How Does Miami Stack Up Against Other Florida Cities?

Find out if Miami is the city for you.

Miami has long been one of the most visible Florida cities and a popular tourist destination. After all, no other Sunshine State burg has a Will Smith song dedicated to it.

However, as the fourth-largest state in the country by population, there’s a lot more to Florida than Little Havana and Coral Gables. In fact, there are four other Florida cities with populations of at least a quarter-million people aside from Miami. When you dig into the numbers behind this state, you’ll be surprised by what you learn about its city life.

Read on for a closer look at how Florida’s biggest cities stack up.

Miami Is Big, but Not the Biggest

When it comes to population, Miami outpaces most of the other large cities in Florida by a large margin. However, there is one that outshines the south Florida beach town.

Compared to the northeastern Florida city Jacksonville, Miami is pretty small plantains. Jacksonville clears 900,000 for its 2018 estimated population, putting it at nearly double Miami’s size. At just shy of 480,000, the estimated 2018 population of Miami is much larger than Tampa’s almost 400,000 residents, Orlando’s almost 300,000 citizens and St. Petersburg’s nearly 270,000 inhabitants.

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Can You Guess: Which Florida Cities Are Seeing Rising and Shrinking Incomes?

Looking at growth rates from the 2010 census to the present population estimates, Miami has grown at a blistering pace, adding just short of 20 percent to its 2010 population. Jacksonville is also growing quickly, but its 10.43 percent growth since 2010 is just over half of Miami’s.

Fast population growth, though, appears to be consistent across Florida’s urban centers. All five cities over 250,000 in population have experienced estimated growth in the double digits since 2010, with Orlando leading the pack at nearly 22 percent.

Miami Residents Are Making Less Money

When you consider economics, the other four major Florida cities all have pretty similar make-ups, but Miami is fairly unique for being a much poorer city. The median household income for Miami is a paltry $31,642, which puts it over 40 percent below the national level of $55,322. In fact, Miami is one of the most unequal cities in the U.S.

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For the other major Florida cities, median household incomes remain below the national level, but by much less. Orlando brings up the rear at just over $44,000 for a median household, and the wealthiest city is Jacksonville at just over $48,000 — 50 percent higher than Miami’s median income.

When comparing poverty rates, Miami leads the back by a wide margin, but the other four cities aren’t as closely grouped. The poverty rate in Miami is 27.6 percent, approaching double the national level of just over 15 percent. However, Tampa is also over 20 percent and Orlando is just under it, with St. Petersburg edging out Jacksonville for the lowest level — 16.4 percent to 17 percent.

Related: How Do You Stack Up to the Average Income in Your State?

They’re Also Spending More to Get By

However, if Miami residents were thinking that having less income and more poverty means their cost of living will be low, think again.

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While the other four major Florida cities are all just below the national level for living costs — unusual for urban areas in general — Miami is about 23 percent higher, and living costs in Miami are expected to soar higher in the future.

That’s driven by housing costs that are 57 percent higher than national levels as a whole. Miami’s median rent clears $2,000, and the median home value is $312,700. That makes Miami extremely distinctive for Florida, as the other four comparison cities are actually well below national averages when it comes to housing costs. Tampa, Orlando and St. Petersburg all have housing costs about 15 percent lower than national norms, and Jacksonville’s housing costs are a whopping 25 percent below what the country as a whole is paying.

The Magic City Isn’t so Magical If You Want to Save Money

You can argue there’s no better place in the country to get Cuban-style coffee and a pressed ham sandwich. And, Miami is one of the best places to start a business, as well as one of the most tax-friendly cities in America, according to previous GOBankingRates studies.

However, life in Miami is significantly pricier than the rest of Florida — despite the fact that its typical resident isn’t nearly as well off as city-dwellers elsewhere in the state.

If you’re going to call Miami home, though, consider looking in the Allapattah neighborhood: It’s among the hottest neighborhoods for real estate in the country. Or, if you’re retired, the Miami suburb of Plantation is among the best for retirees.

Click through to learn the 20 best suburbs for retirees — three are in Florida.

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About the Author

Joel Anderson

Joel Anderson is a business and finance writer with over a decade of experience writing about the wide world of finance. Based in Los Angeles, he specializes in writing about the financial markets, stocks, macroeconomic concepts and focuses on helping make complex financial concepts digestible for the retail investor.

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