The popular beach destination, as a city that can be called home? Considering moving to Miami means having a lot of unanswered questions, from whether the amenities for locals are half as luxurious as those for the tourists, to how expensive life in the city would be. Naturally, understanding these questions thoroughly is what will ultimately help you decide whether moving to Miami is something you should undertake. Read up our relocation guide to Miami that covers the essentials, alongside information you didn’t know you needed.
What Do I Need To Know About Moving To Miami?
Miami is known as the Magic City, apparently for its high growth rate from year to year. Currently, it is growing at a rate of 1.62% annually, and its population has increased by 21.76% since the 2010 census (the most recent). Miami has an approximate 2020 population of 486,388, and is the 2nd largest city in Florida. The Magic City spans across 56 miles, with a population density of 13,512 people per square mile.
Miami’s riches go beyond its gilded sands, spilling over into interesting history, fascinating architecture and a cultural dynamism that never sleeps. Among the various new places for any first-timer to discover is Calle Ocho or Eighth Street – the historic center of the Cuban population. For 5 days every year, Miami is doused in color and music as residents and tourists all take part in Carnaval. You needn’t be in Rio to experience Carnaval, but the Spanish you’ll keep hearing certainly adds an exotic touch to Miami. Over two thirds of the population in Miami speak Spanish as their first language, so you’d better get to familiarizing the language if you hope to get around like a local.
Though you might feel like your relaxed beach vacay is a few blocks away, the cheerful folks of Miami are actually all about healthy living. From aerobics to crossfit, you can get that beach body when literally living in the city that is home to one of America’s most iconic beaches. If working out isn’t your thing, you’ll still be losing more than a bead of sweat to the weather in Miami. Tropical paradise it is indeed, coming along with the tropical humidity and range of wildlife that is characteristic of this kind of climate. Bugs, creepy crawlies and reptiles abound, getting you out of that vacation mindset and quite shockingly throwing you back into the reality of being a Miami resident. But the perks that come with being a resident far outweigh the bugs; you have walkways and bike trails, 800 parks, and the benefit of living in the only city in the US surrounded by 2 national parks (Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park).
For those inclined to art and aesthetics, the design district in Miami is all you will need. It is home to the Art Basel International Art Fair and General Festival, that sees the creme-de-la-creme of the art industry dropping by. Plus, Miami is also home to an Art Deco district, with buildings constructed in the appealing, balanced Parisian architectural style, painted in hues of pastels.
Crime Rate in Miami
A city that attracts these many tourists and new residents each year also attracts crime. We’ve separated crime into the two broadest categories: violent crimes (assault, rape, murder, armed burglary) and property crimes (theft, vehicular theft, arson).
The violent crime rate comparison per 1,000 residents is 6.37, a little over the national average of 4. The comparison for property crime rates is higher and more worrying, at 35.96 per 1,000 residents, significantly higher than the national average of 24. Plus, the chances of getting your car stolen in Miami is 1 in 286.
You’d naturally be worried about your safety, but as with any big city, crime will always have somewhat of a presence. Our advice? Pick your neighborhood wisely, stay away from the dangerous areas, and take safety precautions as you would anywhere else. The numbers are worrying, but definitely not enough to sway your decision of living in Miami.
Miami has beach weather practically throughout the year, classified as tropical. Summer is, well, summery! Of course, also accompanied with humidity that can tend to make you feel a bit muggy. Winters are warm with no sight of snow. Unlike several other cities, winter is also dry, so there’s no need to dread cold rainy showers and overcast skies in the biting cold. Annual temperatures vary from 60°F to 90°F.
Summer in Miami lasts from June to September, with temperatures between 75°F and 90°F. The months from May to October also see a lot of rainfall, scattered across the months. However, the rain comes down in short sudden bursts, and sometimes in thunderstorms. The rest of the time, the skies are sunny and the temperatures remain warm. It transitions into a brief autumn, when you experience slightly lower temperatures and rainfall.
Winter season, from December to March, is warm and pleasantly mild. Temperatures hover in the 60s in the nights, while daytime temperatures hover around the 70s. Winter is followed by spring in April and May. Temperatures are on a slight rise once more, with a little rain from May onwards. Overall, the weather in Miami is quite moderate with no extreme changes, leaning on the warmer tropical side.
How Expensive Is It To Live In Miami?
