Keeping up with Dallas-Fort Worth's Growth

Welcome letter by Dale Petroskey and Linda McMahon

By the time you finish this article (in roughly three minutes), a new person will be added to the Dallas Region’s population.

Some are born here. Others have moved here to look for opportunities. Still others have found jobs and have relocated to begin new chapters in their professional lives. Regardless of the reason, the Dallas Region added roughly 146,000 people between 2016 and 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. 

While our birthrate is healthy (roughly 14 per 1,000, compared to the national average of 12), much of this growth can be attributed to relocations: We continue to attract large populations from Los Angeles, New York, Minneapolis, and Chicago, according to census data. 

This growth has fueled Dallas’ real estate and development communities, which are busy building commercial developments and housing units across the region. The continued swell of population also supports the area’s retailers, which continue to sign leases at a healthy clip.

More importantly, this population expansion reflects continued job growth: Between 2010 and 2018, the Dallas Region added more than 750,000 new jobs. Some of the job growth can be attributed to the migration of companies. More than 106 companies have moved to the Dallas Region since 2010, according to the Dallas Regional Chamber. These companies clearly are taking advantage of the area’s vast and growing labor pool, available real estate, a great and improving quality of life—and favorable tax and regulatory conditions.

All these advantages mean that the Dallas Region has found itself in a pleasant, upward spiral: Skilled, diverse, motivated, and dynamic people are moving here because of jobs, and companies are relocating and expanding here to harness their energy. And, educational institutions—K-12, community colleges, and other institutions of higher education—are working together to prepare students for the region’s booming job market.

Thanks to the work, planning, and leadership of many people already here, transportation hasn’t become a major headache. Roads in the Dallas Region are the least congested among global metro markets with 5 million or more people, according to the TomTom Traffic Index. Another key to keeping the population moving has been the region’s $15 billion investment into public transit and highways over the past 10 years.  

The influx of people has been met by a boom in housing construction and rehabilitation. In 2017, the region saw more construction starts than any other U.S. market except for New York City, according to a report by CBRE, Weitzman, and RealPage. The Dallas Region isn’t hemmed in by an ocean or mountains, so few natural barriers hinder our development. As a result, housing has remained more affordable than most other major metro areas, according to the Cost of Living Index, which is published by the Council for Community and Economic Research.

To further assure that middle-class and lower-income people can continue to afford to live in Dallas, city leaders have launched a market value analysis (MVA), a tool to help residents and policy-makers understand the elements of their local residential real estate markets. This objective, data-driven approach will be used to more precisely target investment strategies with the goal of adding thousands of rental and for-purchase housing units into neighborhoods where they’re needed.

There’s such a thing as loving a place too much. Some communities are literally crushed or changed beyond recognition by a deluge of newcomers. The Dallas Region’s political and business leaders are working and planning steadily and effectively to manage the growth to assure that the area’s quality of life will steadily improve as it continues to attract people seeking brighter futures.