This is an excerpt from an article published in Miami New Times about our work for The Miami Foundation.

Every week there’s an arbitrary new ranking released by some dubious website or publication: Miami ranks last in number of Ivy Leaguers, first in number of Brazilian butt lifts. It’s great fodder, but how does Miami stack up when it comes to the stuff that actually matters?

Last night at the Bakehouse Art Complex, the Miami Foundation revealed the findings of a new report outlining how Miami is doing in eight key areas: arts & culture, civic engagement, economy, education, environment & public spaces, health & safety, housing & affordability, and transportation. There was lots to talk about.

To compile the report, the Miami Foundation worked with a national firm, Avalanche Consulting. They set up an advisory committee and identified eight key issue areas, then laid out specific goals, such as Miami-Dade being pedestrian and bike friendly, residents having ample, diverse job opportunities, and Miami-Dade having affordable housing.

The final product is a hefty report with lots of interesting takeaways.

“Cost of living wise, New York City is much more expensive than Miami, but if you look at housing costs as a percentage of income and transportation costs as a percentage of income, Miami is much more expensive than New York,” said Stuart Kennedy, senior programs officer of the Miami Foundation.

Avalanche Consulting collected the metrics from a host of local, state, and national sources like the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Trust for Public Land, and the American Public Transportation Association, among others. They also talked to a number of community stakeholders and local residents.

“We spend on average 54.3 percent of our income on housing and transportation, whereas New York only spends 48 percent,” Kennedy said. “That’s a very telling piece of data. That transit data is kind of a key metric that affects so many other things from our ability to participate civically, to the affordability of living here, to our environment.”

But it’s not all bad news.

“On the positive side our education attainment has been going up. Graduation rates went from 71 to 77 percent in the course of two years, so that’s really positive and our unemployment rate is doing really well,” Kennedy adds.

Read the full article in Miami New Times.