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South Florida

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

Miami is a city of paradoxes. It is often viewed as a 76-degree paradise of glitz, bling, flaunted wealth, South Beach 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.

A 2009 study of 73 world cities by Swiss bank UBS ranked Miami as the richest city in the United States, and the world’s fifth-richest in terms of purchasing power.Forbes ranked Miami as the third most overpriced city in the United States. Nearby West Palm Beach was sixth and Fort Lauderdale was 17th.

But paradoxically in 2010, Miami was also sixth—with more than a fourth of its population—on the list of large U.S. cities having 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 Miami and South Florida need Christ.

"Miami is an expensive place to live,” said Gary Johnson, director of missions for the Miami Baptist Association. “Only a third of Southern Baptist churches own their own property here because of expensive real estate costs in Miami. Another challenge is many of our churches are hurting financially. It takes a lot of money to reach the poor people, and those are the people most interested in our ministry.

“Fifty percent of the Miami-Dade County population was born outside the U.S.,” adds Johnson, citing statistics compiled by the United Nations. “We are the only place in the country that can claim that.”

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 Miami? Visit and click "Send Me."
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Visit South Florida to catch a vision for what God can do through your church. Scholarships are available for qualifying churches to attend CTV32 events. Choose a date below to register or learn more here.
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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%