Study: Dallas-Fort Worth Cities Ranked Neediest in U.S.

Study: Dallas-Fort Worth Cities Ranked Neediest in U.S.
Woman on the ground panhandling. | Image by Balate Dorin

According to a new WalletHub study, Dallas is among the neediest cities in North Texas partly because it has some of the highest numbers of uninsured residents. 

“Not having health insurance coverage contributes to being economically disadvantaged because people may not be able to afford seeing a doctor when necessary, or they might end up with medical bills they can’t afford to pay,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub.

WalletHub found in its 2021’s Neediest Cities report that Dallas has a large number of people who are economically disadvantaged, struggling with poverty, and do not have access to basic things such as healthcare or quality food.

“Local authorities can help those without health insurance by providing affordable or even free basic medical services,” Gonzalez told The Dallas Express.

Overall, Dallas ranked No. 38 out of 182 neediest cities, followed by Grand Prairie at No. 100, Garland at No. 105, Fort Worth at No. 106, and Arlington at No. 116.

“If Dallas continues to have a large population in need, it will keep it from developing economically,” Gonzalez said in an interview. “This is because it will not be an attractive destination for people looking to relocate. The share of owner-occupied housing units that spend at least 35% of their household income on housing is lower in the four cities than in Dallas. The uninsured rate is also lower in the four cities, as is the share of offline homes, and the crime rate.”

At No. 174, Plano is one of the least-neediest cities to live in.

Plano has low poverty rates for children and adults at 8.4% and 6.3%, respectively. The city has the lowest high school dropout rate at 4.23% and the second-lowest share of offline homes, according to WalletHub data.

“To catch up to Plano, Dallas would need to improve the economic well-being of its residents,” Gonzalez said. “More specifically, it would need to lower its poverty rate and unemployment rate. It should also have fewer people delinquent on their debt, its residents should have higher credit scores, and a higher level of education.”

The study further found some areas in which Dallas is outperforming. Specifically, Dallas has managed to register a decrease in family homelessness of more than 11% in the past year.

Although being unsheltered is not considered a crime, sleeping on the streets, camping on the streets, and panhandling are criminalized in some cities. Dallas ranks fourth for its homeless criminalization laws.

“Dallas has legislation regarding sleeping, camping, lying, vehicle restrictions, begging, and food sharing,” Gonzalez said. “The presence of homeless criminalization laws was included because it indicates a high rate of homelessness, which can contribute to an increased crime rate. The lowest-ranked cities for homelessness criminalization are Nashville, Worcester, and Fargo because they only have begging laws.”

At No. 182, Columbia, Maryland ranked No. 1 for the least needy city.

“Columbia ranks low because it has a low adult poverty rate at 6.24%, a low high school dropout rate at 7.72%, a low undereducated rate at 4.6%, and a low share of children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch at just above 19%,” Gonzalez added.

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1 Comment

  1. Hal Thurow

    Check with Arlington. The number of homeless in Arlington is down


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