While Miami has ‘everything and everyone,’ you would need when living in the city, Orlando is also a favorite to many, especially those who prefer less populated cities, with more natural appeal. So where do you go?
Whether you are planning a permanent move, or just visiting for vacation, these two cities located in Florida will always fall in your comparison. It’s a hard one to decide.
We did the research for you, so you can have a much easier time making your decision, and start planning for your favorite right away!
From the cost of living to nightlife, weather, and public transportation, to cuisine, lifestyle, safety, and much more! So, let’s see who carries the day here, Orlando or Miami?
Cost of living
We compared several factors in regard to the cost of living between the two cities; food and grocery, healthcare, utilities, transport, and entertainment. Here’s what we found out:
Food and groceries
The food and groceries index in Miami is 107.3, while in Orlando it is 100.7. This means that food and groceries are about 6.6% more expensive in Miami than in Orlando.
If, for any other reason you choose Miami, there are ways you save money on food expenses by buying items in bulk, shopping at local markets, or planning meals carefully.
Healthcare and utilities
When we compared the healthcare index, it was slightly higher in Miami (104) than in Orlando (103.4). This was 0.6% more expensive than in Orlando.
However, when it comes to the cost of utilities, it was about 6.8% lower in Miami than in Orlando. The utility index in Miami is 95.5, while in Orlando it is 102.3.
Transport and entertainment costs
While the cost of utility is higher in Orlando, you could save much more while living in the city when it comes to transport than in Miami.
We found that the transport index in Miami was way higher (144.5) than in Orlando (110.1, which is a 23.8% difference. This cost includes things like the cost of gas, public transit, car maintenance, parking, and other expenses related to transportation.
Finally, in the entertainment sector, while many prefer to get the buzz in Miami, you will have to dig deep down into your pockets for the experience. For instance, the average cost of a movie ticket in Miami is $14, while in Orlando it is $11.
The average cost of gym membership in Miami is $40, while in Orlando it is $30. The average cost of a restaurant meal in Miami is $15, while in Orlando it is $123. These are some examples of how entertainment costs can vary depending on your preferences and lifestyle choices.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
These two cities have different weather patterns and climates. Orlando is located in the central part of the state, while Miami is on the southeastern coast. This means that Orlando has a subtropical climate, while Miami has a tropical climate.
The main difference between the two cities is the humidity level. Miami is much more humid than Orlando, especially in the summer months. The average relative humidity in Miami is around 75%, while in Orlando it is around 71%. This can make Miami feel hotter and more uncomfortable than Orlando, even if the temperatures are similar.
Another difference is the rainfall and storm frequency. Miami receives more rainfall than Orlando throughout the year, with an average of 157 cm per year compared to 132 cm per year.
Miami also has a higher chance of experiencing tropical storms and hurricanes, especially from June to November. Orlando is less likely to be directly hit by a hurricane, but it can still experience strong winds and heavy rain from nearby storms.
Based on these factors, we would say that Orlando has more favorable weather than Miami for most people. Orlando has lower humidity, less rainfall, and less risk of severe weather than Miami.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
Now this is where the competition begins. When talking about public transportation, Orlando has three main modes of public transportation: Metrorail, Metrobus, and LYMMO. Miami has four main modes of public transportation: Metrorail, Metromover, Metrobus, and Brightline.
The main difference between the two cities is the coverage and accessibility of their public transportation networks. Miami has a more extensive and integrated public transportation system than Orlando, covering more areas and connecting more destinations.
Miami’s Metrorail is a 25-mile elevated rail system that runs from the Miami International Airport to the suburbs of Medley and Pinecrest, with connections to Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Orlando’s Metrorail is also a 25-mile elevated rail system, but it only runs from the Orlando International Airport to Kendall, with no connections to other counties.
Miami’s Metromover is a free public transportation service that operates around Downtown Miami and Brickell, serving as a connection between Metrorail and Metrobus.
It has three loops that make stops at popular attractions such as the Kaseya Center, Maurice A. Ferré Park, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, and Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Orlando’s LYMMO is also a free public transportation service that operates around Downtown Orlando, serving as a connection between Metrorail and Metrobus.
It has four loops that make stops at attractions such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Amway Center, Creative Village, Lake Eola, and LYNX Central Station.
Miami’s Metro Bus serves various areas throughout the city including Miami Beach, Key Biscayne, West Miami-Dade, Broward County, Homestead, Florida City, and the Middle Keys. It has 95 routes and is equipped with bike racks and free Wi-Fi.
Orlando’s Metrobus also serves various areas throughout the city including Winter Park, Downtown, and Disney World. It has 84 routes and is also equipped with bike racks and free Wi-Fi.
Miami’s Brightline is an intercity express train that provides service between Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. It is expected to expand to Orlando in 2023. Orlando does not have a similar service, but it has Amtrak trains that connect to other cities in Florida and beyond.
Overall, Miami has a better public transportation system than Orlando for most travelers. Miami has more modes of public transportation, more coverage of areas and destinations, more connections to other counties and cities, and more options for free rides than Orlando.
