Hialeah has the highest percentage of Cuban and Cuban American residents of any city in the United States, at 74% of the population, making them a distinctive and prominent feature of the city's culture.
Hialeah also has one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the country. In 2000, 92% of residents reported speaking Spanish at home, and the language is an important part of daily life in the city. This has attracted many companies to Hialeah, such as Telemundo, the second largest Spanish-language television network in the United States, which is headquartered in the city.
Hialeah is served by the Miami Metrorail at Okeechobee, Hialeah, and Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer stations. The Okeechobee and Hialeah stations serve primarily as park-and-ride commuter stations to commuters and residents going into Downtown Miami, and Tri-Rail station to Miami International Airport and north to West Palm Beach.
The city's name is most commonly attributed to Muskogee origin, "Haiyakpo" (prairie) and "hili" (pretty) combining in "Hialeah" to mean "pretty prairie". Alternatively, the word is of Seminole origin meaning "Upland Prairie". The city is located upon a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.
The Seminole interpretation of its name, "High Prairie", evokes a picture of the grassy plains used by the native Indians coming from the everglades to dock their canoes and display their wares for the newcomers of Miami. This "high prairie" caught the eye of pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss and Missouri cattleman James H. Bright in 1921. Together, they developed not only the town of Hialeah but also Hialeah Park Race Track.
In the early "Roaring '20s", Hialeah produced significant entertainment contributions. Sporting included the Spanish sport of jai alai and greyhound racing, and media included silent movies like D. W. Griffith's The White Rose which was made at the Miami Movie Studios located in Hialeah. However, the 1926 Miami hurricane brought many of these things to an end.
In the years since its incorporation in 1925, many historical events and people have been associated with Hialeah. The opening of the horse racing course at Hialeah Park Race Track in 1925 (which was nicknamed the "Grand Dame") received more coverage in the Miami media than any other sporting event in the history of Dade County up to that time and since then there have been countless horse racing histories played out at the world-famous 220-acre (0.89 km2) park. It was considered one of the most grand of thoroughbred horse racing parks with its majestic Mediterranean style architecture and was considered the Jewel of Hialeah at the time.
The Park's grandeur has attracted millions, included among them are names known around the world such as the Kennedy family, Harry Truman, General Omar Bradley, Winston Churchill, and J. P. Morgan. The Hialeah Park Race Track also holds the dual distinction of being an Audubon Bird Sanctuary due to its famous pink flamingos and being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The famous aviator Amelia Earhart in 1937 said her final good-byes to the continental U.S. from Hialeah as she left on her ill-fated flight around the world in 1937.
While Hialeah was once envisioned as a playground for the elite, Cuban exiles, fleeing Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution as well as World War II veterans and city planners transformed the city into a working-class community. Hialeah historian Patricia Fernández-Kelly explained "It became an affordable Eden." She further describes the city as "a place where different groups have left their imprint while trying to create a sample of what life should be like." Several waves of Cuban exiles, starting after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and continuing through to the Freedom Flights from 1965–1973, the Mariel boatlift in 1980, and the Balseros or boat people of the late 1990s, created what at least one expert has considered the most economically successful immigrant enclave in U.S. history as Hialeah is the only American industrial city that continues to grow.
From a population of 1,500 in 1925, Hialeah has grown at a rate faster than most of the ten largest cities in the State of Florida since the 1960s and holds the rank of Florida's fifth-largest city, with more than 224,000 residents. The city is also one of the largest employers in Dade County. Predominantly Hispanic, Hialeah residents are characterized as having assimilated their cultural heritage and traditions into a hard-working and diverse community proud of its ethnicity and family oriented neighborhoods.
In January 2009, Forbes magazine listed Hialeah as one of the most boring cities in the United States citing the city's large population and anonymity in the national media.
Hialeah is located at 25°51′38″N 80°17′38″W (25.860474, -80.293971).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.7 square miles (51 km2). 19.2 square miles (50 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (2.53%) is water. Unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Miami Lakes, Opa-locka
Unincorporated Miami-Dade County Westview
Hialeah Gardens, Medley, Miami Springs Westview, West Little River, Gladeview, Brownsville, Miami
Miami Springs Miami
Hialeah Gardens, Medley, Miami Springs
Hialeah is the tenth-largest city in the United States among cities with a population density of more than 10,000 people per square mile.
As of 2010, there were 74,067 households, with 3.9% being vacant. As of 2000, 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.4% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.7% were non-families. 14.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.15 and the average family size was 3.39.
