When you hear the name Miami, beaches, parties, beautiful people, and clubs are things that first come to mind. It’s no surprise that the warm-weathered party of a town is very alluring to tourists who want to become residents.
Thankfully, there’s much more to this city than what meets the eye of a tourist doing touristy things. Miami is a leader in international trade, finance, and arts. Along with that, Miami also attracts young professionals in the trade and banking sectors. Meanwhile, there are enough suburbs away from the crowds, and much more in them, which makes Miami an amazing place to call home.
However, the neighborhood you pick to live in will make or break your experience with the city. So make sure you choose very, very well. To help you make that decision, here’s what you should know before moving to Miami.
The state of Florida does not charge its residents any income tax. This means the only taxes that the people living here have to deal with are the federal taxes. Moreover, there is no tax on Social Security or retirement benefits, either. The residents of Miami do have to pay the sales and property taxes, though. However, compared to any other city in the country, the amount of money you’ll pay as taxes is much less.
Great Party Culture
The nightlife in Miami is one thing that you cannot avoid talking about. The city offers a magnificent selection of oceanfront clubs, live music, and insane discos as well as other dance venues. Other than the nightlife, Miami is also action-packed for the ones who like to venture out during the day, too! You’ll find a huge number of theaters, art galleries, museums, and performing-art venues.
Great Food Culture
A large part of Miami’s population is a culmination of Cuban, Haitian, Central and Southern American, and the Caribbean. The food culture along with all other aspects of the culture in Miami is a melting pot of all the cultures that the people have brought in. Some must-try dishes are tostones, empanadas, and the classic Cuban sandwich.
If you’re a fan then you’d know that the classic cop-movie franchise Bad Boys is set in Miami. You can see all the different locations at which the movie was shot with a simple Google search. Rent a Porsche and drive around town singing the theme track to the movie just like Mike Lowrey would!
High Cost Of Living
By the virtue of being so densely populated and by the virtue of being Miami, the cost of living is high. It’s about 60% higher than the rest of America, on average. This directly translates to the fact that you need a strong bank account to afford living here.
Hot And Humid Climate
While this is one of the biggest reasons for people to visit the beach town, anyone planning on moving here might have a hard time adjusting to the heat. In order to combat the heat and humidity, you might find yourself staying indoors and paying a high electricity bill.
Relatively Higher Crime Rate
While Miami is a place where life wears a party outfit after sunset, there are some areas that one must avoid walking into after dark. There are also some areas that one should not even think of living in. However, you can check the crime statistics and see that there are a lot of areas that are more than safe to raise a family. In fact, there is almost a 60% difference in the average crime rate between the safest and the unsafest places in Miami.
High Housing Costs
The housing cost in Miami is pretty high. It gets even higher as you move closer to the ocean. Additionally, the closing costs are also high on both sides of a real estate deal. Miami still manages to maintain a balanced property market throughout the city. So if you’re thinking of moving, research well but don’t take too long to ponder on the purchase.
As a resident of Miami, you have to make peace with the fact that there will always be some tourists everywhere. Since the economy of Miami is highly dependent on tourism, you might as well find a way to benefit from this.
Weather In Miami
The weather in Miami can be divided into two seasons: summer and winter. The city of Miami lies in Florida, which has a subtropical climate. This means that the summers here are long, hot, and humid while the winters are short and mildly chilly.
The city of Miami gets rainfall from May through October. However, it’s only about 61.9 inches and lowers the average temperature in the city to somewhere around 80 degrees. Speaking of average temperatures, the temperatures in the summer season can range from 78°F to 89°F with the average daily temperature being 87°F. On the other hand, the winters can range between 63°F and 76°F, with the average daily high temperature being 78°F.
Cost Of Living In Miami
The cost of living is calculated on a ranking system with 1 being the lowest. The national average of the USA is 100 and all the places inside the country are ranked relatively. At 123.1, the cost of living in Miami is higher than the national average. In fact, it’s one of the costliest places to live in Florida as well. The main culprit for which are the housing costs, since they drive up the cost for everything else in an area as well. However, since the state enjoys less taxes, the overall living expense does balance itself out to some extent.
If you’re thinking of buying property in the city, you might find a good spot in the center of the city costing around $400 per square foot. This amount goes down to about $240 if you choose a different area. Other than the neighborhood, the configuration of the house you buy will also affect the price along with the closing costs, which are a concern regardless of whether you are buying or selling. According to Bestplaces, the cumulative average cost of a house in Miami is $398,100. This is comparatively higher than the national average of $291,700.
