Located in Miami-Dade County in southeastern Florida, the City of Miami is the second wealthiest city in the U.S. and the third richest globally in purchasing power. Miami offers world-class attractions, multicultural and eclectic vibes, pristine beaches and parks, and warm temperatures all year round.
However, Miami is not just about the scenery but also the various benefits and amenities everyone can enjoy daily. If this sounds good, we have lots to tell you that may help you make up your mind about moving there!
Is Miami A Good Place To Live?
Miami is a great place to live if you are looking for year-round warm weather, an exciting coastal lifestyle, rich art and cultural experiences, diverse and bilingual communities, and mouth-watering Latin American gourmet experiences. As the core city of the Miami metropolitan area, the largest urban economy in Florida, Miami has a lot of history and potential.
Let’s look at what Miami offers as I cover 15 fantastic pieces of information!
1. A Brief History of “Biscayne Bay Country”
Miami is the only metropolis in the U.S. founded by a woman – Julia Tuttle. She was a prosperous Clevelander and local citrus planter.
The area around Miami was referred to as “Biscayne Bay Country” in the late 19th century. It was reported in various journals as a promising wilderness and a building site with great potential. Arriving in 1891, Julia Tuttle bought several hundred acres along the bank of the Miami River.
Determined to build a community here and propel growth, she convinced railroad tycoon Henry Flagler to extend his Florida East Coast Railway to Miami. In July 1896, Miami was officially incorporated as a city with a mere population of approximately 300.
Its name came from the Miami River, derived from “Mayaimi”, the historical name of Lake Okeechobee and the Native Americans who lived around it.
Miami has gone through major historical incidents and challenges since, including the drug war, race riots, and Hurricane Andrew.
However, it has risen above all these difficulties to evolve from being a city infamous for clubs, drugs, and gambling in the 80s to being recognized as a prominent international, financial and cultural hub.
2. Miami is a Relatively Safe Coastal Metropolis
You may be surprised that Miami and the famous Miami Beach are two distinct municipalities with separate governing bodies and mayors.
Located between the Everglades wetland to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east, Miami extends from Lake Okeechobee southward to Florida Bay.
The main portion of the city is on the shores of Biscayne Bay. This bay contains several hundred natural and artificial barrier islands, the largest of which is Miami Beach.
With its own coastline and proximity to Miami Beach, Miami offers its residents an exciting coastal lifestyle and attractions of a world-renowned holiday destination year-round.
Regarding safety, Miami is a major city with a booming tourism industry, which comes with certain related crimes such as theft and gun violence.
However, Miami’s violent and property crime rates were lower than the national rates in 2020. Miami-Dade County has started increasing spending on campaigns to address gun violence in Miami and build safer and prosperous neighborhoods.
Miami’s locals take wellness seriously. There is an emphasis on feeling and looking good. Nationally recognized high-quality medical care is available in dozens of hospitals, clinics, and general practitioners.
You will have no problem finding pharmacies while living here. Nevertheless, getting a health insurance plan is essential since long-term care can be denied to patients without proper coverage.
3. Miami is a Diverse and Multicultural City
Miami is roughly divided into north, south, west, and Downtown areas.
Located on the eastern side, Downtown Miami is considered the heart of the city and deemed the most influential central business district in Florida.
Northern Miami is a cultural hub and melting pot, home to West Indians, Hispanics, European Americans, African-American and Caribbean communities.
You will find high-rise residential towers and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in the Midtown district; warehouse-converted art galleries and outdoor murals in Wynwood; luxury showrooms and upscale dining options in the Design District; and historic family homes and the MiMo Historic District in the Upper Eastside neighborhood.
Southern Miami houses Miami’s oldest residential neighborhood – Coconut Grove (aka “The Grove”). Thanks to its clubs, bars, restaurants, and bohemian shops, it is a popular destination for local college students.