In 2000, the age distribution of the population showed 23.0% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.6 males.
In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,492, and the median income for a family was $31,621. Males had a median income of $23,133 versus $17,886 for females. The per capita income for the city was $12,402. About 16.0% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.2% of those under age 18 and 22.4% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2010, Hialeah had the highest percentage of Cuban and Cuban American residents in the United States, with 73.37% of the populace. It had the forty-third highest percentage of Colombian and Colombian American residents in the US, at 3.16% of the city's population, and the eighty-fifth highest percentage of Dominican and Dominican American residents in the US, at 1.81% of the its population. It also had the thirty-eighth highest percentage of Hondurans and Honduran American in the US, at 1.15%, while it had the eighth highest percentage of Nicaraguans and Nicaraguan American, at 4.07% of all residents.
Hialeah ranks #2 (nearby Hialeah Gardens ranks as #1) in the list of cities in the United States where Spanish is most spoken. As of 2000, 92.14% of the population spoke Spanish at home, while those who spoke only English made up 7.37% of the population. All other languages spoken were below 1% of the population.
The City of Hialeah is a significant commercial center in Miami-Dade County. The city is host to national retailers such as Starbucks, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Lowe's, The Home Depot as well as homegrown business such as Navarro and Sedano's.
Hialeah is also home to vibrant community of mom and pop stores. These shops have been noted to actively and successfully compete against national name brand retailers, outfitters, and franchises. In order to remain competitive national businesses have altered their traditional business strategy to meet the demands of the local community. Publix supermarkets opened a Publix Sabor along one of the city's main streets which caters exclusively to Latin American and Hispanic clientele. Moreover, while most of the manufacturing and cloth industry that made Hialeah an industrial city in the 1970s-1980s have disappeared, new electronics and technology businesses have reinvigorated the local economy.
Westland Mall provides residents with over 100 stores and several eateries. Macy's, J. C. Penney, and Sears are the main anchor stores located at Westland Mall. Visitors can dine at Fuddruckers, IHOP, Los Ranchos Steakhouse, Chili's, Manchu Wok, McDonald's, and Edy's among other eateries.
Telemundo, the second largest Spanish-language TV network in the United States is headquartered at 2290 West 8th Avenue in Hialeah.
In March 2009, it was announced that a $40–$90 Million restoration project was set to begin within the year on the Hialeah Park Race Track. On May 7, 2009 the Florida legislature agreed to a deal with the Seminole Tribe of Florida that allowed Hialeah Park to operate slot machines and run Quarter Horse races. The historic racetrack reopened on November 28, 2009 but only for quarter horse races. The park installed slot machines in January 2010 as part of a deal to allow for two calendar seasons of racing. The races went on all the way until February 2, 2010. Only a portion of the park has been restored and an additional $30 million will be needed to complete this first phase of the project. The full transformation is expected to cost $1 billion since the plan includes a complete redevelopment of the surrounding area including the construction of an entertainment complex to include a hotel, restaurants, casinos, stores and a theater.In June 2010 concerns were raised over the preservation of Hialeah Park's historical status as the planned development threatens to hurt Hialeah Park's status as a National Historic Landmark.
The City of Hialeah boasts 3 tennis centers, more than 5 public swimming pools and aquatic centers, and more than 14 public parks totaling more than 100 acres (0.40 km2) combined. Furthermore, "Milander Park features a municipal auditorium and a 10,000 seat football stadium."
Amelia Earhart Park also serves the Hialeah community. Located just south of the Opa Locka Airport, the park consists of 515 acres, including a five-acre Bark Park for dogs. It offers a variety of amenities, programs and activities including mountain biking, soccer, Tom Sawyer's Play Island and Bill Graham Farm Village. It also houses the new Miami Watersports Complex (MWC) which offers cable and boat wakeboarding, waterskiing, wake surfing, knee boarding and paddle boarding.
The University of Florida College of Dentistry operates the Hialeah Dental Clinic. It opened in 1997 to serve Hispanic populations in South Florida.
Hialeah is located within Florida's 27th Congressional District. It is currently represented in the House of Representatives by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican. According to the nonpartisan Bay Area Center for Voting Research (BACVR) Hialeah, Florida is the fourth most conservative city in the United States. The current mayor of Hialeah is Carlos Hernández.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools serves Hialeah.
Two high schools serving the Hialeah community, Mater Academy Charter High School and Miami Lakes Tech, were named as "Silver" award winners in U.S. News & World Report's "Best High Schools 2008 Search".Champagnat Catholic School - Serves mainly southern and south-central Hialeah
Our Lady of Charity School - A private Catholic school not formally associated with the Roman Catholic Church, is located in Hialeah.
