South Florida

South Florida: rich, poor, lost—all at the same time

South Florida is a region full of paradoxes. It is often viewed as a 76-degree paradise of glitz, bling, flaunted wealth, nightclubs, bay-front mansions, flashy cars and fast boats—all part of the glamorous “life-in-the-fast-lane” for the celebrities, pro athletes and rich who live here.

According to a 2017 Forbes study, South Florida is home to 27 of the 400 richest people in America. It boasts 6 of the 20 richest “millionaire enclaves” and showcases the wealthiest city by income in the United States—Fisher Island.

But paradoxically, cities within South Florida, such as Miami, have citizens below the federal poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Milwaukee and St. Louis ranked higher in terms of citizens living at the federal government-established poverty income level.

Rich or poor, famous or not so much, one thing is certain: The people of South Florida need Christ.

“In South Florida, you will find some of America’s wealthiest people,” said James Peoples, South Florida’s Send City Missionary. “At the same time, however, you’ll find many in extreme poverty. Both the rich and the poor believe that if they just had a little more, then they would be happy. Many in South Florida lose themselves in their materialistic pursuit and try to gain as much as possible—yet they are still unsatisfied. But the hope of Christ can change that.

“The Church can offer something beyond what money can buy, which is real hope in the good news of Christ,” adds Peoples. “Regardless of one’s financial status, anyone can receive the promise of eternal and abundant life in Christ.

Half of South Florida’s SBC churches are located in the Miami Baptist Association, which serves Miami/Dade County—about 330 churches and missions. Broward County’s Gulfstream Association has about 200 churches, while Palm Lake Association serving the West Palm Beach area lists another 100.

Considering joining God's mission to reach South Florida? Visit, and click "Send Me."

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Fast Facts


Population in Miami

5.93 million people live in the metro Miami area (Dade, Broward and West Palm Counties).


SBC Church-Population Ratio

There is one Southern Baptist Convention church for every 8,557 metro Miami residents.

Ethnic Diversity

73.4% White
22% African American
2.6% Asian and Pacific Islander
1.6% Two or More Races
0.4% Native American
Hispanic Population (all ethnicities): 43.3%