Miami, – 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.
The study published by the International University of Florida (FIU) shows that the prosperity of this region “is not shared equally”: it is the home of 30 billionaires, the tenth highest concentration in the world, and, at the same time, “one of the most unequal places “economically.
Moreover, the pyramid of economic income shows a “deep and widespread poverty” and a “small and increasingly small middle class” with a large workforce that depends on poorly paid jobs, according to the report entitled “Towards a region more inclusive “.
The subjugating image of its culture and diversity, its subtropical and urban landscape, with beaches and first class leisure, contrast with the harsh reality that Miami-Dade has the “second largest gap in the nation between those who have and those who they do not have “, only surpassed by New York.
An inequality, adds the report, which places Miami-Dade on a par with Panama and Colombia.
It can be said that the metropolitan area of Miami is a “two-city history”, 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 very low level of wages and, therefore, one of the most unequal economies in the United States.
The report, prepared for the FIU by urban planner Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo, professor at the University of New York, highlights that the state of poverty in Miami totals 14.3% of the population.
Likewise, the region shows the “highest poverty rate among the elderly among the large metropolitan areas” of the country and a “youth poverty rate that is significantly higher than the general 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.
Thus, continues the report, almost half of the workforce of Greater Miami points to “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 earn a salary of $ 26,532 per year, almost half of what an average highly skilled employee earns ($ 53,275).
The report insists that the “concentration of poverty” is “the most striking and devastating”, since it not only forces the most vulnerable and unprotected to fight hard to meet their daily needs, but “also has a corrosive effect on the 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. (EFEUSA)