It should be well established by now that the single biggest economic issues facing average residents of South Florida is the fact that while rents continue to rise unabated, our paychecks remain relatively low. As a result, Miamians spend a higher percentage of their annual income on rent than almost all other Americans.
Recently, 24/7 Wall Street researched the most expensive city to live in each of the 50 states. It should be of little surprise that the Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach metropolitan area is the most expensive in the state. It also probably shouldn't be too shocking that of those 50 cities, only the residents of three others make less on average each year than South Floridians.
To come to its conclusions, 24/7 Wall Street first looked at the cost of living in each state based on price level data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This is expressed as an index in which 100 represents the national average. Miami's is 105.1 (the index in all of Florida is 98.8). They also looked into the median income and the median rent paid.
Here's what the site has to say about the Miami metro area:
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida
> City cost of living: 105.0
> State cost of living: 98.8
> City median rent paid: $1,120
> City median household income: $46,946
Compared to the national average price level, it costs about 5% more to live in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. The median rent of $1,120 is considerably higher than the state and national rents. Unlike many other expensive areas, incomes in the metro area are less than proportionate. More than 54% of renting households pay more than 35% of their income in rent. Statewide, 48.2% of renting households pay this much in rent — the highest percentage in the country. With some of the most visited beaches in the nation, many residents may be willing to pay a larger share of their income to live in the area.
Yep, though overall high costs of living may not be a statewide issue, residents paying a large proportion of their income on rent is a problem. And it's much more pronounced in South Florida.
Oh, and, hint to 24/7 Wall Street: Having nice beaches nearby isn't really making the working class feel better about the situation.
The problem becomes especially pronounced when you look at the median rent and the median household income in the other expensive metro areas. Only three have lower median household incomes than South Florida.
- In New Orleans-Metairie, Louisiana, the median income is just $45,981, but the cost of living is lower than the national average, and residents there pay, on average, just $908 in rent.
- In Jackson, Mississippi, they make a median $43,611. However, Mississippi is the least expensive state in the nation in which to live, and median rent there is just $776.
- The median household income in Charleston, West Virginia, is $45,251, but cost of living there is astonishingly cheap, and median rent is just $644.
The national median household income, by the way, is $52,250. In the report, 33 of the 50 cities listed have median household incomes higher than that.
This isn't anything new.
We already know the average Miami household spends about 43.2 percent on rent, the second-highest rate of any major city in America.
If you want to rent a one-bedroom apartment in the City of Miami, it'll cost you about $1,800 month.
You are also more than likely renting, because 65 percent of Miami households rent, the highest percentage anywhere in America.
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Miami-Dade is also the fifth least affordable market for renters.
The county also leads the nation in millennials who still live at home (and it's more than just because of a Latin cultural thing).
Of course, if you still want to live in some other fancy American city, you can find some comparative deals. Rent in the Atlanta area is only $947. Portland: just $969. You could try the other Portland, in Maine, too. It's $902.