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Cocaine's Economic Effects on Miami

Miami in the Pre-Cocaine Era

Prior to cocaine's influence in Miami it was a quaint retirement destination with little economic activity. It had an average population of one million compared to todays population of nearly 3.5 million and the mean population was either below ten or above fifty years of age. In addition, the mean housing price in 1970 was 25,000 compared to 250,000 for the average house in Miami today. Cocaine ushered in an era of economic growth for Miami and turned it into the booming cosmopolitan hub that it is today. 


Miami Beach, 1962- The Miami Herald

Cocaine's Positive Economic Effects on Miami 

As cocaine buisness steadily grew with an average "22 millions" user by 1985 so did Miami's economy. Most cocaine transactions were done in hard currency leading to many dealers being left with exhorbitant amounts of cash. This money would then be laundered through large purchases of retail goods, real-estate, and investments in infrastructure allowing cocaine dealers to legalize and store their money all in one step. As a result in 1984 as cocaine approached its peak in Miami Mercedes had record high sales, the housing price index increased by fifty points, and twenty skyscrapers were erected. All of this was also done when "national construction was at a standstill" and the rest of the nation was in a minor recession. 

Cocaine's Effects on Miami's Banks and Inflation

The rapid cash influx caused by the cocaine trade greatly helped to rekindle Miami's economy, but it also led to extreme inflation and put extreme pressure on Miami's local banks. 

Nearly two tons of Colombian cocaine worth an estimated $175 million - was seized at a Miami warehouse by U.S. Customs and Drug Enforcement agents. -The Miami Herald




"Miami-Dade County Population Growth." Chart. CensusScoper. Accessed May 13, 2016.


"Miami, Florida Metropolitan Area House Prices." Chart. JP's. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://www.jparsons.net/housingbubble/miami.html.



"S&P/CASE-SHILLER MIAMI HOME PRICE INDEX." Chart. S&P DOW Jones Indices. 2016. Accessed March 10, 2016. http://us.spindices.com/indices/real-estate/sp-case-shiller-fl-miami-home-price-index.


Viglucci, Andres. "The 100-year Story of Miami Beach." The Miami Herald (Miami, Fl), March 21, 2015.




Viglucci, Andres. "The 100-year Story of Miami Beach." The Miami Herald (Miami, Fl), March 21, 2015.