South East Florida

Miami Beach, Florida

Southeast Florida

Southeast Florida contains Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. This is one of the most densely populated and developed areas of the state and the Miami metropolitan area is the fourth largest urban area in the country.

Miami is the area's biggest city. It is a popular tourist destination and provides easy access to international markets in Latin America. Network Access Point, the AMPATH network, and many other internet related companies are all found in this region, making it one of the major telecom hubs in the world.

Southeast Florida Links:

There are three Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in Southeast Florida:

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach MSA

The second-longest MSA in the US, Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach includes Miami-Dade, Broward, and coastal Palm Beach Counties. The MSA is the most populous in Florida and the eighth most-populous in the country. The urbanized areas are confined to a strip of land located between the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean.

Miami-Fort Lauderdale is the sixteenth-largest television market in the nation.


The City of Miami has the distinction of being the only major U.S. city to have been founded by a woman. Julia Tuttle, a widow who moved from Cleveland after her husband's death, convinced oil and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to extend his railroad from Palm Beach. The railroad was completed in 1896, and Miami was founded the same year.

Miami experienced decades of booming population, especially after World War II, when soldiers who were stationed and trained on Miami Beach got "sand in their shoes" and moved to get away from cold temperatures up north.

The most important event in Miami's history did not even happen in the U.S. Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution in Cuba prompted large numbers of Cubans to flee the island for exile in Miami. This population paved the way for successive waves of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean. With a population that is over 60% Hispanic, Miami is sometimes referred to as the "Capital of Latin America".

Miami is a growing city populated by over 400,000 people. A majority of those people speak Spanish as their first language. Over half of residents were born outside the U.S. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, which is home for about 2.5 million people. Miami-Dade is the most-populous county in Florida and the seventh-most-populous in the U.S.

Miami's economy is primarily based on services, including tourism and healthcare, though many companies have chosen to locate in Miami or started there. Numerous companies are headquartered in Greater Miami, including Burger King, Carnival Cruise Lines, Telemundo, Univision, Perry Ellis International, Bacardi, and world-famous architectural firm Arquitectonica. Numerous U.S. and foreign concerns base their Latin American headquarters in Miami to take advantage of the well-educated Spanish-speaking population, including Sony, Microsoft, American Airlines, Wal-Mart, and Disney. In addition, some Latin American companies headquarter their U.S. divisions in the city, such as Odebrecht Construction, a Brazilian firm. The Brickell neighborhood contains the highest concentration of international banks in the nation.

Miami is classified by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network as an Alpha- world-class city. Terremark (a subsidiary of Verizon) operates Network Access Point of the Americas, an important data center and Internet exchange point for routing traffic to and from Latin America, in downtown Miami. Another exchange point, the AMPATH network, is in Miami, but it is dedicated to research and education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

PortMiami is the busiest in the world for cruise and passenger traffic, having handled four million cruise passengers in 2013. It is also an important port for cargo, with over half of that cargo coming in from Latin America and the Caribbean. Miami International Airport is the nation's busiest airport for international cargo and one of the most trafficked for foreign visitors. Four general aviation airports elsewhere in the county handle private aircraft and pilot training.

Miami is home to Florida International University; while the University of Miami, Barry University, St. Thomas University, Florida Memorial University, and campuses of Johnson & Wales University and Nova Southeastern University are located in the suburbs. Miami Dade College, with campuses across the county, is the second-largest institution of higher learning in the nation by enrollment.


Fort Lauderdale

Named for Major William Lauderdale, who ordered a fort built on the New River during the Second Seminole War in the 1830s, Fort Lauderdale was largely uninhabited until the 20th century. The arrival of the railroad in 1896 changed all that. During World War II, the disappearance of Flight 19 from Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale revived the Bermuda Triangle myth. The city became a major Spring Break destination in the 1950s, which was only compounded by the celebration of the phenomenon in the film Where the Boys Are. The city aggressively pushed out Spring Breakers in the 1980s and created a cultural district downtown in the 2000s.

