Sweetwater, Miami-Dade County, Florida

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Sweetwater, Florida
City of Sweetwater
Dolphin Mall, Sweetwater
Dolphin Mall, Sweetwater
Official Seal for The City of Sweetwater
Little Havana
"Family, God, Education"
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits prior to the 2010 annexation
U.S. Census Bureau map showing city limits prior to the 2010 annexation
Coordinates: 25°47′57.52″N 80°22′25.04″W / 25.7993111°N 80.3736222°W / 25.7993111; -80.3736222Coordinates: 25°47′57.52″N 80°22′25.04″W / 25.7993111°N 80.3736222°W / 25.7993111; -80.3736222
Country United States of America
State Florida
County Miami-Dade
IncorporatedOctober 10, 1941
 • TypeMayor-Commission
 • MayorOrlando Lopez
 • Commission PresidentJose Marti
 • CommissionersIsidro Ruiz, Reinaldo Rey Jr.,
Marcos Villanueva, Ian Vallecillo, Saul Diaz, and
Idania Llano
 • City ManagerMayor Orlando Lopez
 • City ClerkCarmen Garcia
 • City2.30 sq mi (10.96 km2)
 • Land2.19 sq mi (5.68 km2)
 • Water0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
 • City19,363
 • Density8,833.49/sq mi (3,410.48/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Zip Codes
33172, 33174
Area code(s)305, 786
FIPS code12-70345[2]
GNIS feature ID2405554[3]

Sweetwater is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. As of 2010, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 13,499.[4] Sweetwater is home to the largest concentration of Nicaraguans and Nicaraguan Americans in the U.S., as a result, it is locally known as "Little Managua".[5]


Sweetwater is located at 25°45′58″N 80°22′25″W / 25.76611°N 80.37361°W / 25.76611; -80.37361 (25.765977, –80.373624).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all land, until December 2010. The city tripled in size upon the annexation of additional areas, including where Dolphin Mall is located. The annexed area is roughly bounded by Northwest Seventh and 25th streets, 107th Avenue and Florida's Turnpike extension.[7]

Surrounding areas[edit]


The history of Sweetwater actually began during the Florida land boom of the 1920s when the Miami-Pittsburgh Land Company purchased land and laid out the original plat of "Sweetwater Groves." However, the 1926 Miami Hurricane and subsequent South Florida real estate "bust" put an abrupt end to the development venture.[8]

In 1938, Clyde Andrews acquired most of the "Sweetwater Groves" tract and began to market lots. Among his buyers was a troupe of Russian dwarves seeking a place to retire after a career with the circus. They built several mini-scaled homes suited to their needs. For years, Sweetwater was known as the "midget" community.[8]

In 1941, Sweetwater held a successful election for incorporation. The new town's first mayor was Joe Sanderlin, the midgets' guardian and manager. By 1959, Sweetwater had attracted 500 residents and contained a town hall, church, grocery store, service station and 183 homes. It also had a two-man police force and a volunteer fire department. In 1970, Sweetwater was still a relatively small community of about 3,000 residents.[8]

During the 1970s, several events dramatically changed the "sleepy little country town" of Sweetwater forever. These events included the establishment of Florida International University to the south of the city, the construction of the two major expressways to the north and west, and the discovery of Sweetwater by Dade County's Hispanic community. The growth and development which was precipitated by these occurrences caused Sweetwater to more than double in population and lead all other Dade cities in growth during the 1970s.[8]

In March 1996, Sweetwater made national news as 69 animals were found dead on 2 properties in the city. Dade County police and the local zoologist blamed a large dog, while some residents blamed the killings on the Chupacabra.[9]

In the 2010s, there are only a few vacant lots left to develop. In 2010, the city's population has burgeoned to 13,499 persons, of which 95.5% are of Hispanic origin. The City can now boast of having their own full-service police department, as well as four parks, an elementary school, a county fire station, 4,353 residential housing units, 14 shopping centers, over 600 businesses, several churches and a bank. There are three 24-hour diners in Sweetwater, which are Rey's Pizza (Cuban Style Pizza) and La Esquinita Havanera (Cuban Cuisine) and Latin Restaurant (Cuban Cuisine). All three are located a short distance from each other off 107th Avenue. Sweetwater is also located near Miami International Mall. After a December 2010 vote, Dolphin Mall is now part of the city.[10]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

Sweetwater is a city in Miami-Dade County, in the South Florida metro area.

2020 census[edit]

Sweetwater racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[12]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 726 3.75%
Black or African American (NH) 126 0.65%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 14 0.07%
Asian (NH) 192 0.99%
Some Other Race (NH) 61 0.32%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 99 0.51%
Hispanic or Latino 18,145 93.71%
Total 19,363 100%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 19,363 people, 6,075 households, and 4,492 families residing in the city.

