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Why it's important to show up

Miami City Hall Chambers Facing Audience.JPG

Attending Meetings 

at City Hall can make a difference

Miami has some of the lowest levels of non-electoral political participation in the nation.[1]

In fact, Miamians attend public meetings and contact or visit elected officials far less frequently than residents in other metro areas according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.[2] In Miami, only 3.1% of residents have ever attended a public meeting. Compare that number to Jacksonville, another Florida city, where 9.5% of residents have attended a public meeting.

There are various possible reasons for Miami’s comparatively low levels of participation, including population turnover, relatively young civil institutions, balkanized governance structure, and deep social fragmentation.[3]

Percentage of Residents Who Have Attended a Public Meeting

Percentage of Residents Who Have Contacted or Visited a Public Official

Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles

Miami

Florida Civic Health, 2013 & 2015.

A 2014 nationwide survey found that young, low-income, and new residents are far less likely to participate in local government meetings than wealthier, older, more settled counterparts.[4] However, inviting more of the community to  contribute to the formal decision-making process isn't just about inclusion, but about more effectively solving city problems. 

With so few residents attending local meetings, the individuals that do attend can be incredibly impactful. Even 3 more people showing up to public meetings, with thoughtful public comments, can make a difference.


Footnotes

[1]National Conference on Citizenship, A Tale of Two Cities: 2010 Civic Health in Miami and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, 2011. 

[2]Lou Frey Institute, Florida Civic Health, 2017.

[3]Jan Nijman, Miami: Mistress of the Americas, 2011. 

[4]Mike Maciag, “The Citizens Most Vocal in Local Government,” Governing,7/2014.

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