Known as "Venice of America" for its numerous inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale is home for over 165,000 people, making it the eighth-largest city in Florida. Broward County, of which Fort Lauderdale is the seat, has over 1.5 million inhabitants, the second-most-populous county in the state.

The largest segment of Fort Lauderdale's economy is tourism. Almost a third of visitors attend a convention at the Broward County Convention Center. Many tourists come from the LGBT community because Fort Lauderdale and the adjacent City of Wilton Manors are gay-friendly with large numbers of LGBT people and businesses that cater to that population.

The city is also a major center for cruise travel. Port Everglades serves the third-most cruise passengers annually of any port in the nation. The port is also an important hub for container cargo and petroleum. The city's coastal location allows for other maritime recreation, including yachting. This had led to the presence of a large maritime manufacturing and repair industry.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is ranked number twenty-one nationwide for the number of passengers. The Florida Department of Transportation estimates the airport's economic impact around $10.6 billion.

Though the institution has campuses throughout the county, Broward College's administrative offices are at the Willis Holcombe Center in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The city hosts City College and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in addition to satellite campuses of Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University. Nova Southeastern University is located in the suburbs.


Pompano Beach

The city of Pompano Beach was founded by two railroad workers who were conducting a survey for the Florida East Coast Railway expansion to Miami. Local legend has it that the name comes from a local fish that an early settler liked. The city is in northern Broward county and is home to about 100,000 people.

Pompano's economy is primarily driven by tourism, though manufacturing and healthcare are also strong. Pompano Beach's manufacturing centers are primarily devoted to the construction industry. The largest employer in the city is Pompano Park, a horse racing track to which a casino, The Isle, was added.

The headquarters of the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority, the organization that runs the Tri-Rail light commuter rail, is located in Pompano Beach. The North Campus of Broward College is located in the adjacent city of Coconut Creek.


West Palm Beach

The City of West Palm Beach was incorporated in 1894. It was founded by Henry Flagler, who extended his railroad line to Lake Worth and built a pair of luxury hotels on Palm Beach. West Palm was created as the home for the hotel workers. It became the seat of Palm Beach County upon its creation in 1909. Like the rest of South Florida, West Palm experienced rapid population growth after World War II.

Around 100,000 people call West Palm Beach home. West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce is the 38th-largest television market in the nation.

Its primary economic driver is tourism, though the healthcare industry is very strong. The city also has a strong manufacturing base, especially with respect to the construction industry. West Palm Beach hosts Palm Beach Atlantic University and a campus of Northwood University.


Boca Raton

Boca Raton is a city of over 80,000 in southern Palm Beach County. Boca is famous as the birthplace of the IBM personal computer. Since 1970, IBM owned and operated a research and manufacturing complex in the city, and it was the team that was based there that developed and assembled the first PCs IBM sold in the early 1980s. IBM moved their PC operations to North Carolina, but their former facility is now a research and business park.

Tourism is important to Boca Raton's economy, but white-collar jobs also make up a substantial piece of the pie. Office Depot's corporate offices are in the city, as is the headquarters for GEO Group (formerly known as Wackenhut), among others. Boca's reputation as a retirement destination means that healthcare is also an important economic motivator.

Boca Raton is an affluent city with a median income well above the national median. The city has strict codes to enforce a clean look across the city. Signs are heavily restricted and billboards are not allowed, for instance.

The main campus of Florida Atlantic University is located in Boca Raton. Lynn University is also in the city, as is a campus of Palm Beach State College.


Sebastian-Vero Beach

Sebastian-Vero Beach is contained within Indian River County, home to over 135,000 people and one of the wealthiest counties in the nation.

This region makes up the northern portion of the Treasure Coast, so named because a Spanish treasure fleet wrecked off the coast in 1715. Occasionally, valuables lost in that destructive event wash up on the Florida shore.


The City of Sebastian is home to about 22,000 people. Its economy is driven by tourism and healthcare. Velocity Aircraft is headquartered at the Sebastian Airport.

Nearby Pelican Island National Island Refuge was the first national wildlife refuge in the nation. Sebastian is home to a campus of Indian River State College.


