A national reporting project with student journalists at the University of Miami and 10 other universities.
Creator: Charlotte Grimes, Knight Chair, Syracuse University
Miami Director: Joseph B. Treaster, Knight Chair, University of Miami
Coconut Grove is a mainly middle and upper middle income neighborhood that stretches along Biscayne Bay just south of downtown Miami. It has about 20,000 people and a small business district with cafes and shops. First settled in 1825, it is the oldest section of Miami. It developed a reputation as a haven for writers, artists and musicians, but now has many luxury condominiums and multi-million dollar homes.
Coral Gables is an affluent town of nearly 50,000 people west of downtown Miami and Biscayne Bay. It has a vibrant business district of restaurants, banks and modest office towers with executives of more than 140 multinational corporations. Coral Gables was developed in 1925 as one of America's first planned communities and has become a diplomatic center with consular and trade offices from 23 countries. In the previous election, 51.9 percent voted for the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain.
South Miami is a small, compact town of about 12,000 people in southern Miami-Dade County. It has some people of modest means, but tends toward middle and upper middle class. Though the town was settled in 1897 and officially incorporated in 1927, it looks like most of the rest of well-to-do South Florida with palm trees and hibiscus and lots of white-painted stucco and touches of Mediterranean architecture.
South Florida is one of the largest and most diverse metropolitan areas in the United States, with more than 5.6 million people living and working in a narrow, 110-mile long corridor along the Atlantic Ocean from Palm Beach County southward to Miami-Dade County. The biggest cities are Miami, a gateway to Latin America, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Forty-six percent of the registered voters are Democrats, 27.6 percent Republicans and 25.6 percent are independents.