It really depends on the neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale. My neighborhood definitely has some snowbird homes, but they're definitely in the minority. I am, however, the youngest homeowner on my street by a good 20 years....no joke (I'm about 30).
Fort Lauderdale is a bit rougher in every way. Houses are older, streets are older...its just a bit more "gritty" than Marco Island. There are definitely "bad" areas in Ft. Lauderdale that you wouldn't want to be in.
Thats the struggle we have...our neighborhood is great (because its on water). But not 2 blocks away are rough streets, drunk day laborers in the parking lot of a gas station and prostitutes.
The best areas of Fort Lauderdale "area" in my opinion would be Victoria Park or even areas like Lighthouse Point. We're talking BIG money there for waterfront....still $1.5MM in most neighborhoods
Frankly speaking, I'm only in Fort Lauderdale because its SMACK DAB in the middle of my wife and my jobs. If I had my choice of places to live in SE FLorida, it would either be Boynton Beach or Delray Beach up north in Palm Beach County. I love the way things are still a bit undeveloped/beach shack like up there. My second choice would be Miami in the Brickell or North Miami Beach area.