Verdict: Miami Wins
If you are relocating in search of job opportunities, then you will want to read this before you decide.
The main difference between the two cities is the unemployment rate and the average salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of July 2023, Orlando had an unemployment rate of 5.2%, while Miami had an unemployment rate of 6.8%. This means that Orlando had more job openings and less competition than Miami.
However, Miami had a higher average annual salary of $54,090, while Orlando had a lower average annual salary of $48,0604.
Another difference is the job growth and diversity. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Orlando ranked 17th among the 150 best places to live in the U.S. in terms of job market, while Miami ranked 67th.
Orlando had a projected annual job growth of 2.6%, while Miami had a projected annual job growth of 1.9%. In other words, you will have more potential for career advancement and development in Orlando than in Miami.
However, Miami had a more diverse and multicultural workforce than Orlando, with more immigrants and minorities working in various fields.
Overall, we would say that Orlando has better job opportunities than Miami for most workers. Orlando has lower unemployment, higher job growth, and more tourism-related jobs than Miami.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
Cuisine & Lifestyle
While both Orlando’s and Miami’s cuisines have been greatly influenced by Latin American and Caribbean cuisines, Miami has a more prominent and varied presence of these cuisines than Orlando, thanks to its large immigrant and minority communities.
You can find authentic dishes from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and more in Miami’s restaurants and markets.
Orlando also has some Latin American and Caribbean options, but they are less diverse and more focused on Cuban food. Some of the most popular dishes in Orlando include fritas, croquetas, empanadas, Cuban coffee, and flan.
Another difference is the lifestyle and entertainment options. Miami has a more lively nightlife than Orlando, with countless bars, clubs, lounges, and live music venues. Miami is also famous for its art scene, with events like Art Basel Miami Beach, Wynwood Walls, and the Design District attracting local and international artists and visitors.
Orlando has a more laid-back and family-friendly lifestyle than Miami, with a focus on theme parks, sports, and outdoor activities. It is also home to some of the world’s most popular attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Harry Potter World. Orlando also offers plenty of opportunities for nature lovers, with parks like Lake Eola, gardens like Leu Gardens, and trails like West Orange Trail.
In general, Miami has more diversity, variety, and quality of food than Orlando, especially when it comes to Latin American and Caribbean flavors. It also has more excitement, energy, and culture than Orlando when it comes to nightlife and entertainment.
Verdict: Miami Wins
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, in 2020, Orlando had a total of 11,173 crimes, while Miami had a total of 24,537 crimes. This shows that Orlando had a lower crime rate than Miami, with 4,239 crimes per 100,000 people, compared to 5,989 crimes per 100,000 people in Miami.
The main difference between the two cities is the distribution and nature of their crimes. Orlando has a higher proportion of violent crimes than Miami, with 1,003 violent crimes per 100,000 people, compared to 792 violent crimes per 100,000 people in Miami.
Violent crimes include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Some of the most common violent crimes in Orlando are related to domestic violence, gang activity, and drug trafficking.
Miami has a higher proportion of property crimes than Orlando, with 5,197 property crimes per 100,000 people, compared to 3,236 property crimes per 100,000 people in Orlando.
Property crimes include burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Some of the most common property crimes in Miami are related to car theft, fraud, and vandalism.
Overall, we would say that Orlando has a lower crime rate than Miami. Orlando has fewer crimes overall and fewer property crimes than Miami.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
Orlando ranked 37th among the most congested cities in the U.S., while Miami ranked 12th. This means that Orlando had less traffic than Miami, with an average of 21 hours lost per driver due to congestion, compared to 33 hours lost per driver in Miami.
But this does not mean that Orlando is completely free of traffic or that Miami is completely gridlocked. Both cities have peak hours and hot spots that can cause delays and frustration.
What brings the difference between the two cities is the availability and reliability of public transportation. As seen above, Miami had a more extensive and integrated public transportation system than Orlando, covering more areas and connecting more destinations.
Coming up with a winner here is quite hard, but based on traffic and time lost on the road, we would say that Orlando has better commute times than Miami for less traffic and congestion, especially during off-peak hours and on weekends.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
Quality of life index
Orlando had a quality-of-life index of 169.64, while Miami had a quality-of-life index of 149.54. The result is based on a weighted average of eight sub-indices: purchasing power, safety, health care, cost of living, property price to income ratio, traffic commute time, pollution, and climate.
For example, a meal in an inexpensive restaurant costs $15 in Orlando, while it costs $18 in Miami. Orlando also has a lower property price-to-income ratio than Miami, with an index of 3.22, compared to 6.63 in Miami.
For this reason, Orlando has more affordable housing than Miami, relative to the average income. For example, the median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is $1,400 in Orlando, while it is $2,000 in Miami.
With these in mind, we can conclude that Orlando has a better quality of life than Miami and can help you save money in the long run.
Verdict: Orlando Wins
Orlando vs. Miami: Who Wins It?
The overall comparison score is Orlando 6, Miami 2. However, depending on the reasons you want to relocate, Miami might still be your choice, especially when considering things like cuisine and lifestyle.
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