Western Miami was once a primarily Jewish neighborhood but is now home to many ethnicities, including Central America and Cuba. Little Havana, the center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami, is located in this area.
4. Miami is considered the Unofficial Commercial Capital of Latin America
Miami has become a commercial hub for the hemisphere, with Miami International Airport handling nearly half of all flights from the U.S. to South America.
Hispanic, Jewish American, Caribbean, and Haitian roots are celebrated in Miami, often known as the Magic City.
Residents of this town have a very diversified and bilingual culture. It is also the location with the most significant Latin American population.
While English is the city’s official language, the dominant language here is Spanish, which is spoken by 60% of the population. Other languages include German, French and Swedish.
Overall, if you want to study or brush up on your Spanish, Miami is the place to live.
5. Miami’s Population Growth is Slowing
As of 2020, Miami had a population of 442,241, making it the second-most populous city in Florida and the 44th most populous in the U.S. The overall Miami metropolitan area, aka Greater Miami, is home to 6.138 million people.
Miami’s density is approximately 12,500 persons/square mile (4,800 persons/square kilometer). To give you the full picture, New York has a density of roughly 28,000 persons/square mile (10,800 persons/square kilometer).
During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise of remote working and the lack of lockdown in Florida led to its booming population growth. As this rush of people moving from other states to Florida subsides, the state will see its population growth slow down modestly.
Miami’s population, in particular, is expected to grow at the slowest rate in Florida during the next 15 years. This could mean lower rent, more affordable house prices, and better job prospects than in higher-density cities.
6. Miami is a Sunny Paradise
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate. Summers are hot and muggy, while winters are drier, brief, and warm.
Miami enjoys sunny weather close to 70% of the year, with infrequent rainstorms. It is undoubtedly the warmest and safest city in the country during the winter.
The higher power bills in summer months are offset entirely during winter when temperatures average between 60 and 75 degrees.
Keep in mind that Florida is subject to hurricanes from June to November. Since Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Miami has not been hit by a major hurricane. However, it is still important to keep track of the weather forecast during this season and be prepared for significant storms.
7. Miami’s Famous Shopping Streets
Calle Ocho in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana district leads the list as a bustling street filled with music, art, and souvenir shops that celebrate Cuban history. Slow down for authentic Cuban coffee and mouth-watering dishes such as empanadas, pastelitos, and croquetas.
Alternatively, if you are in the tropical, bayside neighborhood of Coconut Grove, visit CocoWalk. Being an open-air shopping district, it offers a 150,000-square-foot outdoor retail and lifestyle experience.
Looking for colorful murals and street art? Visit Wynwood. You can visit the numerous trendy clothing stores, eclectic gift shops, and art galleries while munching on elaborate donuts.
If luxury is more your cup of tea, drop by the Miami Design District. Opulence is on display, with no famous brand names missing. You will find rows of high-end stores such as Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Dior, Christian Louboutin, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, and Hublot.
8. Miami has Shimmering Beaches and Spectacular Nature
Miami is a top tourist destination in South Florida because of its stunning beaches, excellent climate, and breathtaking natural wonders.
Water activities such as boating, canoeing, sailing, and fishing are popular in Miami thanks to its numerous marinas, rivers, bays, canals, and the Atlantic Ocean.
If you are into snorkeling or scuba diving, explore the various coral reefs that Biscayne Bay has to offer. Alternatively, you can leisurely sunbathe in the 80 parks and gardens in the city.
A must-see in the region is the famous Miami Beach, a slender, nine-mile-long barrier island just across the bay from mainland Miami. At the end of Miami Beach is the photogenic South Beach with swaying palms and the famous pastel-colored Art Deco buildings that line Ocean Drive.
Everglades National Park is an outdoor oasis that lies west of Miami. The drive from Downtown Miami to this UNESCO World Heritage site is just under an hour.
The Everglades is made up of coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes, and pine flatwoods, so it is usually compared to a grassy, slow-moving river.