Vero Beach

Vero Beach, the seat of Indian River County, has more than 15,000 residents. The city's economy is primarily driven by services, including tourism and healthcare. Piper Aircraft, maker of general aviation aircraft including the Piper Cub, has their headquarters and manufacturing facility in Vero Beach. They are one of the largest private employers in the area.

Vero Beach is known for its golfing, fishing, and surfing. It is also home to a Disney resort. The city is the location of the Mueller Campus of Indian River State College.


Port St. Lucie MSA

The Port St. Lucie MSA covers St. Lucie and Martin Counties. The region has a population in excess of 400,000 people. This makes up the southern portion of the Treasure Coast, though it is sometimes referred to as the Research Coast because of the concentration of biological research firms.

Port St. Lucie

Port St. Lucie was developed as a planned community in the 1960s. As late as the 1950s the area was sparsely inhabited. The residents of that first community refused to incorporate, though the developer included future building projects in the city.

The 2010 Census found that the City of Port St. Lucie is home for over 160,000, a number almost double that of the 2000 Census. Port St. Lucie is the ninth-largest city in Florida.

The city's economy is largely driven by the services, especially tourism and healthcare, however, the city is positioning itself as a player in life science research. The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies opened a LEED-certified research center in 2008 and the Mann Research Center is a 150-acre research park.

The city boasts three PGA tour golf courses that are available for use by the public. The New York Mets hold their spring training at Tradition Field. The city hosts a campus of Indian River State College.


Fort Pierce

Formerly the principal city of the Port St. Lucie MSA, Fort Pierce has a population over 40,000. West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce is the 38th-largest television market in the nation.

Established in 1901, Fort Pierce is the county seat of St. Lucie County. It is named for a Second Seminole War-era fort established by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin K. Pierce. During World War II the navy established a base on the beach and trained the first Underwater Demolition Teams, or frogmen, the predecessors to the Navy SEALs. Today, Fort Pierce is home to the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum.

The city's economy is primarily in the service sectors, including tourism, education, and healthcare. Fort Pierce is located near the Indian River Lagoon, the estuary with the most biological diversity in the nation. Because of this, the city hosts the Smithsonian Marine Station and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution of Florida Atlantic University. The city contains the main campus of Indian River State College.


Sue Goldthorp

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South East Florida Cities

There are 55 cities in South East Florida. These are listed below. Click on a link for details.

Belle Glade, Big Pine Key, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Bryant, Canal Point, Dania, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach, Fellsmere, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Hallandale, Hialeah, Hobe Sound, Hollywood, Homestead, Indiantown, Islamorada, Jensen Beach, Jupiter, Key Biscayne, Key Colony Beach, Key Largo, Key West, Lake Harbor, Lake Worth, Long Key, Loxahatchee, Marathon, Marathon Shores, Miami, Miami Beach, North Miami Beach, North Palm Beach, Ochopee, Opa Locka, Pahokee, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm City, Pembroke Pines, Pompano Beach, Port Saint Lucie, Port Salerno, Roseland, Sebastian, South Bay, Stuart, Summerland Key, Tavernier, Vero Beach, Wabasso, West Palm Beach, Winter Beach,

Southeast Florida Quick Facts

County Population
Economic Activity
2007 (Millions)
Population Growth
2010 to 2012
Median Household
Income 2011
Median Home Value
2007 to 2011
Indian River County 140,567 $2,455 1.8% $46,363 76,251 $179,300
St. Lucie County 283,866 $5,576 2.2% $44,947 137,581 $157,600
Martin County 148,817 $4,347 1.7% $53,612 78,356 $238,200
Palm Beach County 1,356,545 $38,668 2.8% $52,951 668,159 $236,600
Broward County 1,815,137 $73,668 3.8% $51,782 810,795 $225,300
Miami-Dade County 2,591,035 $110,643 3.8% $43,957 990,558 $246,800
Monroe County 74,809 $2,136 2.4% $53,889 52,552 $463,100
Total 6,410,776 $237,494 2.6% $49,643 2,814,252 $249,557