Renting A House
On average, you might end up paying about $1,700 for rent in Miami every month. This amount does go up as you near the oceanfront and goes down as you delve into the lesser-known parts of the city.
As of 2021, the combined sales tax for the city of Miami is 7%. However, Miami does not charge any sales tax. This means you only have to worry about the state and county sales taxes, which are 6% and 1%, respectively. The average effective property tax rate in Miami is around 1.02%.
Utilities And Other Expenses
The utility bills in this city rank at about 95.5, against the national average at 100, while the cost of groceries and healthcare is at 107.3 and 98.8. This means the operational cost of living in Miami is close to the national average, if not more. All in all, an average family of four in Miami might spend around $3,859 per month, while a single adult might end up spending close to $1,063 per month. So keep that in mind as you decide to make a move.
Miami has a higher crime rate and that is no mystery. According to NeighborhoodScout, the violent crime rate in Miami is 6.16, whereas the national average is 4. For property crimes, Miami scores 37.73, while the national average for the same is 21. This brings the total crime rate in Miami to 43.89. These crime rates are calculated on the basis of the number of crimes committed per 1,000 residents.
The chances of you becoming a victim of violent crime in Miami is 1 in 162 whereas the chances of you becoming a victim of property crime in Miami is 1 in 27. That said, not all areas of Miami have a high crime rate. Keep reading below to know about some of the best places to live in Miami.
Economy And Employment Opportunities In Miami
The fact that the economy of Miami is highly dependent on the tourism industry, it comes as no surprise that this industry also offers the highest number of jobs, only to be followed by finance and media or telecommunications. Another blooming industry in Miami is transport. The Port Of Miami is the 9th biggest port in the country and brings in a lot of business, locally as well as nationwide.
Since a lot of the jobs in these industries will have you speaking to people from all around the world, knowing multiple languages will get you hired faster, especially if the second language is Spanish.
The average salary in this city is around $50,060, approximately $3,000 less than the national average. The highest salary in Miami as of 2021, is earned by airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers. They make around $239,250 per year. On the other hand, the minimum wage in the state of Florida is $10/hour, which translates to about $20,800 per year.
For a better scale, here is a list of the five highest-paying jobs in Miami:
Average Annual Salary
Annual Entry-Level Salary
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Education In Miami
While you get a bunch of public schools, Miami also has a lot of charter and international schools, along with a few colleges. However, you might have to look around Miami-Dade County for an educational institute that would best fit your needs.
Here’s a list of a few schools that stand out in Miami:
A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School, Boca Raton
iPrep Academy, Miami
Pembroke Pines Charter School, Pembroke Pines
Henry S. West Laboratory School, Coral Gables
A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School, Boca Raton
Mast Academy, Key Biscayne
iPrep Academy, Miami
Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy, Hialeah
A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School, Miami
School for Advanced Studies, Miami
Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts, West Palm Beach
Suncoast Community High School, Riviera Beach
Colleges And Universities
University of Miami, Coral Gables
Florida International University, Miami
Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton
Keiser University, Fort Lauderdale
Traffic And Transportation In Miami
Miami is a tourist-centric city and the public transportation network in the city is a great example of it. To start off, Miami has a 25-mile elevated light rail system called the Metrorail. It’s arguably the easiest way to get around Miami, besides the Metrobus.
Metrobus is the city’s bus service that is designed to intersect with all other modes of transport and take you around all the parts of Miami that are not covered by them. The fares for both the Metrobus and Metrorail begin at $2.50. You’ll need an EASY Card or EASY ticket to avail of their services since the entrance booths do not accept cash.
You can also use the Metromover to get around Downtown Miami and Brickell. The Metromover goes around in three loops: Omni Loop, Inner Loop, and Brickell Loop. The Metromover also efficiently connects to the Metrorail and Metrobus, making it very easy to get around Miami.
If you want to go around the city just for fun, check out the Miami Trolley. It has limited stops and is relatively slow, but it’s a fun experience. That being said, the best way to get around Miami is by your own car. However, get ready for heavy traffic during peak hours and limited parking spots.
This city is most well known as the backdrop to a bunch of legendary movies and TV shows like Scarface, The Bird Cage, and Miami Vice. Separated from Miami by the Biscayne Bay, this city is a hub for multiple activities like water activities, dance, music, and visual arts.
