Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade’s getting older, but not as quickly as the rest of Florida

A view of downtown Miami and waterway.
A view of downtown Miami and waterway. cmguerrero@elnuevoherald.com

The median age in Florida — and the rest of the country — is on the rise, but Miami-Dade County is remaining slightly more youthful than the rest of the Sunshine State, according to U.S. Census data released Thursday.

Between 2010 and 2016, the median age in the U.S. increased from 37.2 to 37.9, following a national trend. In Florida, it rose from 40.8 to 42.1. But Miami-Dade held back the hands of time a little more, going from a median age of 38.2 to 39.9.

“The aging of counties is actually a trend we’re seeing in many different places across the country, the country as a whole is getting older,” said Peter Borsella, the demographer for the population division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Florida’s lure as a retirement destination increases its median age, he noted, making it the fifth highest in the nation, according to Census numbers.

Miami-Dade tends to attract a younger group of adults seeking work, according to Stefan Rayer, the population program director for the Bureau of Economic & Business Research at the University of Florida.

“Miami is dominated by a younger working age population because people come here for work and colleges,” he said. “And when you look at the racial-ethnic profile, it is dominated by the Hispanic population and that population tends to be younger.”

Rayer said that people in their 20s and 30s tend to dominate migration flows and that Miami-Dade has the largest influx of foreign nationals in the state — mostly from South America.

That’s not to say that millennials are pouring into Miami, experts caution.

“Millennials were 20.7 percent of the population in 2010 and have remained the same proportion of the population, which means that they are not ‘flocking’ to Miami-Dade County any more than other age groups are,” said Maria Ilcheva, senior research associate for the Florida International University Metropolitan Center.

But she adds that Miami-Dade continues to experience a lot of turnover in population. UF’s Rayer said 30,000 Miami-Dade residents moved out of the county between 2015 and 2016.

Ilcheva believes that the county’s high cost of living coupled with relatively low wages and quality of life issues has deterred many retirees and others from moving in and staying.

Even so, Miami-Dade continues to be a top choice for young Latin American immigrants, because of the county’s demographic make-up and proximity to their home countries. While the U.S.’s Hispanic population grew by 0.2 percent between 2015 and 2016, it grew by 0.5 percent in Miami-Dade.

“Miami-Dade’s position as a gateway to the Americas makes it an obvious choice for international migrants from that region to settle in the area,” Ilcheva said. “The high concentration of Hispanic residents from various nationalities also makes it desirable for immigrants who seek the familiar...as a way to settle in.”

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