The Tequestas were the first people to occupy the area that would eventually become Miami, Florida. This tribe was present at the time of the first European contact with the New World, even remaining in the area during the entire early history of the United States because they often kept to themselves. Most of the migrated away from the region by the middle of the 18th century, but there are still some households who are there.
During the late 19th century, Miami began to see a period off extensive growth as railway connections made it much easier to access the warmer temperatures of the south. During the Great Freeze of 1894, the crops growing around the city where the only ones in the state to survive. That led to the desire to officially incorporate the city, which happened in 1896 with 300 full-time residents.
The city began to prosper during the 1920s, but its gains were quickly wiped out thanks the a real-estate bubble bursting in 1925. Then there was a hurricane in 1926 that caused $100 million in damages at the time, which was then followed by the Great Depression. It would take the events of World War II and the need to defend the coast to re-establish Miami as one of the best cities in the United States.
List of the Pros of Living in Miami
1. Miami gives you a taste of Latin America in the United States.
It would be a vast understatement to say that the city of Miami is a melting pot of cultures and ethnic cities. You will find that there is a distinctive Latin flavor sprinkled throughout the community. Some even call the city the “Capital of Latin America” because of this advantage, and it is not without hyperbole. About 70% of the residents here identify as being of Latin descent. Cubans, Mexicans, Brazilians, Venezuelans, Colombians, and Peruvians are all in the city in significant numbers.
Although you will need to know the differences in culture to navigate through the city to experience it fully (which means knowing how to speak Spanish), you will find that the cultural scene is truly unique in Miami.
2. If you love Cuban food, then you are going to enjoy living in Miami.
The culinary scene in Miami is exploding with a variety of different cultural flavors and dishes. Although Cuban food can be found around almost any corner in the city, the only thing that you were strictly call a dish that is part of this culture are the sandwiches that are seemingly everywhere. The city is famous for them because there is no better place to try tostones, empanadas, and yucca chips for the first time.
The coffee that you can find in Miami is the perfect complement to the sandwiches as well, providing a kick to the pants that can give you plenty of energy without being overly bitter or dark. The bread here is sweet and flaky, so don’t expect to eat carb-free easily. Food trucks, small dives, and even fine-dining all bring this advantage to life.
3. Miami is home to one of the best nightlife scenes in the United States.
Some might argue that the only thing which is more popular in Miami than its sandwiches are the nightlife options from which to choose. This city isn’t one that decides to never sleep, like is sometimes talked about when describing Las Vegas, New York City, or Los Angeles. You will party hard here until the deep hours of the morning, and then catch a quick nap where you end up dropping before making it home for the evening.
The oceanfront clubs tend to get all of the attention when describing the party atmosphere of the city, but it doesn’t need to be that way for you. There are plenty of live music and dance venues where you can bust out a favorite Latin dance, go out for dinner with your family, or stop somewhere for a quick drink.
4. There is no such thing as being late when you are living in Miami.
If you are used to following a specific schedule every day and get stressed out about being a few minutes late, then living in Miami is going to feel like a breath of fresh air. Nothing runs on a regular time schedule here except for the schools and your employer. Everything in the city starts later in the evening, no matter what it is that you are wanting to do. If someone has invited you to a dinner party at 8:30 PM, then expect to arrive 30 to 60 minutes late because otherwise you’ll be the only one there.
In the city, there is really no such thing as being late outside of what was described above. Until the last person leaves, you’re still on time. Because the city tends to keep the later hours, most people sleep in during the weekends. Making plans for a Saturday or Sunday morning can almost guarantee that no one will show up.
5. Miami gives you access to plenty of beaches.
If going to the beach is your thing, the Miami is the perfect city for you. One of the best things about the coastline in this city is that all of the beaches are open to the public. You can look for an isolated destination, spend a day at a resort, are find a spot at a busy tourist beach and enjoy some sunshine throughout the entire year.
Some of the beaches in Miami offer numerous palm trees to provide a respite from the sun. If you want to achieve a cinnamon tan, then there are open layouts for that as well. Most of the beaches have lifeguards that help you to enjoy the water safely, while a flag system provides warnings about sea conditions.
6. You will find plenty of park space available in Miami as well.
There are dozens of public parks that you can find throughout the city that will help you to plan the perfect family adventure during a free afternoon. There are picnic areas in most of the parks, on-site grills to use, and clean public restrooms. Some offer structured activities for you to enjoy during your stay as well.
If you get tired of all of the fun in the sun, then Miami offers lots of water activities for you to enjoy during a free day. You will always be close to a fantastic restaurant when you live in this city. There are plenty of bars, historical attractions, and theme parks to enjoy as well. You can even hop onto a last-second cruise sometimes at a great rate if you can take a couple of days from work.
7. There are public transportation options to use in Miami.
Although owning a car is necessary in Miami when you want to live outside of the downtown neighborhoods, there are also some public transportation options that can help you to manage this expense rather easily.
- The Metrobus offers almost 100 routes and operates nearly 1,000 buses that can take you all across Southern Florida. You can even manage the system to take you to Key Biscayne, Fort Lauderdale, or even the Florida Keys.
- Metrorail provides a 25-mile elevated system that can take you from Miami-Dade to the Jackson Memorial Hospital Area.
- Metromover allows you to get around the downtown areas of Miami with relative ease.
You can also take advantage of the trolley, which offers services beginning at 6:30 AM, which offers online tracking to know if you can reach it on time. There are also several apps like Freebee that can help you to get around Miami without owning a car.
8. There are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy in Miami.
If you love to get out of the house to enjoy community events, then Miami has a plethora of offerings for you to enjoy. Even when you take advantage of common leisure opportunities like shopping, dining, and the various concerns, you are only reaching the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what you can do. There are opportunities to charter a boat for deep-sea fishing adventures. You can catch professional sports, see numerous collegiate competitions, and there are always the marine sports opportunities to enjoy as well.