2. Zoo Miami
Zoo Miami is the only tropical zoo in the United States with animals from areas like Asia, Africa, Amazon, and some from even farther. If you want to get through the exhibits as fast as possible, you can ride the air-conditioned monorail in the zoo. If you want to get to see and understand the zoo, you can take a guided tram tour through the zoo.
3. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park was established in 1934 and is the third-largest national park in the country, after Yellowstone and Death Valley National Parks. You’ll find animals like the American crocodile, the Florida panther, and the West Indian manatee thriving here. These species belong to the list of endangered animals, making the Everglades even more important.
Best Places To Live In Miami
1. Key Biscayne
Even though Key Biscayne is a popular tourist spot, it’s an amazing neighborhood to live in Miami as it has access to everything ranging from schools to beaches. You can find housing options like condominiums, apartments, luxury high-rises, and even full-fledged estates spread throughout the area. Since Key Biscayne only covers about 1.7 square miles of land, it’s also very easily covered on foot, or by bike. You’ll also find that the streets are relatively less crowded and friendly towards pedestrians.
Median Home Value: $1,211,000
Monthly Median Rent: $2,548
Annual Median Household Income: $121,023
3. Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove is the ideal neighborhood to move into. It’s safe, happening, and laid-back at the same time. As a resident here, you’ll find yourself incredibly close to the beach. On the other hand, you’ll also have great schools like Coconut Grove Elementary School and George Washington Carver Elementary School right around the corner. Ranked as one of the best places in Miami to buy a house, Coconut Grove does come with an expensive price tag. So regardless of whether you choose an estate or an apartment, make sure you can budget it in.
Median Home Value: $592,500
Monthly Median Rent: $1,401
Annual Median Household Income: $106,834
4. Coral Gables
This Miami suburb is a favorite among the families, owing to the highly-rated educational institutions here. Coral Gables is not only home to the University Of Miami, but also Coral Gables Preparatory School and Sunset Elementary schools. So you can rest assured that your child will have access to a great education. Coral Gables is also known to have large houses that offer great resale values.
Median Home Value: $696,000
Monthly Median Rent: $1,412
Annual Median Household Income: $100,843
This south Miami suburb is a great place to move into if you want to avoid being in the middle of the crowds that the heart of this city holds. The trade-off is that you have to live a little outside the city. Even then, Kendall provides the residents with all that they can ask for. From a miniature version of the party scene to amazing schools like School For Advanced Studies, William H. Lehman Elementary School, and Kendale Elementary School; there’s a lot this suburb offers.
Median Home Value: $312,800
Monthly Median Rent: $1,331
Annual Median Household Income: $73,612
Pinecrest is another ideal family neighborhood, thanks to the friendly community, tree-lined streets, houses with huge yards, and top-rated schools like Palmetto Elementary, Palmetto Middle, and Palmetto High Schools. Pinecrest is also home to a botanical garden, a golf course, and a few great seafood restaurants that will blow your mind. Even if you decide against living here, you can visit the area for a relaxing evening at one of the many entertainment venues it has to offer.
Median Home Value: $840,900
Monthly Median Rent: $1,313
Annual Median Household Income: $156,875
To summarize living in Miami in one article is almost impossible. The city, which has more than 60% of the people speaking Spanish, is a melting pot of multiple Latin cultures that have infused beautifully with the American lifestyle.
While this city is known as a party-town with nothing but beaches and pubs, you cannot ignore the fact that Miami is a haven for people who want to start a new chapter in their lives, regardless of whether it’s with education, with a job, with a family, or otherwise. Before you move, just make sure that your bank account can survive the stay in this city and learn a few Spanish words and phrases. Hasta la vista, amigo! You can use our Moving Calculator to calculate the cost of our move.
Miami is known for its white-sand beaches, warm climate, delicious cuisine, Cuban coffee, and its Latin-American influences. Some popular attractions include Miami Beach, South Beach, Zoo Miami, Bayside Marketplace, Little Havana, Ocean Drive, and Deering Estate.
Is Miami A Safe City?
Miami is overall a safe city, especially for tourists. It has some dangerous areas that should be avoided, but they are far from the usual tourist landmarks. You’re advised to remain vigilant around tourist landmarks, since pickpockets are an issue there, and keep an eye out for suspicious activities wherever you go.
Is Miami Beach Safe At Night?
Miami Beach is generally a safe city for visitors. However, as with most major tourist destinations, pickpocketing is the biggest concern, particularly during the chaotic nighttime and along busy Washington Street. Just make sure to walk in groups at night and avoid any unfamiliar territory.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.