Miami Vs. Philadelphia: Which City Is Better To Live In?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Miami and Philadelphia are cities that many would consider to be polar opposites. One is a party-hardy city right next to the beach, and the other one is a historically significant place with a lot of Ivy League glory. If you find yourself in a situation where you have an option to move to one of these two cities, you might be wondering which choice is for you. Don’t worry, we have the details.

Miami has one of the best nightlife scenes in America, not to mention warm weather and faster commutes. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has better educational standards and safer streets. Currently, more people would prefer to live in Philadelphia due to safety concerns but would rather have Miami wages.

Trying to figure out whether you’re more of a Miami or a Philly person is usually pretty intuitive. Even so, it’s good to get a better idea of what to expect if you decide to move to either city.

Which City Is Better: Miami Or Philly?

Most of the time, people prefer to visit Miami but want to live in a place like Philadelphia. But, it can always change. It depends on the factors that you want to involve.

Quality Of Life

How much enjoyment you get out of your life quality depends on a lot of things. For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume that we’re talking about happiness levels.

Philadelphia is named the City of Brotherly Love for a reason. Miami is friendly, too, and in most cases, people find that the mellow weather that comes with Florida living tends to help them avoid seasonal blues. With that said, neither city is known for having unusually high rates of depression so we’re going to call it a tie.

Winner: Tie

Cost Of Living

For the sake of this article, we stumbled upon multiple conflicting reports about Miami’s cost of living. Some put it at 109, others put it at 123. Either way, it still illustrates that the cost of living in Miami is going to be higher than the cost of living in Philadelphia. Philly’s cost of living index is around 101.2, which places it right on the line with an average American town.

Aside from the cost of rent, everything else in Philly is fairly affordable. Even nights out. The same cannot be said about Miami.

Winner: Philadelphia

Housing Costs

Philly and Miami are polar opposites when it comes to the question of renting versus owning. It’s way cheaper to rent in Miami, but in Philly, the opposite is true. Rent is high, especially around Center City. With that said, most Americans want to own a house if it’s at all possible. That means that Philly’s price range is going to be the big winner here.

Average Cost 1 BR Apartment$1,672$995
Median Home Price$153,400$425,000

Winner: Philadelphia

Job Market

If you’ve paid attention to some of the other articles comparing Miami to other cities, it’s clear that this Florida tourism hotspot has a lot of employment problems. The unemployment rates here are sky high, and the wages are honestly very low. Around 30 percent-ish of Miami residents technically qualify as impoverished.

Believe it or not, Philadelphia manages to have it worse according to our research. (Note: Like with many of our articles, we had conflicting data points, so we tried to make our best efforts to get as much accuracy as possible. Statistics you find may vary slightly.)

Projected 10-Year Growth28,4%42.7%
Median Household Income$45,927$41,818
Median Personal Income$26,211$31,642

Winner: Miami


Trying to compare Miami to Philly’s culture is like comparing apples to oranges. Miami is all about nightlife, has an extremely heavy Latin influence (primarily Cuban), and also happens to have a lot of beach influences. After all, it’s right near the beach. There’s a strong focus on boating, partying, and a little bit of hip hop.

Philadelphia often doesn’t have that upfront glitz, but there is a lot here worth noting. The city tends to be a lot more blue-collar, but there’s also a pretty heavy influence of art. There’s a strong LGBTQIA influence in certain parts, and Philly’s punk scene is pretty lit. The same can be said about their hip-hop world.

Winner: Tied.


While we have nothing but love when it comes to Philly, we can’t tell a lie. Miami is a major tourist destination because of its absolutely wild nightlife. This is a city that has regular parties with celebrities, not to mention some of the hottest beaches in the nation. Because it’s also close to other cities with world-famous amusement parks (like the Mouse House), there’s no comparison when it comes to the two.

