Flint, Michigan; and Miami Beach, Florida don't have a lot in common. One is arguably the nation's most impoverished and suffering city. The other is billed as America's paradise. But according to a new analysis from Apartment List, both are about the same when it comes to raising a young family. Which is to say neither is a very good place to raise a family.
The analysis ranked America's 473 largest cities. Four criteria were involved:
Safety - FBI crime data on number of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 residents.
Housing Costs - The percentage of a median income required to rent an average two-bedroom apartment.
School Quality - High-school graduation ranks of the local school districts.
Child Friendliness - Census data to determine the number of kids already living in the city.
Of 473 cities, Miami Beach ranked 461 (or the 13th worst on the list).
Flint came in at 464. Interestingly, Fort Lauderdale was right behind Flint, at 465.
So how did Miami Beach score so poorly? It had a crime score of 0.3 out of a possible 100. Housing is notably expensive (and only getting pricier). The high-school graduation rate of Miami-Dade County Public Schools isn't particularly good, and, well, there are not a lot of people raising kids here anyway. The "child friendliness" score was just 2.3 out of 100.
Here's how Miami Beach and the other Miami-Dade cities stacked up:
389 - Hialeah
Combined Score: 29.1
428 - Homestead
Combined Score: 23.2
448 - Miami
Combined Score: 18.2
461 - Miami Beach
Combined Score: 14.2
Now maybe you're thinking, Are you kidding me?
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And, yes, this kind of analysis relies on criteria for which easily accessible, standardized data is available. There are a whole lot of intangibles and caveats that tend to get left out. Plus, all cities in Miami-Dade got the same education score because they're all part of the same school district, even though the individual public schools in Miami Beach might be viewed better than the ones in Hialeah.
There are limits to this data, but theses kinds of studies are useful for underscoring how impractical it is for families to live in a supposedly "nice" city.
Sure, Miami Beach would be a perfectly nice place to raise kids — if you have a lot of money to buy a nice place in one of the lower crime areas of the city. But that's not an option for your average working parent, especially in Miami-Dade's economy.