Dallas Treads Water as Region Booms

Dallas Skyline | Image by Mihai_Andritoiu/Shutterstock

The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is undergoing explosive and historic growth, but Dallas proper seems to be missing out on its share.

As people move to the region by the thousands every week, Dallas proper is still trying to regain losses since the 2020 U.S. Census because of a long list of urban problems, including high crime, poor public schools, rampant homelessness and vagrancy, rising home prices, and a slow building permit bureaucracy, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

“If DFW is really going to vault into the ranks of top-tier global cities, it will need to offer not just suburban safety and quality of life but also more options for those who want to live in a traditional urban setting,” Rice University’s Kinder Institute of Urban Research wrote in a 2021 analysis of the metro area’s growth.

Between July 2021 and July 2022, DFW’s population rose by 170,396 people, yet Dallas lost about 4,000, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data.

For its part, Fort Worth gained about 33,000 people between July 2020 and July 2022. Arlington added fewer than 1,000 yet remained the third-largest city behind Dallas and Fort Worth, with roughly 394,000 residents.

The growth of DFW as a whole over this period was more than any other metro area in the country.

State Demographer Lloyd Potter spoke on Tuesday at the Texas Demographic Conference in Austin, focusing on state population estimates. In his “State of the State” presentation, Potter said Texas grew more than any state between 2010 and 2020.

“We are attracting 1,300 people per day,” said Potter. “More than 75% of our population lives east of Interstate 35.”

Five Texas cities rank among the top 15 in population nationwide. Dallas is ninth.

Here are the top 15:

1. New York, NY (8.3 million)

2. Los Angeles, CA (3.9 million)

3. Chicago, IL (2.7 million)

4. Houston (2.3 million)

5. Phoenix, AZ (1.6 million)

6. Philadelphia, PA (1.6 million)

7. San Antonio (1.5 million)

8. San Diego, CA (1.4 million)

9. Dallas (1.3 million)

10. Austin (974,447)

11. Jacksonville, FL (971,319)

12. San Jose, CA (971,233)

13. Fort Worth (956,709)

14. Columbus, OH (907,971)

15. Charlotte, NC (897,720)

“Fort Worth is growing very, very quickly,” Potter said. “We have not seen that in the past.”

Texas’ Georgetown and Little Elm were also two of the nation’s fastest-growing cities, according to the Census Bureau. Georgetown’s population increased by 14.4% and Little Elm’s jumped by 8% between July 2021 and July 2022.

“Demographers project that DFW will reach 10 million people sometime in the 2030s, surpassing Chicago to become America’s third-largest metro area,” the Kinder Institute wrote.

Collin and Denton counties have a combined population of 2 million. Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Denton, and Allen have doubled in size since 2000, according to Census data.

“Collin County was just a bedroom community when I started this job in 2010,” Potter said. “Plano was way out there. Now, one day soon, Collin County will be as big as Dallas County.”

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