Dallas Population Rebounds Despite Crime Problem

Downtown Dallas | Image by f11photo/Shutterstock
Downtown Dallas | Image by f11photo/Shutterstock

Dallas has seen a slight increase in population size, maintaining its position as the ninth most populous city in the United States.

Recent U.S. Census data reveals that Dallas’ population grew from 1.29 million in 2022 to 1.32 million in 2023. Although the uptick was modest, and fewer people lived in Dallas last year than in 2020, the increase marks a turnaround from the population declines seen in recent years amid high rates of homelessness and crime.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, despite decreases in some categories of violent crime, the overall number of criminal incidents has steadily crept up over several years amid a serious staffing shortage at the Dallas Police Department.

Relatedly, DPD has been falling short of its response time targets due to the shortage. According to a City analysis, a city the size of Dallas needs approximately three officers per 1,000 residents, putting an optimal staffing level at around 4,000 officers. The department currently only fields about 3,000.

Dallas has also struggled with homelessness, with thousands of individuals lacking permanent housing. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Dallas County has 163 homeless individuals per 100,000 residents as of February 2024. In comparison, Tarrant County has 126 homeless individuals per 100,000 residents, per the Fort Worth Report.

Polling conducted by DX shows that roughly 75% of Dallas voters think homelessness, vagrancy, and aggressive panhandling are “major” problems in the city. Residents have also registered their support for the “one-stop-shop” homeless services model used by Haven for Hope in San Antonio. The model has been credited with a 77% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in the city’s downtown area.

Still, the new census figures indicate that many people still consider Dallas a desirable place to live, work, and raise a family.

Part of the population growth can be attributed to the broader economic opportunities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which saw the largest metropolitan population rise last year, surpassing 8 million total residents, according to BizJournal. The region’s economic opportunities, with a healthy job market and relatively cheaper housing compared to other major cities, have continued to attract newcomers.

Nearby Fort Worth outpaced Dallas in growth, adding 21,365 residents and achieving the second-largest increase in the nation, according to a report from WFAA.

The broader DFW area continues to be a magnet for new residents, with Collin County experiencing the most significant annual numeric growth in the country, adding around 36,000 people in 2023. Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, saw an increase of roughly 27,300 residents, ranking ninth in annual growth, according to WFAA.

Additionally, in 2023, federal data indicated that the Dallas metroplex ranked second among metropolitan areas nationwide regarding job creation. Over 154,000 new jobs were generated in DFW, making it second only to the New York City area, reported NBC 5 DFW.

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