Among the Everglades’ abundant wildlife are the endangered leatherback turtle, Florida panther, and West Indian manatee. If you are a birdwatcher, get excited as the Everglades is home to more than 360 species, including the limpkin, snowy egret, and roseate spoonbill.
9. Miami has Efficient Public Transportation
Traffic and parking are the two primary sources of complaints for residents in Miami. However, you can easily skip owning a car thanks to the city’s superb public transportation options.
There are 95 bus routes throughout the entire Miami-Dade county. All buses are clean and air-conditioned, but they are preferable only if you do not need to transfer. After all, buses cannot escape heavy traffic and thus can be unreliable.
Instead, you may want to turn to the high-frequency Metrorail and Metromover systems which run above the streets.
Metrorail covers the most populated areas. A single trip costs roughly $2.25, and you must pay with a fare card or via the GO Miami-Dade Transit app. On the other hand, Metromover covers only 4.4 miles in and around Downtown Miami but is entirely free.
The cities of Miami, Miami Beach, and Coral Gables also run free trolley services between popular areas. You can track these orange and green vehicles live online. During major events, the frequency of services is increased.
If you want to travel long distances or to another county, check out Miami’s most extensive rail system – the Tri-Rail. Fares vary depending on the trip, but you can pay with cash. It also connects with specific Metrorail stops.
10. Miami’s Cost of Living is High
Although Miami’s cost of living is around 14% more than the national average, residents of this town claim that it is still reasonably priced, given its location and popularity.
Miami’s residents enjoy a significantly lower cost of living compared to other major cities. For instance, New York is approximately 35% more expensive than Miami if you rent, while salaries in New York are only 20% higher than in Miami on average.
It is a slightly different story if you look to own a house. Miami recently overtook Los Angeles as the second most unaffordable housing market in the nation, just after New York.
On the bright side, locals enjoy the advantages of residing in Florida, such as the absence of a state income tax. Miami-Dade County does not impose a local personal income tax either.
However, residents of Miami may urge you to secure employment before relocating there. While one can get by with an annual salary of around $50,000 in Miami, it is suggested that this figure needs to increase to $77,000 ($3,400 monthly) for one to live comfortably!
11. Diverse and Above-Average Quality Education
There are nearly 133,000 K-12 schools in the nation. Seven of the top 100 schools are located in Miami-Dade. In Florida alone, Miami-Dade takes four of the top 10 school slots.
The County places seventh in the nation in per capita university enrollment. Miami’s education scene is diverse.
There are 59 colleges, universities, and technical/vocational schools, including Florida’s largest public university (Florida International University), four faith-based colleges (Barry University, Saint Thomas, Trinity International University, and Florida Memorial College), and a community college (Miami-Dade College). The University of Miami, a private research university, also calls Miami home.
According to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report, Florida International University ranks 162th nationally and 78th in all public schools, while the University of Miami takes 55th place nationally.
12. Global Gateway and Cruise Capital of the World
Miami International Airport and PortMiami are respectively considered the two most significant economic engines for Miami-Dade County.
The Port of Miami, often styled as ‘PortMiami’, is located at the mouth of the Miami River in Miami.
Since PortMiami welcomes more cruise passengers to its terminals than any other port in the world, Miami has earned the title of “Cruise Capital of the World” for more than 20 years. In 2017, PortMiami welcomed more than 5.3 million cruise travelers to Miami.
PortMiami is also one of the busiest cargo ports in the U.S. It keeps goods flowing to America’s shelves from Caribbean, Latin American, Asian and European markets. It is therefore recognized as the Global Gateway.
PortMiami contributes $43 billion annually to the local economy and supports more than 334,500 jobs in South Florida.
Investments and efforts to expand the port are continuing, bringing about thousands of jobs in the construction, manufacturing, logistics, tourism, hospitality, and entertainment industries.
