From the Dallas Morning News by Michael E. Young
Dallas-Fort Worth added more new residents than almost anywhere else in the U.S. in the latest population estimates. The area trailed only Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. Credit the booming Texas economy and strong population growth in the Texas Triangle, the part of the state roughly bounded by Interstates 35, 45 and 10.
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, the fourth-largest metro area in the country and the largest in the southern U.S., added more than 131,000 people from July 1, 2013, to July 1, 2014. Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land saw an increase of 156,371 people. To put that sort of growth in perspective, compare those numbers with New York-Newark-Jersey City, which ranked third on the list, said Steve Murdock, director of the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University. “You look at the Houston area and the Dallas area, and then New York, which is a much larger metropolitan area, and you see that it added 91,000,” he said. “It just shows the phenomenal growth in this state.”
Four Texas counties — Harris, Bexar, Dallas and Tarrant — were among the Top 10 nationally in numeric growth. Three others — Hays, Fort Bend and Comal — were among the 10 fastest-growing counties of 10,000 or more residents by percentage increase. The growth rates in Hays and Comal, located along Interstate 35 between Austin and San Antonio, “highlight the merger of these two major areas in Texas,” said Lloyd Potter, the Texas state demographer. The four largest counties in the 15-county Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area continued to show strong population growth over the five years since the last U.S. Census and during the 2013-14 reporting period. Collin County grew from the nation’s 74th-largest county in 2010 to 60th in 2014; Denton climbed from 91st to 83rd; Tarrant jumped one spot from 16th to 15th; and Dallas remained the ninth-largest county. But they grew in different ways.
Collin and Denton attracted newcomers from other parts of Texas and the U.S., ranking sixth and eighth among U.S. counties in domestic migration. Dallas, on the other hand, grew largely because of international migration — it ranked 14th in the U.S. — and natural increase, the number of births minus deaths. It ranked seventh in that category. “Dallas had a much larger percentage of growth from natural increase than the others,” Potter said. “And when you look at net migration, Dallas had a net [loss] in domestic migration. That out-migration is being offset by international migration. “But when you look at Collin and Denton, the increases are mostly from domestic migration.”
Many who come from elsewhere in the U.S. are drawn by job opportunities. With Toyota moving its North American headquarters to Plano and other major companies looking to expand in North Texas, it doesn’t look like the growth will stop anytime soon. That has caused some significant ripples, especially in housing. Realtor Jim Pokorny of Keller-Williams in Collin County said the influx of people means a tighter supply of available homes. “We have people coming in from all over — we just sold a house to a family moving from Maryland — and some of the Toyota people are already buying houses and renting them out until they move here because the prices are just going crazy,” Pokorny said.
In Collin County, the supply of homes under $300,000 is very low, he said. “The problem is those are the houses getting multiple offers. Now a lot of people are afraid to put their houses on the market because they don’t know where they can move,” he said. But there is also the other side of the growth equation — the parts of Texas that have lost population since 2010. “In the pervasiveness of growth, it’s important to recognize the 102 counties that aren’t growing,” Murdock said. Some are located in rural East Texas. Others occupy the Great Plains west of Interstate 35 and west of the dry line where occasional droughts can mean a hard life for farmers and ranchers and those who serve them. Some people hang on. Others pack up and go, Potter said. “For me, that’s the yin and yang of Texas demography,” he said. “We have the most significantly growing county in the country, several of the fastest-growing counties in the country, several with the greatest numeric growth. “And then we have to juxtapose with all these other counties, where the last person to leave turns out the light.”