Pavilion from the Ocean

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Study: Miami Beach About as Good a Place to Raise a Family as Flint, Michigan

Miami Beach, Florida, and Flint, Michigan, don't have a lot in common. One is arguably the country's most impoverished and suffering city. The other is billed as America's paradise. But according to a new analysis from Apartment List, both are about the same when it comes to raising a young family.

Which is to say, neither is a very good place to raise a family.

The analysis ranked America's 473 biggest cities. Four different criteria were involved:
  • Safety - Using FBI crime data on number of violent crimes and property crimes per 100,000 residents. 
  • Housing Costs - The percentage of a median income required to rent an average two-bedroom apartment. 
  • School Quality - Using High School graduation ranks of the local school districts. 
  • Child Friendliness - Decided using census data to find out the number of kids already living in the city. 
Miami Beach came in 461 out of 473 cities (or the 13th worst on the list).

Flint came in at 464. Interestingly, Fort Lauderdale was right behind Flint at 465.

So, how did Miami Beach score so low? Well, it had a crime score of 0.3 out of a possible 100.
 Housing is notably expensive (and only getting worse). The high school graduation rate of Miami-Dade County Public Schools isn't particularly good, and, well, there are not a lot of people raising kids there anyway. The "child friendliness" score was just 2.3 out of 100.

Here's how Miami Beach and the other cities analyzed in Miami-Dade stacked up:

389th - Hialeah 
Safety: 56.3
Child: 8
Education: 33.2
Housing: 0.9
Combined Score: 29.1
Grade: D

428th - Homestead
Safety: 11
Child: 97.2
Education: 33.2
Housing: 4.3
Combined Score: 23.2
Grade: D

448th - Miami
Safety: 10.8
Child: 49.2
Education: 33.2
Housing: 4
Combined Score: 18.2
Grade: F

461st - Miami Beach 
Safety: 0.3
Child: 2.3
Education: 33.2
Housing: 18.6
Combined Score: 14.2
Grade: F

Now, maybe you're thinking, Are you kidding me? Of course I'd rather raise my kid in Miami Beach than Flint or Hialeah for that matter.

And, yes, this types of analysis relies on criteria for which easily accessible, standardized data is available. There are a whole lot of intangibles and caveats that tend to get left out. Plus, all cities in Miami-Dade got the same education score because they're all part of the same school district, even though the individual public schools in Miami Beach might be viewed better than the ones in Hialeah.

There are limits to this data, but these kind of studies are useful for underscoring how impractical it is for families to live in a supposedly "nice" city.

Sure, Miami Beach would be a perfectly nice place to raise a kid — if you have a lot of money to buy a nice place in one of the lower crime areas of the city. But that's not an option for your average working parent, especially in Miami-Dade's economy.

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