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Survey of Miami Beach Residents Yields Some Surprising Results

September 01, 2009 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local News  | 3 Comments

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While we try to offer a good cross-section of opinions on this site, it is impossible to truly capture every voice in Miami Beach. But recently the Center for Research and Public Policy conducted a survey of residents and businesses in the city, which yielded some very surprising results. Despite the assertions of some on this site, Miami Beach is no more wealthy than anywhere else, its residents aren’t significantly transient, and, surprise surprise, people seem to like it here.

PEOPLE ON THE BEACH LIKE THEIR LIVES, BUT NOT THE PEOPLE

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84.8 percent of residents said their quality of life was either “excellent” or “good” in the telephone study that the center conducted.  And while “Too many people” was the most often cited factor that contributed to a low quality of life (25.2 percent), 78.3 percent said they would recommend Miami Beach as a place to live. Apparently they haven’t learned from mine and the Hawaiians’ examples.

The weather was the most cited reason people liked their lives here, followed shortly after by the beach. The least common factor for enjoying life here? “Friendly people.” There’s a shocker.

THE POPULATION ISN’T WHAT YOU’D THINK

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The typical characterization we hear about Miami Beach is that it is a city full of young, transient people, with the extremely wealthy thrown in to drive up tax revenues. But the reality is very different.

While Miami Beach is not the retirement haven it once was, the most common demographic on the Beach is those over 65, at 36 percent. Only about ten percent of Miami Beach residents are under 35 years of age.

And people here have been here for a while. Over 40 percent of residents have lived in Miami Beach for over 20 years, while only about 12 percent have been here less than five. And this is not just a statistic driven by people in Mid-and-North Beach who are Beach lifers.  About two-thirds of people live in South Pointe (South of Fifth) have been there ten or more years, and nearly three quarters of people in South Beach and Belle Isle have been living there for over a decade. 87 percent of the population is here year round, so so much for the “large influx of snowbirds” theory. And 68 percent are homeowners.

The income distribution of Miami Beach residents also follows a pretty normal curve, with only about 18 percent of the population making over $100,000 a year. And the most frequent income bracket for Beach residents was between $50,000-$100,000. Not exactly poor, but not exactly awash in Millionaires either.

THE BEACH IS SAFE

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And while “More Police” was the most frequently cited improvement residents felt the city could make, 96 percent of residents said they felt safe in the city. This was the highest, I might add, of all the cities the Center surveyed.

People for the most part seemed satisfied with the local government, as even after the ridiculous flooding from some of our summer storms, only 46 percent said that storm drainage needed to be improved. They must have stayed indoors. And despite the complaints of some, Beach residents even love the police as 83 percent of residents were satisfied with the jobs the cops were doing.

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All in all, out of 31 tracking areas the survey takers measured, 29 saw significant improvements in positive responses over 2007. I’m not sure if this means the Beach is getting better, or people are just complaining less. But what it does mean is that the people who stay here, love it here. But as I always say, it’s still not for everyone.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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3 Comments on

"Survey of Miami Beach Residents Yields Some Surprising Results"

Lucille Acocella says:

I came here from NYC in 1991 for a 3 month job and fell completely in love with Miami Beach. A permanent position became available and I took it-and have not ever regreted it! I worked as a volunteer with MDPL-and still work every Art Deco weekend. I love the fact that Miami Beach has the diversity of a big city, but yet still has a small town feel.

Posted on 12/06/2009 at 8:33 AM

josh says:

this survey lacks credibility and is not in-line with census numbers. For instance, I have read that there are more males age 35 than any other age and more women 27 years old than any other age; then both genders decline.  Possibly after 35 and 27 both genders are seeking a city with more scope or opportunities. This survey is definitely dubious and not accurate whatsoever.

Posted on 09/17/2010 at 4:38 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

You’ve “read?” Where? some article somewhere? this is an official government study, not some shit I pulled out of my ass. I’d lend it more credibility than pretty much anything I’d read on some Forbes’ list. I’m at least backing this article up with an actual government study. Where do your claims come from, Josh?

Posted on 09/18/2010 at 12:21 PM

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