami is leading global digital interconnectivity. These connections make Miami one of the world’s top-five best-interconnected cities, ahead of San Francisco, Chicago, and D.C. – and the only one in the U.S. where optical, Ethernet, voice and Internet traffic are handed off in one location. 


But above and beyond Miami’s’ importance on it’s own, what makes Miami unique is it’s connections with Latin America. 

Miami is the city that is most connected to Latin America. On the tip of the Florida Peninsula, Miami is well positioned to be in contact with Latin America. Miami International Airport is the number one gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean, with over 15 million passengers on over 1,100 weekly departures to 70 regional destinations in every country in the hemisphere. With this convenience, MIA handles 49% of the U.S.-South American passenger market, 26% of U.S.-Central American, and 27% of the U.S.-Caribbean passenger markets. Miami also handles approximately 82% of all airfreight between Latin America / Caribbean and the USA. 

The sea connects Miami to Latin America, as well. Over 50% of PortMiami’s shipping traffic is with Latin America and the Caribbean, providing a transshipment hub for perishables from Latin America to the world. Maersk’s SeaLand and Singapore’s APL North American Express Service (NAE/ACX) last year began service from Port Everglades to Latin America, further integrating South Florida with the region. 

Miami is also the city most financially connected with Latin America. As the U.S. financial center for Latin America, Miami has 100+ financial institutions and 40+ foreign bank offices that cater to the region. Miami is also the Latin America headquarters for over 600 multinational corporations. 

Finally, Miami is Latin America’s most digitally connected city, as well as the closest mature telecom hub to Latin America. Miami connects Latin America to the world. 90% of data traffic from Central and South America passes through the region, with seven fiber optic cables from Latin America landing in the Miami region. 

As a result, the Miami area is the US’s primary connection to Latin America. Trade with the region through Miami totals over $72 billion a year, and represents anywhere from 23% (South America — $43 billion), 34% (Central America — $17 billion), to 38% (Caribbean — $13 billion) of US trade with Latin America. 


Beyond the physical connection, Miami has a cultural connection with Latin America that makes it the nexus between Latin America and the world. 

Miami is the cultural heart of Latin America, where Latin Americans can feel at home, immersed in their culture and community; and the rest of the world can feel at home, globally connected and secure in the rule of law and stability of the United States. 

Miami is part of Latin America. Close to 70% of Miami's population is Hispanic, and just over half of Miami’s population is foreign born. Generations of Cuban-Americans have developed the city over the past fifty years, and still comprise over half (54%) of the area’s Hispanic population. But in the past 15 years around 100,000 middle-income Latin Americans have followed them from countries including Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Brazil among others. In the first half of this decade, 79,357 Cubans moved to area, as did 22,173 Haitians, 15,897 Colombians, 13,583 Jamaicans and 9,644 Venezuelans. Those communities in the Miami area keep the city connected to Latin America, and make the transition between Miami and Latin America frictionless for those who travel between the two regions.  

Miami reflects all of Latin America. Unlike other cities in the United States or the rest of the world that have ties to just one country in Latin America, Miami has roots in every country in the hemisphere, allowing for a depth of connection with the region that is unparalleled. And unlike other cities in the United States, Miami also represents all strata of Latin American society, from immigrants looking for a new and better life, to the middle class looking to exercise it’s growing consumer dollar, to more well off segments of society looking to diversify investments and protect capital. 

As a result, it’s no surprise then that Miami has 34 consulates and 12 trade offices from across the Americas. 


In 2015 the Miami Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) surpassed 6 million residents for the first time. This milestone represented an 8.05% increase on the population recorded during the 2010 Census, making the Miami MSA the 4th fastest growing major metropolitan area in the U.S over the past 5 years.  The Miami MSA is now the 8th most populous metropolitan in the United States, ahead of Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle.  

Since 2010, the population of Downtown Miami has increased at a rate of 6.5% per year while the city as a whole has grown by 1.8% and Miami-Dade by 1.4%. Overall the population of downtown Miami has grown by 32.6% since 2010, accounting for 63% of new residents within the city in 2016.

Like similar urban areas in the U.S., population growth within Miami’s urban core has been driven by highly educated, young working professionals, with incomes above the regional and national average. Today almost 50% of downtown Miami’s population is comprised of individuals between the age 25-44, while 59% of the population 25+ has a college education.  This influx of young urban professionals has pushed the per capita income to $50,707 and the median household income to $97,671. Within Brickell, the primary residential district, the average household income is even higher at $127,758.