2010 census[edit]

Sweetwater Demographics
2010 Census Sweetwater Miami-Dade County Florida
Total population 13,499 2,496,435 18,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 –5.1% +10.8% +17.6%
Population density 17,023.0/sq mi 1,315.5/sq mi 350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 92.4% 73.8% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 3.5% 15.4% 57.9%
Black or African-American 1.8% 18.9% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 95.5% 65.0% 22.5%
Asian 0.5% 1.5% 2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.2% 0.2% 0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 2.1% 2.4% 2.5%
Some Other Race 3.0% 3.2% 3.6%

As of 2010, there were 4,195 households, out of which 1.9% were vacant. In 2000, 39.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.8% were non-families. 12.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.33 and the average family size was 3.55.

In 2000, the City population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.9 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $29,333, and the median income for a family was $30,823. Males had a median income of $22,378 versus $17,020 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,098. About 08.4% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and 21.7% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2013, Spanish was the mother tongue for 95.30% of the population, while English was spoken by 2.90% of all residents. Speakers of other Indo-European languages accounted for 0.30%, while the combined total of those who spoke an Asian language or Pacific Islander language made up 0.80%. The rest of the people who spoke any other languages in Sweetwater were at 0.70%. In total, 97.10% of the populace spoke something other than English as their first language.[13]

As of 2000, 16.63% of Sweetwater residents identified as being of Nicaraguan heritage. This was the highest percentage of Nicaraguans and Nicaraguan Americans of any place in the country.[5] As a result, Sweetwater is locally known as "Little Managua" after Managua, the Nicaraguan capital. It had the tenth highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, at 49.92% of the city's population,[14] and the ninety-sixth highest percentage of Colombian residents in the US, at 1.72% of its population (tied with Davie and Maywood, New Jersey.)[15] It also had the twenty-ninth most Hondurans in the US, at 1.31% of all residents.[16]


Sweetwater is within the Dade County Public Schools.

Percentage of College Graduates 13% of Sweetwater residents age 25 and older have a bachelor's or advanced college degree.

Elementary Schools

  • Sweetwater Elementary School serves residents for grades K–5, It is within the city limits.[17]
  • Carlos Finlay Elementary School also serves residents located within the school boundaries for grades K–5, it is located just south of the city limit.

Public Middle Schools

  • Ruben Dario Middle School (1,305 students in 2006) serves residents for grades 6–8.

Public High Schools


  • The main campus of Florida International University is located just south of the city limit, and the Engineering campus is located to the east of the city limit.
  • Keiser University is located in the northern area of the City directly behind Dolphin Mall.
  • URBE University has its campus located in the northern area of the city.
  • San Ignacio University of Peru has its US campus in the northern area of Sweetwater as well.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami previously operated Our Lady of Divine Providence School in Fontainebleau CDP,[18][19] in proximity to Sweetwater. It closed in 2009.[20]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "Sweetwater (Miami-Dade County)". Roadside Thoughts. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  4. ^ United States Census
  5. ^ a b "Ancestry Map of Nicaraguan Communities". Epodunk.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "Sweetwater gets a lot bigger as it annexes busy mall". Retrieved April 28, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d "Sweetwater, FL: History and Development". www.cityofsweetwaterfl.gov. Archived from the original on January 5, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  9. ^ "Monster accused of killing farm animals in Florida (March 28, 1996)". CNN. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  10. ^ Dolphin Mall
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  13. ^ "SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES 2009-2013 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates for Sweetwater, FL". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  14. ^ "Ancestry Map of Cuban Communities". Epodunk.com. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  15. ^ "Ancestry Map of Colombian Communities". Epodunk.com. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  16. ^ "Ancestry Map of Honduran Communities". Epodunk.com. Archived from the original on October 17, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
  17. ^ "Sweetwater city, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 28, 2009.
  18. ^ "Our Lady of Divine Providence". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami. December 30, 2003. Archived from the original on December 30, 2003. Retrieved May 10, 2020. Our Lady of Divine Providence 10207 West Flagler Street Miami, Florida 33174
  19. ^ "2000 Census Block Map: Fontainebleau CDP" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 10, 2020. - The area with Our Lady of Divine Providence is on page 2
  20. ^ Johnson, Akilah (January 23, 2009). "Six schools to close as Archdiocese retrenches". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved May 10, 2020. - The article identifies Our Lady of Divine Providence as being in Sweetwater though as of 2000 it was in the Fontainebleau CDP (location seen here)

External links[edit]