The numbers show Pantego to be a town of aging residents whose median household income is decreasing -- one of two Tarrant County cities with that distinction.
But Doug Davis, who retired as city manager Feb. 1 and now runs a collectibles store with his wife, believes that the pendulum is swinging back the other way.
"In the last few years, we've seen lots of younger people who grew up in Pantego moving back to town to raise their kids here," he said. "Some of them are moving into their parents' house."
According to figures from the American Community Survey released by the Census Bureau in December, the median age in Pantego is 47.7, up from 44.9 in 2000. Only Westover Hills (52.9) and Lakeside (48) were higher in Tarrant County.
The growing number of retirees that an aging population brings might help explain the $821 drop in median household income, to $67,750.
Davis, 58, said city officials recognize the need to attract younger residents. "In order to survive, you need a mix," he said.
Pantego's small-town feel, city services and proximity to major cities are attractive, he said, but one of the biggest draws is the Arlington schools that serve the area: Hill Elementary, Bailey Junior High and Arlington High. Alumni are moving back so that their own children can attend, he said.
Mortgage figures suggest that more homes are being bought. In 2000, 47.4 percent of residents had no mortgage, compared with 38.4 percent a decade later.
But almost 63 percent of the city's homes were built in the 1960s and '70s; only 2.2 percent have been built since 2005.
Unlike his wife, Mary, 47, Davis didn't grow up in Pantego. But after spending more than three decades working for the city, including as police chief and city manager, he is more invested in the town than ever. The couple opened their store, Anything Goes, in a shopping center on Park Row Drive just west of Bowen Road.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," he said.
Patrick M. Walker, 817-390-7423