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Fort Lauderdale Vs Miami

Relocating to South Florida? Learn how the Fort Lauderdale and Miami areas compare.

Fort Lauderdale and Miami are both popular cities in South Florida, but what exactly does each destination offer, and why are people choosing to relocate to them? If you're thinking about moving to south Florida, this page will provide you with a top-level overview of what Fort Lauderdale and Miami offer local residents as we compare and contrast them.

Size & Geography

As Fort Lauderdale and Miami are both well-known destinations for retirement and tourism in the sunshine state, let’s begin our comparison by looking at the size and geography of each respective city. Fort Lauderdale, the smaller of the two cities and located 28 miles north of Miami, has a population of 181,668 persons which is roughly 40% of the size of Miami’s population of 439,890 (U.S. Census Data). Geographically, both are coastal cities with access to beautiful Atlantic beaches and waterways, but Fort Lauderdale’s city identity is characterized by its extensive canal system, spanning more than 300 miles of navigable waterways, including canals, rivers, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Miami, conversely, is more focused on its coastline, its beaches, barrier islands and Biscayne Bay.

In looking at the age demographics of the Fort Lauderdale area vs Miami, the median age in Fort Lauderdale is 42 while Miami’s median age is 40.1, so relatively similar. As a comparison, the median age in Florida is 42.2 years. Both cities are known for their diverse populations and multicultural environments. Miami has a prominent Latin American influence, particularly from the Cuban community, which has shaped the city's culture, cuisine, and music. Fort Lauderdale also embraces multiculturalism, but to a slightly lesser extent as compared to Miami.

Home Prices & Cost of Living

Median home prices in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, which include both single family homes and condos/townhomes, are fairly similar is the mid $500s range with Miami being slightly higher. See exact median home prices listed further down this page. As a general overview, Fort Lauderdale’s real estate market is characterized by neighborhoods with a more relaxed feel as compared to the vibrant and bustling energy of Miami’s glamorous areas of South Beach and Brickell. Fort Lauderdale's neighborhoods tend to have a more suburban feel, with a mix of residential areas, commercial districts, and waterfront communities. Miami’s real estate market, which receives greater international investment, offers a more extensive inventory of high-rise condos, whose focus is more on beachfront and oceanfront living, versus the canal front living lifestyle of Fort Lauderdale.

In terms of the cost of living between these two cities, Miami is generally more, mostly due to the higher cost of housing as the city has a reputation for luxurious real estate and high-end properties. As for common monthly expenses such as groceries, transportation, electricity, water, and internet, they are generally similar. Overall, Florida’s cost of living comes in at 3.1% above the nation’s average for the 1st quarter of 2024.

Activities & Things to Do

While Fort Lauderdale and Miami both offer top-rated beaches, a wide variety of attractions and fun activities for tourists and residents alike to enjoy, Miami additionally offers many popular attractions typically associated with a larger metropolitan area. Specifically, Miami is home to professional sports teams including the Miami Dolphins (NFL), Miami Heat (NBA), Miami Marlins (MLB), and Florida Panthers (NHL). Miami also has a large zoo featuring more than 2,500 animals representing more than 400 species. Both cities feature top restaurants and a vibrant nightlife—Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and South Beach in the Miami area. Fort Lauderdale and Miami also offer a variety of year-round festivities including music festivals, boat shows, art festivals and food and wine festivals just to name a few.

Now that we have overviewed some of the similarities and differences between Fort Lauderdale & Miami, be sure to check out our Fort Lauderdale and Miami pages to view more photos, interactive maps and helpful relocation information.

Map of the Fort Lauderdale and Miami Areas

Circles on map represent population size of each metro area.

Fort Lauderdale

Located in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale is known for its extensive network of waterfront canals, miles of white sand Atlantic beaches and famous Las Olas Boulevard, which is lined with upscale shoppes, elegant eateries and art galleries. With a population of 184,599 (2021), Fort Lauderdale offers residents a high-quality of life with an average temperature of 75.5' degrees year-round and 246 sunny days each year, perfect for the outdoor enthusiast.

Top area beach:
Fort Lauderdale Beach

City Median Home Price Average Age
Fort Lauderdale $530,586 42.0
  Home Prices as of July 1, 2024

Discover Fort Lauderdale

Scenes of Fort Lauderdale


Miami is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. The greater Miami Metropolitan area is the largest in Florida with a population of 6.1 million people. Averaging 77' degrees year round and 248 sunny days per year, Miami is home to professional sports teams, the 2nd busiest cruise ship port in the world (Port Canaveral is #1), top-rated beaches and is commonly recognized as a "Top Place to Live" and a "Best City to Retire" by national raking publications.

Top area beach:
South Beach

City Median Home Price Average Age
Miami $578,819 40.1
  Home Prices as of July 1, 2024

Discover Miami

Scenes of Miami