Leading the Region
The North Central Texas population grew an eye-popping 35% between 2000 and 2014 and is projected to reach 10 million by 2040, overtaking Chicago as the nation’s third largest metro area. Per capita income soared by 46% during the same period. DFW consistently ranks as one of the top destinations for corporate relocations because of its central location, expansive transportation infrastructure, low tax rate, and business-friendly regulatory climate. Other trends driving this super-charged growth are the diversity and strength of the economy and the relatively low cost of living, especially in housing.
Dallas is the Economic Engine
Downtown Dallas is the heartbeat of this prosperity, boasting finance, realestate, insurance, banking, and silk stocking law firms housed in architecturally distinctive Class A office buildings. Dallas is the residential destination of choice for millennials and immigrants willing to work hard and gamble on an innovative business venture, or baby boomers eager to enjoy an enriched quality of life in the center of art, culture, and fine dining. Given this tremendo us prosperity and these strong competitive advantages, Dallas’ economic resilience and dominance should be unquestioned. However, in-depth examination reveals several disturbing trends that could compromise Dallas’ ability to lead the region in the future.
A growing number of Dallasites live on the edge of economic failure. Dallas has nearly 4,000 homeless individuals. Census numbers indicate poverty has increased 42% during the past 15 years, and more than 36% of Dallas households struggle financially. The problems these residents grapple with are numerous
and intertwined: low skills or language barriers limit employment opportunities, lack of health insurance often leads to poor health as medical concerns spiral into medical emergencies, and lack of reliable transportation restricts access to jobs, education, and even healthy food. Dallas’ biggest resilience challenge is not the devastation of a tornado, flood, or other natural disaster. Nor is it the tragedy of a horrific event such as the July 7th attack on the Dallas Police Department. Rather, it is the economic vulnerability of Dallas’ poor who struggle to provide for themselves and their families, weakening the community’s resilience.