Richest Miamians Make Almost 14 Times as Much as Poorest Residents, Study Says

In Miami, the gap between rich and poor is stark. Homeless people huddle under blankets in the shadows of glittering hotels that host well-heeled tourists from around the world. Million-dollar condo buildings stand empty, while low-income residents struggle to find apartments they can afford.

So it's not surprising that a new study from Apartment List has found the Magic City has the sixth-highest income inequality among the country's largest metros, with a wealth gap that jumped 7.5 percent between 2008 and 2017.

The highest-earning households made nearly 14 times as much as the lowest earners, according to the research. That gap is higher in just five cities: Philadelphia, which comes in first with the rich earning a whopping 17.2 times what the poor make, followed by New York City, New Orleans, Boston, and San Francisco.

Housing costs are widening the divide. In Miami, Apartment List found housing costs have actually declined over the last 10 years. But well-off families enjoyed the biggest break, with a 7 percent decrease for those making above the median income.

The poor haven't been as fortunate: Though the study found they've also seen a decrease in rent, it was significantly lower, at 2 percent.

"The cost of putting a roof over one’s head is increasingly driving an even bigger gap between the haves and have-nots," the study's authors note.

Although the lowest-paid workers in Miami earn less than 73 percent of the median family income, they pay comparable rents. That monthly housing burden further hampers the city's poorest residents, according to the study.
image courtesy of Apartment List
image courtesy of Apartment List
On the bright(er) side, income inequality isn't growing nearly as quickly in Miami as it is in other cities. In New Orleans, the wealth gap jumped a staggering 44 percent, while Orlando's inequality growth increased 23 percent.
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Brittany Shammas is a former staff writer at Miami New Times. She covered education in Naples before taking a job at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. She joined New Times in 2016.
Contact: Brittany Shammas