© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Longstanding quality of life problems are driving out Miami-Dade residents

David Santiago
Miami Herald

Is Miami facing an exodus?

Census figures show that between 2020 and 2022, people leaving Miami-Dade County to live elsewhere outnumbered those coming in. Recent reports have cited high living costs — especially exorbitant housing prices — and a low-wage economy as the key factors driving an exodus from paradise.

On the South Florida Roundup, WLRN’s Tim Padgett spoke about the county’s longstanding quality-of-life problems related to traffic, housing unaffordability and low wages.

He was joined by Rebecca San Juan, who covers real estate for the Miami Herald and wrote an article about the population drop last week for the Miami Herald, and Rod Miller, the president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the county’s economic development organization.

“You have renters who are waiting forever, it seems, to try to buy their first home,” San Juan said. “And unless they have a connection, someone that they know [is] selling at a fair price, they're not going to be able to enter the market.”

READ MORE: 'Beyond a crisis': As Hialeah gets more popular, residents feel pushed out by rents

San Juan’s reporting outlined that the median sales price for a single-family home in Miami-Dade County right now is $622,000. That’s more than ten times the median family income here, which is less than $60,000, making Miami one of America’s most unaffordable cities to live in.

Yet it’s not just low-income Miamians who see the effects. San Juan also interviewed fairly well-off middle class residents and one even said Miami feels like a “pirate town” that’s set up only for the really rich.

“I started to hear that a lot of middle-class households in wealthy households were looking elsewhere because they just didn't like the quality of life,” San Juan said. “They've been here for decades, maybe they were born and raised here or they moved here 30 years ago. And the Miami of today is not the same Miami.”

But this is not the first time the media have announced people leaving the County. Padgett pointed that out himself in an in-depth article for Time Magazine 17 years ago about a Miami out-migration sparked by the city’s unaffordability and its low wages.

Miller argued that the new declining population data shouldn’t be a big concern for Miami-Dade because there’s capital being spent on different aspects of quality of life that include infrastructure, transit and new jobs.

“I don't want to downplay the challenges, but I think the realities of the overarching trends is that there are smart investments being made,” he added.

On the latest South Florida Roundup, we also spoke about restoring Florida’s coral reef after being affected by global warming and mass incarceration being used as a way to defeat Central America’s gangs.

You can listen to the hour-long conversation here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Ammy Sanchez, the Morning Edition producer for WLRN, studies communications at the Honors College at Florida International University.
More On This Topic