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Living in Miami

Bienvenidos a Miami! Most expats living in Miami experience a whirlwind of cultural impressions. Indeed, Miami has more in store for you than the average American city. Read our Expat Guide to learn more about Miami’s cultural makeup, demographics, healthcare, and transportation.
For expats living in Miami, some degree of culture shock is all but inevitable.
  • While living in Miami, expats will experience a heavily Latin American-influenced city. Two-thirds of the city’s inhabitants speak Spanish at home, so picking up a few Spanish skills would be a good idea.
  • Sports buffs in Miami won’t miss out: the city is home to many successful sports teams such as the Miami Heat or the Florida Marlins.
  • Expats won’t need to worry about healthcare since there are many good hospitals located in the metro area and a high-quality trauma center.
  • There are several public and private schools located in Miami’s metro area as well as some international schools. Nonetheless, expat parents should gather enough information on the schools before enrolling their children.
  • The public transportation system is not very extensive in Miami. Most Miamians rely on their car to get from A to B. Make sure to avoid peak times while driving in Miami because otherwise, you will lose a lot of time stuck in traffic.


According to recent news reports, people from various countries, including those with a valid visa and residence permit, have encountered difficulties when entering the United States. Unfortunately, the full extent of those issues seems to be unclear. Before you decide to move or travel there, or leave the country temporarily if already living in the USA, please consult a US embassy and an immigration lawyer if you fear you might be affected.


Culture in Miami

If you are an experienced expat, chances are you are used to the various effects of culture shock by now. However, even if you are familiar with US customs in general, adapting to life in Miami can be quite a unique challenge. Even for US citizens who migrate to Florida’s sunny south, it may take some settling in, as life in Miami is influenced chiefly by its many Latino inhabitants.

Thus, living in Miami should be a challenging and insightful experience for expats. While the city may not be as fast-paced as New York or quite as laid-back as L.A., it does indeed have its own chaotic charm. Amidst the vibrant chaos, however, there is a place for everybody. No matter where you come from or which language you speak, you can feel right at home in Miami once you’ve dealt with any initial difficulties.

Miami’s Different Faces

Without question, Miami is an incredibly diverse and multicultural city. In fact, more than 50% of the population is foreign-born. Most notably, people of Cuban descent make up around a third of Miami’s population. Throughout the 80s and 90s many newcomers also arrived from Nicaragua, Colombia, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

The city’s growth was also influenced by the internal migration of US Americans choosing to resettle in Miami. Today, immigration is not as rapid. Still, expats living in Miami’s metropolitan area, which counts more than six million inhabitants, are part of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the entire country.

Multilingual Miami

Around two-thirds of the Miami populace speak Spanish at home as their first language. As such, Spanish is an essential part of Miami life. Aside from improving your English language skills, you may have to pick up at least some basic Spanish to get around more easily in Miami. Other languages you may come across while living in Miami include Haitian Creole, French, Portuguese, German, Italian, and Arabic. In fact, there are more than 100 different languages spoken in Miami’s households.

All in all, an abundance of languages are spoken all over the USA. To find out more about the most common ones and about the immigrant communities they derive from, read our article on languages in the US.

Movies and Sports

As you may well know, life in Miami is the subject of a host of movies and TV shows, many of which are filmed directly on site. Some of the most well-known and most popular are Golden Girls and, of course, Miami Vice. Other shows at least partially filmed in this city include CSI Miami and Dexter. Similarly, Hollywood has frequently chosen Miami as the setting for their movies: Bad Boys, The Bodyguard, Any Given Sunday, and Scarface were all set in Miami.

Sports are another major aspect of living in Miami. The city is home to the storied Miami Dolphins NFL franchise, the Florida Marlins MLB team, and the Miami Heat, winners of three NBA finals. Most home games of these teams take place at American Airlines Arena, Sun Life Stadium, and Marlins Park. The city has also been the host of the Super Bowl ten times, most of any city along with New Orleans. Not a big fan of football, basketball, or baseball? Not to worry; there are plenty of other professional sports teams, giving you the opportunity to attend ice hockey, tennis, soccer games, and more while living in Miami.

Sports are a popular pastime in the United States. If you are looking for information on the most popular sports and their different leagues, read our article on sports in the United States.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Ben F. Bagley

"I love this city, I really do, but discovering Miami in company of other expats was much more fun than on my own."

Maria Loura

"I am looking forward to the next InterNations Get-together here in Miami. Socializing with other expats from Latin America is always such a great time. "

Global Expat Guide