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The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current, runs northward just 15 miles (24 km) off the coast, allowing the city's climate to stay warm and mild all year.
View from one of the higher points in Miami, west of downtown.
It is the second-largest US city (after El Paso, Texas) with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Miami and its metropolitan area grew from just over 1,000 residents to nearly 5.5 million residents in just 110 years (1896–2006).
After Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba in 1959, many wealthy Cubans sought refuge in Miami, further increasing the population.
It accommodates some of the world's largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines.The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region.The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains Miami Beach and South Beach.In the 1980s and 1990s, South Florida weathered social problems related to drug wars, immigration from Haiti and Latin America, and the widespread destruction of Hurricane Andrew.Racial and cultural tensions were sometimes sparked, but the city developed in the latter half of the 20th century as a major international, financial, and cultural center.