Why it's important to show up
at City Hall can make a difference
Miami has some of the lowest levels of non-electoral political participation in the nation.
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. 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.
Percentage of Residents Who Have Attended a Public Meeting
Percentage of Residents Who Have Contacted or Visited a Public Official
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. 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.
National Conference on Citizenship, A Tale of Two Cities: 2010 Civic Health in Miami and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, 2011.
Lou Frey Institute, Florida Civic Health, 2017.
Jan Nijman, Miami: Mistress of the Americas, 2011.
Mike Maciag, “The Citizens Most Vocal in Local Government,” Governing,7/2014.