9. You will pay fewer taxes when living in Florida compared to other states.
Florida requires that you pay property and sales taxes on your purchases and real estate, but there is not an income tax that you need to worry about when living in Miami. That means you can generally keep more of your money when you watch your spending habits in the city. Pensions, inheritance funds, and your Social Security can all stretch further when you are living in the city as well. That is why many retirees choose to live here in the first place. If you have a fixed income, then you can keep most of what you have while enjoying the great weather at the same time.
10. You can interact with exotic animal life in Miami that is not possible everywhere.
Because Miami benefits from a tropical climate, there are more opportunities to interact with wildlife. Although you wouldn’t want to run into a gator unexpectedly while exploring the city, there are plenty of exotic species to find out along the coast, including turtles, over a dozen unique bird species, colorful fish and much more. Diving and snorkeling are excellent pastimes that can help you to explore the famous waters around southern Florida as well.
List of the Cons of Living in Miami
1. Some people can struggle trying to get used to the weather in Miami.
It would be more than fair to say that Miami is a hot city. Some people might interpret that comment as an observation of the people who make it to South Beach, but it is more about the temperatures you should expect. The average daytime high during the month of January in the city is 75°F. Think about that for a moment. There are places in the United States that don’t reach that average temperature until July and August (we’re looking at you, Seattle). There are stunning blue skies, warm waters, and lots of palm trees to enjoy in the city because of these temperatures.
If you like it hot, then you’ll love it here. When you get to the summer months and the temperatures are routinely above 90°F with humidity levels above 80%, then you will really see how much of the sunny weather you’re willing to handle.
2. Crime can be an issue in some neighborhoods when living in Miami.
If you were to take a look at the crime statistics for Miami before move-in, it might be enough to turn you away from the idea of living in the city. It is essential that you take a closer look at the various neighborhoods in the city instead of looking at the numbers in their entirety. You will discover that there are plenty of safe neighborhoods that are perfect for raising a family. You’ll learn that the areas of Downtown Miami, The Islands, and North Coconut Grove are highly desirable because they have a crime rate that 60% lower than the city average.
You’re going to pay more to live in the most desirable places in the city, but Miami is worth the investment. There is no other place quite like it in the state or across the country.
3. The rumors are true about the drivers in Miami.
There have been some advancements in recent years to provide more of a public transportation sector throughout Miami. If you are in the downtown Regent, then there are cart rides that can take you to the best destination spots for personal or professional outings. Little Havana is a walkable neighborhood to enjoy, just as the downtown sector happens to be. If you don’t live in one of these neighborhoods, then you are going to need to own a car to have a successful experience when living in the city. If you have heard rumors about how bad Miami drivers happen to be, then believe them. The traffic is terrible.
The average commute time in Miami-Dade County is 30 minutes each way, every day, without exception. That includes the people who are lucky enough to live 5 minutes from where they work. You are going to be in the car a lot, and it is going to be a challenging experience.
4. The cost of living in Miami is exceptionally high compared to the rest of the United States.
The average cost of living in the United States is rated at 100, which means a community achieving that score is right at the national median for household expenses. The cost of living index for the city as a whole is 111, which is one of the highest ratios in the country right now. If you decide to call one of the resort areas or the beach communities home, then your cost of living index can be over 200. Although there are some financial advantages to living here that are worth considering, it can be a challenge to afford a place that meets your size requirements.
5. Housing costs are very high in Miami for most families.
Numbeo estimates that the average cost to live in Miami for a four-person family excluding housing is already $3,700 per month. When you add in the cost of an apartment, you’ll need to add another $2,100 to that final total, depending on the neighborhood where you decide to live. Houses in Miami can sometimes be found around the $250,000 mark, but those opportunities are fading fast unless you purchase a foreclosure or a HUD home. If you aren’t living here already, then you are going to want to be earning at least six figures to ensure you can afford everything.
6. The job market in Miami is only average.
Information published by Miami Today shows that the average unemployment rate for the city was 4.2% in 2017. That puts the community on a pace that is similar to what the rest of the country experiences. Although the city is home to several international companies that produce high-paying jobs, you will also find that the fashion sector and the ports provide a bevy of employment opportunities as well. If you have a marketable skill that is in demand with local employers, then this disadvantage will not apply to you.
If you’re looking for work without a college degree, then you could find that the opportunities may be limited. The median wage in Miami (and the rest of Florida) is higher than the national average, but it can be tough to get by on $10 per hour here with the higher cost of living present.
A Final Thought on the Pros and Cons of Living in Miami
Miami is a special city that people either love or love to hate. It isn’t a place for everyone because of the heat and humidity that you can find there, but it is also a great city if you love to experience a mixture of cultures. There are great places to eat, lots of entertainment venues, and warm weather to enjoy by the plenty.
There are challenges to face here that go beyond weather and crime as well. Life in the city is all about the routines that you can create for yourself. Get to where you want to be early if you want to guarantee a spot for yourself. Then make sure that you’ve always got at least $20 in cash ready because you’re going to be paying for parking wherever you go – or your bus fare.
The pros and cons of living in Miami, FL, show us that it is possible to live in paradise. There is a cost to pay for the privilege, but the expenses are not unreasonable. If you are thinking about moving to a city like San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, or New York City, then the cost profile is rather similar. You’re also going to be taking advantage of the better weather!
Blog Post Author Credentials
Louise Gaille is the author of this post. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Louise has almost a decade of experience in Banking and Finance. If you have any suggestions on how to make this post better, then go here to contact our team.