Miami’s Creative Workforce Ranks 11th Among Large U.S. Metros

MIAMI — With nearly a million creative class workers, Miami’s creative workforce ranks 11th among large U.S. metros in terms of overall size. But, the metro ranks further behind according to its share of creative workers, according to a new research brief from the FIU + CCG | Miami Urban Future Initiative (MUFI).

In its latest research report, “Benchmarking Miami’s Talent Base,” MUFI evaluates Miami’s human capital assets compared to 52 large U.S. metros with more than one million people. Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the report specifically examines Miami’s creative workforce, educational attainment levels, and share of students, faculty, and college and university graduates.

“While Miami’s creative class workforce has increased over the last decade, it still lags behind peer regions like New YorkSan FranciscoWashington, D.C., and others,” explained Richard Florida, Visiting Fellow at the FIU Miami Urban Future Initiative. “Growing Miami’s creative class is essential for building Miami’s innovation capacity and fueling the region’s continued economic growth.”

Miami’s rankings on various talent metrics include:

  • Creative Class Wages. Miami ranks 49th among large U.S. metros according to the median annual earnings of its creative class ($54,000).
  • Service ClassMiami’s 1.5 million service class workers make up nearly half its workforce. Together, they constitute the second-highest share of service workers among large U.S. metros, behind Las Vegas.
  • Working Class. More than half a million (530,000) workers in Miami are members of the working class, which consists mostly of blue-collar workers in industries like manufacturing, construction and transportation
  • Bachelor’s Degree and Higher. Miami ranks 42nd among large U.S. metros according to its share of adults with a bachelor’s degree and higher (30.5 percent).
  • College and University Enrollment. With 360,000 students enrolled in Miami colleges, the metro ranks ninth among large U.S. metros, behind Dallas and Boston, but ahead of Houstonand San Francisco.
  • College and University DegreesMiami ranks 18th among large U.S. metros according to the number of degrees conferred by its colleges and universities (94,000).
  • University Faculty. With more than 8,500 university faculty members, Miami ranks 12th among large U.S. metros according to the size of its university faculty.


Miami – The Urban Future Initiative

The Miami Urban Future Initiative is a joint initiative with FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and CCG sponsored in part by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,  which will lead new research and mapping on economic, occupational, creative and technological assets in Miami, in partnership with renowned experts, to provide necessary data, evidence and strategy to grow a more inclusive, creative economy for a 21st century global Miami. Miami has reached a crossroads. Its economy – historically based on tourism, hospitality, transportation, and real-estate development – has deepened, diversified, and become more creative and idea-based, as banking, media, arts, education, and new technology-based industries have assumed a larger role. The region now finds itself at a critical inflection point.

While growing, Miami’s creative class — those who make a living by using their minds in arts & design, science, technology, law, & medical industries or academia, media, management, & finance — only make up 25% of the workforce, a much smaller share than regions like Washington, D.C. (44.6%),  Chicago or& L.A. (31.5% each). Miami also suffers from challenges arising from a rapidly growing urban center. Our Initiative will develop additional research about Miami’s creative economy and divides, while working across the business, civic, and academic communities to shape a constructive, future-oriented dialogue.

Through this Initiative, we hope to provide the thought leadership and awareness required to guide Miami’s evolution as a global city through data-driven research and assessments of the key trends shaping the region, disseminate this information and inform the broad strategic vision for the region’s private and public stakeholders through ongoing local convenings and briefs and bring global thought-leaders and practitioners to bear on thinking about the region’s future through high-level events and convenings on issues important to Miami and global cities.

More than two decades ago, Alejandro Portes, now at the University of Miami, and Alex Stepick of FIU dubbed Miami as a “city on the edge,” with many assets and many challenges. The region’s transformation, they added, was a story of “change without a blueprint.” Miami has seen one of its greatest growth waves since that time, benefiting from the strategic action of visionary stakeholders, groups, universities and colleges, and mayors since. It is now time to renew the region’s commitment to a regional strategy and to engage a broad region-wide conversation about a more inclusive prosperity that takes into account the mounting realities and challenges that face the region today. The time to act is now: if it misses this opportunity, the region risks losing the economic advantages it has achieved.

To this end, FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and Creative Class Group (CCG) created the FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative, an ongoing collaboration to better understand the forces that are shaping the future of Miami. Our aim is to build upon the strong foundation created by the region’s political, business, academic, and civic leadership and organizations over the past several decades to help identify the key things Miami can do to position itself as a more innovative, creative, inclusive, and prosperous global city and region.



The Miami Urban Future Initiative is a joint effort between the Creative Class Group and Florida International University’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) to develop new research and insights for building a stronger, more innovative, and more inclusive economy in Greater Miami. The initiative engages top thinkers and researchers from across the region and the world to combine their knowledge with that of the region’s business leaders, economic development practitioners, and other key stakeholders. Its efforts are made possible thanks to generous funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.