In 1980, more than half of young people residing in Miami were living alone and away from their parents by the age of 24. Housing was cheap, wages were rising with inflation, and the city had not yet become a 1-percenters' playground.
Now? The real-estate website Zillow says the "tipping point" at which more millennials live independently rather than with family has spiked to age 29 — a huge jump that ties Miami with Los Angeles and New York City for the highest move-out age among major cities in America.
"Changes in social and cultural norms, as well as affordability challenges, likely explain some of the shift," Zillow researchers wrote in a study released this week. "Young people today are more likely than their predecessors to live in urban cores, where housing is more expensive, and rent price growth has hindered the ability of renters to afford a home without roommates or save enough of their salaries each month for a down payment. Increased demand for starter homes as the large Millennial generation reaches typical home-buying age, along with persistently low inventory, has contributed to robust home value appreciation in many large metro areas, making it more difficult for first-time buyers to get into a home."
Miami has long been among the top cities in the nation when it comes to the number of young people still living at home. Certainly, cultural norms have played a role here — children in many Latinx families, especially religious ones, often avoid moving away from home until they've married. But culture alone doesn't account for Miami's status here — especially because, as the city's housing stock has grown more expensive, data has shown that fewer people in their 20s are moving out.
New Times has written continually for the past decade that the city is becoming unaffordable for young people — a 2017 Trulia study, for example, warned that recent college graduates could afford only 2 percent of the city's rental market. That study was released mere months after the Miami Herald warned that the city's housing prices were so high that young people were simply looking elsewhere when buying their first homes.
Though city housing is expensive, low wages might actually be the main problem hurting Miami's young buyers and renters. Earlier this year, for example, researchers at Florida State University warned that tourism and hospitality — Miami's largest job sector — pays the lowest wages in America. Worse yet, those wages climb slower than salaries in every other job sector in the nation. Meanwhile, city housing prices continue to inflate year after year, which makes it sound like Miami's Generation Z members can expect to be Juuling and making TikTok videos in their parents' homes well into their 40s.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.