Conjuring up images of palm trees, sandy beaches, neon lights and Latin rhythms, Miami, Florida is an exciting destination with much to offer. Its unprecedented population growth during the past century has led to it being nicknamed 'the Magic City', and it's undeniable that migrants have played an important role in shaping the city’s history and unique character.
That it's also known as 'the Capital of Latin America' suggests something about the central role that Hispanic people have come to play in Miami, as well as its role as a cultural and economic gateway between Latin America and the USA.
Living in Miami as an expat
Large communities of Cuban, Haitian and Puerto Rican residents, among others, have left an enduring mark on the city. This can be seen in the nightclubs, restaurants and general lifestyle in Miami, especially in areas like Little Havana.
The city is also home to the headquarters of major corporations and functions as the Latin American outpost for other multinational businesses. Miami’s economy is unsurprisingly driven by tourism, and it also has significant finance and commerce sectors as well as being one of the busiest commercial ports of entry into the United States.
Most foreigners don't necessarily move to Miami for professional reasons, however, and are instead attracted by the Florida climate and the city’s atmosphere. A large variety of activities and attractions keep newcomers entertained, from malls to museums and national monuments.
New Arrivals will also have access to a large selection of medical options, given that feeling and looking good is so important to many of Miami’s residents. This quality of care comes at a high cost, though, so it's extremely important that new arrivals in the city have quality health insurance.
Cost of living in Miami
While Miami is cheaper than some of the USA's other major cities it is still a relatively expensive place to live. Accommodation and entertainment in Miami don't come cheap, but transport is fairly affordable and public schooling is free for locals and foreigners alike.
Expat families and children
The standard of education varies from school to school in Miami. That said, the city is home to some excellent schools, and language classes are made available to non-English speaking learners in public schools. This is helpful in managing the transition for many foreign families in the city.
The city also has a range of family-friendly attractions to entertain the kids outside of school hours. From educational museums and the Seaquarium to parks and amusement centres, families should certainly not struggle to keep their children busy on the weekends.
A multicultural city made up of a wide variety of residents, newcomers arriving in Miami with realistic expectations and an open mind are sure to enjoy life in the Magic City.
►For more about the ups and downs of life in the city, see Pros and Cons of Moving to Miami.
"People here are open-minded, friendly and welcoming. Speaking Spanish is a plus, but not a necessity." Read more of Emanuelle's expat experiences in Miami.
Are you an expat living in Miami?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Miami. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
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