Miami Named Least Affordable City in U.S. for Recent College Grads

Congratulations! You can't afford to go out.
Congratulations! You can't afford to go out. Photo by Jessica Lipscomb
For those lucky enough to attend, college is a time for making dumb decisions and learning from them. But for freshly minted graduates who haven't quite gotten those bad decisions out of their system, Miami might just be the perfect place to settle down — according to a new study, it's the least-affordable city for recent college grads.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, analysts with the fintech company Self found that college graduates aged 22 to 27 earn a median annual wage of $34,020 in the Miami metro area, which includes Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. That's nearly $16,000 less than the national average of $50,000.

Adjusted for cost of living, the Miami metro ranked dead last in terms of affordability for young degree holders.

"Out of the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas, Miami is the worst-paying for recent college grads," the report concluded.

The San Jose metro area in California ranked highest in terms of the median wage, with young college-educated workers earning about $72,000 annually. Even with the area's high cost of living, 20-somethings are more easily able to afford to make a life there.

Many Midwestern metros also ranked well, owing to their low cost of living. Two Missouri cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, ranked second and third, respectively, on the list of most-affordable places for young graduates.

Florida cities ranked much lower. Jacksonville came in at  number 33, with a median wage of $42,000. The Tampa Bay area, with the same median wage but a higher cost of living, ranked 40th. Orlando fared slightly better than Miami, coming in at number 45 with a median annual wage of $40,000.

So there you have it: another data-heavy study telling you something you probably already know. Miami — a fun place to come on college spring break, a less fun place to find an affordable studio apartment close to your first full-time job.
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Jessica Lipscomb is news editor of Miami New Times and an enthusiastic Florida Woman. Born and raised in Orlando, she has been a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists.
Contact: Jessica Lipscomb