St. John the Apostle School - Serves mainly southern and south-central Hialeah
Immaculate Conception School
Horeb Christian School
Edison Private School
Miami-Dade College Hialeah Campus has served as the city's academic center since 1980. Besides its academic mission, the campus also sponsors numerous cultural and community events.
College of Business and Technology
Florida National University
Hialeah's public library was founded in 1924, one year prior to the incorporation of the city. While over the years the county wide Miami-Dade Public Library System has taken over the libraries of most of the cities in the county, Hialeah public libraries function independently from the county wide system.
In 2013, Hialeah was named a top five city with the worst drivers by Slate and Allstate.
Hialeah is served by Miami-Dade Transit along major thoroughfares by Metrobus, and by the Miami Metrorail, Tri-Rail, and Amtrak at:
Metrorail: Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer (North 79th Street and West 37th Avenue)
Hialeah (East 21st Street and East 1st Avenue)
Okeechobee (West 19th Street and South Okeechobee Road)
Tri-Rail: Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer (North 79th Street and West 37th Avenue)
Hialeah Market (North 41st Street and West 38th Avenue)
Amtrak: Amtrak-Miami: Silver Star and Silver Meteor service, (North 79th Street and West 37th Avenue)
"All Ways Lead to Hialeah" was one of the city's first slogans. At the time, Glenn Curtiss and James Bright could not have imagined the important link in the transportation chain provided by Hialeah's location. Sitting in the heart of northwest Dade, Hialeah has access to every major thoroughfare linked by: Interstate 75
State Road 826 (Palmetto Expressway)
Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike
U.S. Route 27
State Road 924 (Gratigny Parkway)
Alex Avila, Major League Baseball player for Chicago Cubs, drafted by Detroit Tigers
Maria Canals-Barrera, actress
Devin Bush, NFL free safety for Atlanta Falcons (1995–1998), St. Louis Rams (1999–2000) and Cleveland Browns (2001–2002)
Rene Capo, U.S. Olympic representative as a judoka
Harry Wayne Casey, lead singer of KC and the Sunshine Band, graduate of Hialeah High School
Chris Corchiani, NBA guard for Orlando Magic picked in second round of 1991 NBA Draft from North Carolina State University; later on Boston Celtics, Washington Bullets
Erik Courtney, Bravo TV personality Newlyweds: The First Year, born in Hialeah and attended Mae M. Walters Elementary School
Jack Daugherty, MLB first baseman for Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Cincinnati Reds and Montreal Expos
Rohan Davey, NFL quarterback for New England Patriots (2002–2004) and Arizona Cardinals and in NFL Europe World Bowl for Berlin Thunder
Bucky Dent, professional baseball player for MLB New York Yankees, graduate of Hialeah High School
Vincent D'Onofrio, actor and producer of stage, film and television, best known as Detective Robert Goren in Law & Order: Criminal Intent and graduate of Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School
Nick Esasky, MLB infielder for Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves
Bobby Estelella, MLB catcher for Philadelphia Phillies, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. attorney for Southern District of Florida, nominated by President Barack Obama
René García, City of Hialeah Councilman and Florida State House Representative
Gio González, MLB pitcher for Washington Nationals, drafted by Chicago White Sox in first round, made MLB debut in 2008
Ted Hendricks, former professional NFL football player, Hialeah High Class of 1965
Manny Hernandez, Hialeah High Class of 1971, football, wrestling and boxing; pastor of West Hialeah Baptist Church
Charlie Hough, former professional baseball player, Hialeah High graduate
Richard Hough, former professional baseball player, Hialeah High graduate
Greg Jackson, professional football player
Catherine Keener, Oscar-nominated actress
Corey Lemonier, Auburn University and NFL defensive end
Manny Machado, Major League Baseball third baseman for Baltimore Orioles
Lizbet Martínez, Cuban violinist and teacher at M.A. Milam K-8 Center
Raúl L. Martínez, longest-seated mayor in Hialeah history (1981–2005)
Oscar Múñoz, MLB pitcher for Minnesota Twins
Roell Preston, professional football player
Mike Rio, professional mixed martial arts fighter
Julio Robaina, mayor of Hialeah
Rick Sánchez, CNN anchor/correspondent
Jon Secada, Grammy Award–winning musician
Michael Timpson, NFL wide receiver for New England Patriots for six seasons (1989–1994), alumnus of Lakes class of 1985