Sweetwater is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The population was 14,226 at the 2000 census. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 13,992. 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".
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.
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. Sweetwater was the filming location for the 1969 movie, "Midnight Cowboy. In 1970, Sweetwater was still a relatively small community of about 3,000 residents.
During the 1970's, however, several events were to happen which would dramatically change the hitherto "sleepy little country town" of Sweetwater forever. These events included the establishment of a major new state university, 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 Miami-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 Miami-Dade cities in growth during the 1970's.
In March 1996, Sweetwater made national news as 69 animals were found dead on 2 properties in the city. Miami police and the local zoologist blamed a large dog, while many residents blamed the killings on the Chupacabra. In August of 2007, an episode of a Mexican novela was filmed in Sweetwater.
Presently, there are only a few vacant lots left to develop. The City's population has burgeoned to over 14,200 persons of which more than 93 % are of Hispanic origin. The City can now boast of having their own full-service police and fire department, as well as its own city hall complex, 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 two 24 hour diners in Sweetwater, which was Rey's Pizza (Cuban Style Pizza) and La Esquinita Havanera (Cuban Cuisine.) Both are located a short distance from each other off 107th Avenue. Sweetwater is also located near two large outlet malls Miami International Mall and Dolphin Mall.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,226 people, 4,267 households, and 3,550 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,698.4/km² (17,439.7/mi²). There were 4,353 housing units at an average density of 2,049.6/km² (5,336.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.15% White (6.2% were Non-Hispanic Whites,) 0.89% African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 7.17% from other races, and 4.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 93.16% of the population.
There were 4,267 households out of which 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 the city the 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.
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 16.4% of families and 18.1% 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 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. 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, and the ninety-sixth highest percentage of Colombian residents in the US, at 1.72% of the it's population (tied with Davie and Maywood, New Jersey.) It also had the twenty-ninth most Hondurans in the US, at 1.31% of all residents.
Percentage of College Graduates 13% of Sweetwater residents age 25 and older have a bachelor's or advanced college degree.
Public Middle Schools
Public High Schools