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'A city of transplants': Why Miami was ranked one of the unfriendliest places in the U.S.

Adriane Gonzalez

Miami may well be fun – but according to a new survey it is definitely not friendly.

On the latest South Florida Roundup, we spoke to Miami native Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald about the AmeriCorps and U.S. Census Bureau study which placed the Magic City at or near the bottom among major U.S. cities in a various “friendliness and helpful” categories.

The categories include: helping your neighbors, volunteering, charitable giving and joining civic organizations. In all these, Miami ranked in the bottom three.

Robertson said that one of the things that separates Miami from the cities that ranked high on this study is the flux and flow of its population.

“This is a city of transplants, of immigrants … of transient tourists visiting town,” she said. “And so you don’t have the glue that you would have in Boston or Philadelphia or Chicago, where people have spent their whole lives there.”

This study is not an outlier by any means. In 2016, Travel + Leisure ranked Miami, the rudest city in America and the third rudest city in the world. Last year, anational generosity ranking placed Miami near the bottom of more than 100 cities.

Robertson said locals don't appear to care about Miami frequenting these lists, and likely do not realize their attitude may be off-putting.

“I've traveled all over the place and people in Moscow are not particularly warm and friendly, and in Beijing it's impossible to cross the street,” she said. “But Miami, it's just I think there's the obliviousness factor. Like people just don't seem aware of how rude and unfriendly they are.”

The study does cite factors such as income, education and time that play a role in these placings. It says that cities in the north of the country have more of these resources on hand than cities in the south. These resources make it easier to join organizations or get involved in your community.

“Economics is a big part of what we're talking about here. People who are struggling to make a living and don't speak English well, they're uncomfortable even getting involved,” Robertson said.

On this episode of the South Florida Roundup, we also spoke about a rare intersection of faith, as Christians, Jews and Muslims all observed some of their holiest periods at the same time over the weekend.

Listen to the full episode above.

Natu Tweh is WLRN's Morning Edition Producer. He also reports on general news out of South Florida.
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