Is Miami too shallow for folks to find love? It’s complicated

Miami deals with a lot of stereotypes — whether it’s that all we do is party or that everyone drives flashy cars — but one that tends to ring true is that dating here is really tough.

Why is that? Some people say SoFlo is too packed with shallow, beautiful people who can’t commit to one partner. Another idea is that people are too obsessed with their personal appearances and their #brand to be in a serious relationship.

Well we wanted to cut through that usual noise, and those lists of “X people you’ll date in Miami,” to really get at why finding love can be a challenge in the 305. It turns out it has a lot to do with our cost of living and our demographics.

We spoke to a few dating experts, and they told us that finding love here is more complicated than it seems.

Ok, tell me about the numbers.

Beyond the fact that Miami has a lack of affordable housing for most working adults, wages in our city are pretty stagnant. Data collected by FIU’s Metropolitan Center show that between 2014 and 2016, the median salary for men in Miami-Dade increased by only about 2.3 percent, and it actually decreased for women during that time.

So, after finding a decent place to live that you can afford (which continues to be tough in Miami), you’ve got to start factoring in the cost of courting. Local dating coach Dani Sparks told us that when you start doing the math, things can really add up.

“Let’s say you get dinner and drinks — that’s maybe $80 for the both of you. If you do that about three times a week, that’s $240. You multiply that by four, and that’s basically your rent for the month,” Dani said.

But the number that really impacts dating in Miami, according to Dani, is the mix of men and women in the dating pool. And, as Dani notes, this is primarily based on her experience coaching folks in heteronormative relationships.

It’s all about the ratio.

According to U.S. Census data, women in Miami-Dade make up about 51 percent of the population compared to 49 percent of men. And Dani says that divide plays out in the dating scene and could be a factor in why finding love is especially tough for straight, single women.

“For guys, there isn’t really any pressure to choose,” Dani says. “This bachelor lifestyle is celebrated and there isn’t a push or rush to be in a monogamous relationship.”

And for folks who are looking for something more serious — like a long-term relationship with a person who has a solid job and education — can also encounter a bit of an imbalance. Census data estimates show that about 14 percent of women — who are 25 or older — in Miami-Dade have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, compared to about 12 percent of men in the same age range.

So what about all that shallow talk?

According to matchmakers like Claudia Duran, Miami isn’t any more shallow than other big cities like Los Angeles or New York City. But she says the 305 does have its own unique characteristics that can make dating a little tough.

“There’s a lot of sexual energy in the air, and that can contribute to a lot more casual sex,” Claudia says.

That’s especially true of people moving to the city from elsewhere and looking to live the party life, she says.

And Dani says the climate is also a big factor compared to other parts of the country. While other big cities have seasons where you’ll want to be cuddled up with a potential boo, Miami is basically set up for a nonstop outdoor party — and “summer flings” can happen any month of the year.

Advice to single folks: go all in

Both Dani and Claudia think that it’s crucial to be straightforward about what you want out a potential partner and relationship, and to embrace being vulnerable.

“We all have to open up, even if it sounds dorky or not cool,” Claudia says.

She also says that folks may have to change up their habits.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily that dating in Miami sucks, I’d ask those folks ‘Where are you looking?’” Claudia says. “Places where there are tons of alcohol…not really a great place to meet people. I encourage [my clients] to meet people during the day, to meet people when they’re not intoxicated.”

And if things get more serious, Dani said it’s important to be clear — especially in the modern dating scene where so much communication is happening through texts, DMs and social media messaging.

“I don’t know when being vulnerable became a bad thing,” Dani says. “It’s like you’re playing poker, but no one’s dealing or playing their cards.”

This story has been updated to clarify U.S. Census data estimates.