In 2009, Miami City, the principal city within Miami-Dade County, was home to 433,143 individuals, a majority of which was Hispanic/Latino (68.5%). Miami-Dade County was home to 2.5 million residents, of which 62.5% were Hispanic/Latino. Below are some key demographic statistics about Miami:
Income and Poverty
In 2009, the median household income was $28,999 with 20.5% of families living below the federal poverty level (37.2% of children under 18 were living below the poverty level). Some Miami neighborhoods including Wynwood, Overtown and Little Haiti, have significantly lower median incomes (35-52% less than Miami’s median household income).
Over 31% of Miami residents ages 25 and older did not receive a high school diploma. Take into consideration individuals ages 18 to 25 who will not complete schooling and this number would be significantly higher. In 2010, the graduation rate in Miami-Dade County was 72%, while an increase over prior years, is still considerably poor.
In 2009, 69.4% of Miami residents spoke Spanish at home. Of those, 40.7% speak English less than very well.
These statistics just begin to tell the story about Miami’s lowest level of civic engagement among major cities in the United States. Civic engagement includes acts of voting and other political participation as well as volunteering and donating to charity. But according to the recent report, A Tale of Two Cities, income and educational attainment do not tell the full story. Instead, these factors combined with civic values that focus more on the electoral process (Miami has higher than expected rates of voting and discussion of politics) to the exclusion of the other forms of civic engagement results in this lowest level of engagement. Weak community institutions – both the elected government and the nonprofit sector – also exemplify this. Only 24% of survey respondents said they could trust the government at least most of the time, and only 21% thought city leadership was at least good. Also, the nonprofit sector in Miami is considerably weak, in both the number and the support received, compared to other major cities. These factors combined exemplify the poor civic engagement in Miami.
To change this pattern, UrbanPromise Miami believes it starts with the new generation of young people, who through the proper academic, emotional, social and spiritual nutrition; they can improve these negative statistics and affect positive change in their communities. The founders of UrbanPromise Miami identified a model that has shown to be successful in Camden, NJ and through replication of this model in Miami, hope to see the change that they seek in the city in which they call home.