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Recent College Graduates Can Barely Pay Rent in Miami, Study Says

Recent College Graduates Can Barely Pay Rent in Miami, Study SaysEXPAND
Photo by Neil Williamson / Flickr

You slogged through four years of college, taking out an ungodly number of loans and pulling all-nighters at the library each exam week. You lived off cereal and Easy Mac and dealt with your roommate's weirdo boyfriend crashing in your dorm room every weekend – all this in hopes that your degree would get you a solid job and an OK place to live.

Unfortunately, hardly anyone can afford the rent in Miami — college degree or not.

Just in time for graduation season, the folks at Hotpads are out with a new study showing that housing is becoming impossibly expensive for recent grads. Analysts with the site found a typical graduate would have to spend a staggering 77 percent of his or her income on the median monthly rent in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, which is $2,035. Nationally, new graduates put 45 percent of their income toward the median monthly rent of $1,535.

This year's Miami/Fort Lauderdale numbers are significantly worse than they were 10 years ago, the study found. And things were bleak even then, with 55 percent of a recent grad's salary going toward rent in 2009. That is, of course, still far outside the 30 percent rule of thumb for housing costs.

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The analysis is just the latest to show how outrageously expensive it's become to live in South Florida. It seems there's a new study on the problem every week, telling us that the gap between the rich and poor is growing exponentially here or that Miami is the country's most rent-burdened city. It takes a salary of nearly $50,000 to live in an apartment with more than one bedroom, and yet Miami-Dade County's median income is $43,000. Miami is too expensive for single people, people with roommates, and now, recent college grads.

“Graduating from college still typically pays off in the long run, but slower wage growth for college graduates and rising costs have dampened the immediate financial benefits associated with a four-year degree," Hotpads economist Joshua Clark said in a press release. "As renters consider their career interests and their short-term costs of living, where and how they live post-graduation can have more of an impact on their finances now than ever before."

Judging from the study, they might want to consider living almost anywhere other than South Florida. Among the country's 50 largest metro areas, only Los Angeles and San Diego eat up more of a recent graduate's income. Even New York is a better option.

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