Sure, some of the entertainment options that you can get in Miami are way too high priced compared to what you would be able to typically afford, but they’re still there. It’s still a celebrity hotspot when it comes to the party scene. Miami wins this round, hands down.

Winner: Miami.


To absolutely no one’s surprise, Philadelphia has a longer commute time than Miami does. Philadelphia is right next to three major cities: New York, Camden, and Newark. This leads to clogged highways. Most people have an average commute of 33 minutes here. This is a bit higher than Miami’s 24-26 minute commute.

Winner: Miami


Which city wins out on diversity depends on how you define it. We mean it as having an equal number of people from different races and orientations. Miami is around 72 percent Hispanic, which means it’s majority-Hispanic. Due to the definition of diversity, that means this area is technically less diverse than Philadelphia.

Winner: Philadelphia


Miami’s schools are nothing short of terrible and there isn’t much way to describe it otherwise. In Miami, only around 75 percent of all students end up graduating high school. Philadelphia has its own struggles, but spends around $25,000 per student versus Miami’s approximate $9,000.

Philly students have higher graduation rates (83 percent versus 72-75 percent) and also tend to have higher rates of college graduation as well. Though the difference may not appear like much on paper, it’s still a major difference.

Winner: Philadelphia


Where do we even begin here? The weather in Miami is hot year-round, and at times, a little bit humid. Philadelphia, on the other hand, has all four seasons. This can include fall (yay!), spring, summer, and of course, winter. While Philadelphia does get snow, it’s nowhere near as bad as places like North Dakota or Minnesota.

The big drawback of Miami’s weather is the hurricanes. In recent years, hurricanes have gotten to become more powerful and frequent. This doesn’t bode well for locals. However, if you want to have a home here outside of hurricane season, then you’re going to find yourself in a pretty good situation.

Crime Rates

Both Philadelphia and Miami have their issues with violent crime and property crime. And, both have gang activity. Though we have heard reports of violent crime being underreported in Miami, Philadelphia had notably higher violent activity than Miami did on paper. Miami, being a known addiction hotspot in the US, had higher property crimes reported than violent crimes.

Miami is one of those places where reports of police under-activity has become a staple of life there. In fact, one might even say it’s a running gag about the place.

Winner: Unknown

The Verdict

When we look at the numbers, Philadelphia has a long way to go when you want to get a better quality of life. While there are outliers in the area, the truth is that Philly isn’t doing well. There’s a decent amount of crime in both, and while Philly has better education rates, Miami has better job opportunities.

This is one of those rare cases where a good argument can be made on either side. Miami is right for some people, while Philadelphia might be better for others. It’s up to you to decide what you want to prioritize, and if the overall shift in lifestyle will make it worth it.

Related Questions

Is Philadelphia a rich or poor city?

Philadelphia is a city that’s currently undergoing a major transformation. Though it’s currently considered to be one of the poorer cities on the East Coast, it’s getting better. Currently, around 23 percent of families in this area qualify as being in poverty. However, that number has slowly been changing.In recent years, the city has started to gain a lot more attention from major firms and New York City transplants. It’s very likely that the increase in prices around the center of the city will continue, making Philadelphia a far more wealthy city.

How bad is driving in Philadelphia?

It’s pretty bad, no lie. Philadelphia was recently voted as the second-worst city to drive in. This is due to the sheer amount of traffic that goes on daily, bad pedestrian habits, as well as poor road builds. Reports also show that you are more likely to get into an accident in Philly than in most other cities in America. Might we suggest getting a new car insurance policy? You just might need it if you move here.

How big is Miami?

Most people don’t realize this, but Miami is actually the seventh-largest city in the United States. When it comes to the East Coast, the city currently takes the award for being the third-largest city. The only Eastern cities that are larger than Miami are New York City and Philadelphia.Surprised? We were too. Philly is technically larger than Miami, though the tourist population of each could make it hard to tell which city truly has the bigger population.

More Related Guides

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

More by Ossiana Tepfenhart