Thus far, Miami sounds swell. You’re probably wondering how ‘‘swell’’ those prices will be as well. From utility bills to taxes to monthly expenses, your budget is what normally makes or breaks your decision to move to a new city. We’ve poked around legitimate sources to crunch those figures and take you through how expensive Miami is. You’ll have to pay an approximate property tax rate of between 1 to 3%, and a combined sales tax rate of 7%. But to properly kick things off on a good note, you ought to know that Florida has no state income tax!
Cost Of Living In Miami
The cost of living in Miami is 14% higher than the national average, which while on the pricier side, is still affordable. A family of 4 living in their own house in Miami will pay approximately $3,733.75 a month on expenses, while a single person will pay around $1,036.80 on monthly expenses.
A loaf of bread in Miami costs $3.51, and a gallon of milk costs $2.04. A carton of eggs is a dollar 91, and a bunch of bananas cost $3.54. Healthcare is 3% lower than Miami, with a visit to the doctor costing $107.39 and a visit to get those teeth polished is $92.26. Slightly lower than some of the big cities, a vet visit would cost you $52.19.
Buying A House
How much is a home valued at in the Magic City? According to Zillow, the average value of houses in Miami is $379,460. It has settled at this figure after a 4% rise since last year, and is predicted to rise by another 9.4% in the coming year. Clearly, people seem to think that Miami is a great place to live. But Miami’s housing expenses are 44% higher than the national average, with a median home price of $498,986.
Renting A House
Renting a house until you earn the big bucks to buy a place of your own is certainly a possibility. In Miami, you’re good to go so long as you earn enough to pay $1,679 a month, which is the average monthly rent. 74% of the apartments in Miami are rented for between $1,000 and $2,000. A good 45% of the households in Miami are renter-occupied, showing that Miami is a good city to rent a house in.
Utilities in Miami are 1% cheaper than the national average. You’ll be paying around $165.31 a month on your energy bill, while your monthly phone bill will come to around $176.22 a month. Gas is sold at $2.93 a gallon. The average monthly utility bill for a 915-square foot apartment here is $115.27, inclusive of basic utilities like water, electricity and heating.
Miami Economy And Employment Opportunities
There are over 170 multinational companies headquartered in and around Miami city, and its economy is fairly diverse. The average salary in Miami is 63k. Some of Miami’s leading industries are tourism, finance, services, trade and real estate. The Miami International Airport and PortMiami are two big providers of employment as well, especially PortMiami, which is the largest passenger port in the world.
These trends are reflected in data showing Miami’s most popular employers, one of which is Norwwegian Cruise Lines. Employees for Norwegian Cruise Lines earn between $48k and $113k. People in the education profession will find it easy to get employed, as Miami University, Florida International University and Miami Dade Public Schools are also top popular employers. Collectively, these 3 provide a wage bracket of around $33k to $99k.
If there’s one place where Miami has some room for improvement, it’s education. The education system is overseen by the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, one of the largest school districts in the US. However, from low funding to inconsistent quality of education, they have always faced a problem or two. This makes it even more important for you to wisely pick the Miami neighborhoods you’ll soon call home, since students in Miami attend public schools based on where they live. The good thing is that you don’t need to worry if your child isn’t fluent in English, since there’s extra English classes they can attend. Additionally, public schools in Miami follow a maximum inclusion policy.
On the other hand of the spectrum are the several magnet schools in Miami, some of which rank as some of the best in the nation. Public schools with an emphasis on a certain theme or academic focus like performing arts, maths or science, magnet schools in Miami enjoy lower drop-out rates and good reputations. You don’t have to be in the vicinity or neighborhood to attend a magnet school. Some of the charter schools in Miami join the magnet schools in being the top schools in Florida.
Miami also has a certain process to be followed for parents looking to get their children homeschooled. You need to file a notice of intent to homeschool with the county superintendent, who will register the homeschooling program after accepting the notice. The student will have an annual evaluation by a Florida-registered teacher or a licensed psychologist. You can also enroll your child in an “umbrella” school that will oversee the homeschooling program while you homeschool them.
Miami is also home to some quality universities, like the University of Miami, Florida International University, Barry University and more. Despite this, the percentage of people finishing university is low, with only 26.3% completing a 4 year degree. Nonetheless, a good 75.6% finish their high school graduation.
Getting Around Miami
Being a local in a city frequented by tourists means not only knowing when to avoid the streets and the traffic, but also how to use the public transportation to your advantage. Thankfully, Miami has plenty of transportation options that make it easy for any residents living here. A pro tip: It would help to purchase a prepaid rechargeable transit card called the EASY card to help pay those tickets faster. It also has the benefit of the EASY Pay app that lets you purchase tickets in advance.
