Dallas Falters Amid Skyrocketing Regional Growth

Aerial view of a neighborhood
Aerial view of a neighborhood | Image by Unwind/Shutterstock

Over 50,000 people have packed up their bags and left Dallas County in the last two years despite the broader North Texas region breaking a significant population record in 2023.

The DFW metro area broke 8.1 million residents last year, logging the largest numerical population increase in the country, according to the latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 152,598 people relocated to North Texas between 2022 and 2023, which is about 418 new residents daily.

The metroplex was not the only Texas metro to finish in the top 10. Houston-Pasadena-Woodlands finished second, adding 139,789 residents for a total population of 7.51 million. The Austin metro area came in seventh, adding 50,105 residents for a total population of 2.47 million.

Although the North Texas region led the nation in population growth, census data reveals that Dallas County was one of the top 10 counties in the United States to experience “negative net domestic migration,” coming in eighth.

Over the last two years, Dallas County lost 53,315 residents. That breaks down to a loss of 18,985 residents in 2022 and 34,330 residents in 2023, according to the census data.

When measuring population growth as a percentage of the total population, Dallas County fell significantly behind neighboring counties like Collin, Denton, and Tarrant.

For instance, while Dallas County’s population rose by 0.16% (+4,365 residents) from 2022 to 2023, Collin County’s grew by 3.13% (+36,364 residents), Denton County expanded by 3.06% (+29,943 residents), and Tarrant County increased by 1.26% (+27,301).

“Domestic migration patterns are changing, and the impact on counties is especially evident,” said Lauren Bowers, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Branch, in the report.

The population in Texas overall is surging, with the state claiming six out of the 10 fasted-growing counties in the nation and eight out of the 10 counties with the largest population growth.

“I think people want to be in Friday Night Lights cities,” said Dallas Cothrum, president of Masterplan, speaking with CBS News Texas. “It is a quality of life, and people vote their wallets, and they’re deciding right now, in Dallas, they’re not liking what they’re seeing, and they’re making other choices.”

The impact of “negative net domestic migration” at the city level is also evident, according to a recent analysis by data outlet FinanceBuzz.

The population of the City of Dallas fell 3.28% in 2023, marking one of the steepest population declines among the major Texas cities analyzed in FinanceBuzz’s study.

The Dallas Express contacted Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson’s office for a statement on the 2023 population decline and to see if City officials expect this trend to continue in 2024, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, a satisfaction survey conducted by the City last year revealed that a plurality of respondents believed Dallas was heading in the wrong direction.

“The items that residents felt were the biggest problems in the City, based upon the percentage of residents who rated the item as a ‘major’ problem, were: homelessness (75%), crime (61%), drugs (60%), infrastructure/streets (55%), and aggressive solicitation and panhandling (45%),” the survey report stated.

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