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Miami Is a Cheaper Place to Live Than Detroit, Feds Say

In Miami, construction cranes are multiplying like late-summer swarms of mosquitoes, and every week it seems a new luxury high-rise hits the marketplace. Only New York has more million-dollar listings than the Magic City. And residents without the wallets to drop a few mil on a condo with a Ferrari garage are beginning to feel the pinch of skyrocketing rents.

So try not to do a spit-take with your coffee when you read the latest news from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The feds say Miami is actually a cheaper place to live, on the whole, than 16 other big cities, including unlikely candidates Phoenix, Philly, and, yes, Detroit.

The data comes from 2012 and aims to get a snapshot of how much of their income Americans spend on housing -- both paying rent or a mortgage and other expenses like furnishings and repairs.

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The feds found the average American drops about 33 percent of his or her income -- or just less than $17,000 -- every year on digs.

A few metro areas, though, spent way above that average. Topping the list, surprisingly, was Washington, D.C., where the average resident spent $28,416 on housing, the feds say. New York came in second, followed by San Diego, Baltimore, and L.A.

But where's Miami? Nowhere near the top, the bureau reports. In fact, the data actually shows Miamians spend less than the national average. Only Cleveland, where residents spent just $9,061 per year, came in lower.

So what gives? There are probably a number of factors at play, including Miami's huge income gap. The year from which this report compiled data, another report found Miami-Dade had the second-highest inequality of any county in America. That means for every million-dollar pad, there are many, many more impoverished households.

There's also the fact that this report considers data from two years ago, when Miami's boom was certainly reigniting but perhaps hadn't quite reached the fevered pitch residents are seeing today.

Here's the full report:

Housing

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