Miami has the economic inequality that of several countries in Latin America

Miami-Dade County, the most populous in Florida and with 68% of its population of Hispanic origin, shows a disturbing contrast between the number of resident billionaires and a level of income inequality similar to that of Colombia or Panama, according to a report released this week entitled "Towards a more inclusive region".

Inequality places Miami-Dade on par with Panama and Colombia. Image: Flickr
Inequality places Miami-Dade on par with Panama and Colombia. Image: Flickr

The study published by the International University of Florida (FIU) shows that the prosperity of this region is not shared equally. It is home to 30 billionaires, the tenth highest concentration in the world, and, at the same time, one of the most economically unequal places.

In the economic income pyramid, there is deep and generalized poverty and a small and increasingly reduced middle class with a large labor force that depends on poorly paid jobs.

The subjugating image of its culture and diversity, its subtropical and urban landscape, with beaches and first-class entertainment, contrast with the harsh reality that Miami-Dade has the second largest gap in the nation between those who have and those who do not. They have only surpassed by New York.

Inequality places Miami-Dade on par with Panama and Colombia

It can be said that the metropolitan area of ​​Miami is a history of two cities, since it attracts the richest people in the world and, at the same time, offers an economy based on the service sector and tourism, which generates a level of very low wages and, therefore, one of the most unequal economies in the United States.

The state of poverty in Miami totals 14.3% of the population.

The region shows the highest poverty rate among the elderly among the country's large metropolitan areas and a youth poverty rate that is significantly higher than the overall poverty rate.

A poverty index that also shows a racial dimension. Compared to whites, African-Americans are 2.5 times more likely to live in poverty, while Hispanics are almost twice as likely as Anglo-Saxons.

Another very worrying fact is the progressive reduction of the middle class. Half a century ago, 65% of Miami's population was part of the middle class. However, today that number has been reduced to just over 40%. This situation is influenced by the fact that the economy of the region is dominated by the performance of low-paid services. Nearly half of the Greater Miami workforce targets precarious jobs in sectors such as tourism or retail and food stores.

Among the large metropolitan areas, Greater Miami has the second highest rate of workers in the service sector (with 47.8%), only behind Las Vegas (Nevada). Many of these employees receive a salary of $ 26,532 dollars per year, almost half of what an average highly skilled employee earns ($ 53,275 dollars).

The concentration of poverty is the most striking and devastating, since it not only forces the most vulnerable and unprotected to a hard struggle to meet their daily needs, but also has a corrosive effect on communities. In this context of economic inequality, neighborhoods with a high concentration of poverty tend to remain chronically poor. In fact, almost 15% of residents in Greater Miami live in poverty, taking into account the rate of inflation and the number of people per household.

The study warns of the position of Greater Miami as one of the ten poorest regions of the nation, second only to the metropolitan area of ​​New Orleans, Memphis, and Tucson.

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