13. Vibrant Economic Direction with Low Unemployment Rate
Whether you prefer to work in the public or private sectors, the thriving Miami economy and its diverse range of businesses will offer excellent employment prospects.
Miami boasts one of the best economies in the country, with an unemployment rate of just 2.3% as of July 2022. In 2011, the unemployment rate in Miami was around 12%. The downward unemployment trend demonstrates tremendous job market growth in this town.
In addition to the industries already mentioned in this article, Miami is also a financial, art, and cultural hub.
Warmer weather and lower taxes attract financial firms to Miami. The city is home to more than 60 international banks, which is one of the largest concentrations of international banks in any given city in the world. Miami may soon become the Wall Street of the South.
If dealing with numbers is not your forte, but you have a knack for art, Miami will keep you inspired. With thrilling performing arts theaters, eclectic museums and galleries, an outdoor street art museum, and diversified architectural styles, the city will continue to fuel your artistic drive and keep your contemporary vision alive.
Overall, due to the city’s vibrant economic environment, Miami’s employment numbers have generally improved and will do so for years to come!
14. Art, Culture & Nightlife – You can have it all in Miami
Miami and Miami Beach offer many entertainment options 24/7 to suit every style.
During the day, you can explore international art fairs along the shores or visit the numerous thought-provoking art galleries and museums in the Miami Design District, Allapattah, Little Haiti, Downtown Miami, and South Beach.
You can take a stroll in the Wynwood Art District to enjoy the magnificent Wynwood Walls. This enormous outdoor exhibition is dedicated entirely to street art.
You can watch a Broadway show or a ballet at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami or enjoy the New World Symphony’s performance at the cutting-edge New World Center.
Are you into history or science? Visit the planetarium and the aquarium at the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Downtown Miami, or learn about Miami’s Cuban diaspora at the Freedom Tower.
You can also explore Miami’s rich Caribbean and Latin American culture in Little Havana and Little Haiti and its fascinating Black history in Historic Overtown.
Once the sun sets, a whole new world reveals itself.
World-class clubs with famous local and international DJs can be found in Miami Beach, including LIV at the Fontainebleau, Twist South Beach, and the bar at Hotel Gaythering.
Downtown Miami is home to the extravagant E11EVEN Miami, which is open 24/7, hip bars and entertainment venues such as the FTX Arena.
You can also dance salsa in Little Havana or at Mango’s Tropical Cafe in South Beach, enjoy a cocktail in the trendy dive bar Gramps, or view the third tallest skyline in the U.S. from a rooftop bar in Downtown Miami. The options are truly endless.
If you want more chill and relaxed, Miami offers great movie theaters such as CMX Cinemas, Silverspot Cinema, Coral Gables Art Cinema, and CinéBistro at CityPlace Doral!
15. Latin American and Caribbean-Influenced Cuisine
Food in Miami is a serious matter.
Multiculturalism is woven into the fabric that makes up Miami. Culinary offerings in the town certainly reflect this. Prepare yourself for the fantastic Latin American and Caribbean-influenced cuisines this city offers.
Cuban food is so well-known in Miami that it is simple to find at any corner, often with its flavors adapted to American tastes.
One of the most well-liked dishes is the Cuban sandwich, which is created with ham, pork, mustard, cheese, and pickles, and served in Cuban bread. Little Havana is the place to explore this delicious dish and many others, including pastelitos and empanadas.
Other dishes that you must try include Chicharron (Portuguese pork dish), local seafood (think grouper, snapper, stone crabs, ceviche), arepas (South American fried cornmeal pockets), Churrasco (grilled meat), and Mofongo (Puerto Rican plantain dish).
If you are looking for a coastal metropolis with a growing economy, look no further than Miami. While it is not the cheapest city to live in, Miami offers excellent quality of life, with friendly and multicultural communities, exciting nightlife, and dynamic art and culinary experiences.
Its strong and growing economy bodes well for solid job prospects in the coming years. You also keep whatever you earn since there is no personal income tax!