Miami also has the Miami International Airport to connect you to the rest of America and the world. Apart from hailing a cab, you can also avail of ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft, both of which were legalized in 2016.
This 25-meter elevated rail system takes you through the city, from MIA to south Miami. Plus, the Orange Line connects you straight to the airport. Tickets for the Metrorail start at $2.25, and can be bought with the EASYcard or at the counter.
Free transportation? Yes please! This freebie public transportation service has three loops running in and around Downtown Miami. It serves as a convenient connection between the Metrorail and Metrobus, making transit switches that much easier on commuters. Metromovers function from 5 a.m. to midnight, all 7 days of the week.
Over 1,000 buses operate along over 40 different routes through Miami city. Several buses also service regions that the Metrorail doesn’t, so you can manage getting to your destination with a quick switch over from the rail to the bus. Rush hour traffic brings out the express bus service with fewer stops, so you get to your destination faster. Tickets start at $2.25 per trip, and can be easily bought using your EASY card.
A free and fun way of getting around, the Miami Beach Trolley runs from Mondays to Saturdays from 6 a.m. to midnight, and from 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. There’s four different routes to choose from, though the service doesn’t cover all of Miami. The trolleys are colorful and convenient to ride, and run every 15 minutes, though not exactly punctual.
In 2012, Miami was recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community. It has been coming up with initiatives to make locals turn to bicycling more often. One of these is the Citi Bike program, Miami’s bike sharing program. There’s 1,000 sturdy solar-powered bikes at 100 stations across the city, with more stations to come. The bikes are available on any day at any time of the day or night. Download the app to unlock the bike from its docking station to get started on your journey.
Best Neighborhoods In Miami
1. Coral Gables
If you thought living in beach-attraction Miami is not ideal for a family, think again. Miami has several neighborhoods that are sheltered from the touristy gaudiness, and one of them is Coral Gables. There’s a number of great schools for you to choose from, alongside a range of parks and good restaurants: all the things needed for a young, happy family. Coral Gables offers some waterfront homes for those with the cash to shell. The typical home value here is $821,251, and the average rent is $1,960.
2. Key Biscayne
Anyone looking to live that tropical life in style can head to Key Biscayne. This is an island neighborhood giving you the beach vibe that Miami is so famous for, minus the tourists. This is one of Miami’s luxury home markets, and the average home value here is $1,071,395. Don’t be mistaken thinking this is a neighborhood meant for rich, boat-owning retirees, as Key Biscayne also has a range of A-rated public and private schools. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment here is currently $2,300.
3. Sunny Isles
Waterfront views while being affordable, that’s what Sunny Isles is all about. Sunny Isles is just north of Miami Beach, and an influx of new construction work means home values as low as $437,050. Sunny Isles may not be the most family-friendly location, but armed with fantastic clubs, golf courses and other amenities, it sure makes for excellent living at a (comparatively) low price. $1,817 is the average rent in Sunny Isles.
Is Miami A Good Place To Live?
With great walkability and healthcare, Miami proves that the beach life is not just for the young guns by being excellent for retirees. It is home to several Active Adult Communities (AACs) that are equipped with amenities and services for retirees, including fitness centers, events, and hobby rooms.
Being happy as a resident of Miami means making some choices based on who you are and what you do. Finding the right neighborhood to live in is extremely important and must be a task that you devote yourself to. Anyone with a long work commute or aversion to traffic must stay away from the tourist hubs of Miami, while those with young kids must research schools. Plus, those without their own vehicles need to stay in a centrally-located neighborhood, or one with adequate public transport connections. Once you have these details in place, narrow down on a neighborhood and begin your happy life in Miami.
Top Realtors in Miami Share their Thoughts
1. Josh Stein
“Miami has changed drastically since I first moved to South Beach way back in 2001. Back then, things were much slower, and Miami was more of a winter vacation town. But with the influx of people from all over the world is making Miami their home. And it’s really exciting to watch the city transform into one of the best places to live and work. Miami is so much more than most other cities, and you have the beaches, the water, the restaurants, nightlife, anything you need at any time. It’s truly become a world-class city and an incredible place to call home.”
Remember that while exploring a new potential neighborhood is important, it is just as important to prep for moving day. Look into permissions for parking a moving truck or storage container on the street when unloading your things. If there’s no city permission, like in Chicago, you’ll need a moving company with a shuttle service. Whether it’s within Florida or across the country, your move needs the best kind of mover, which we can help you find.
Related: Best Moving Companies in Miami