March 27, 2014

DFW adds 108,000 people, ranks 3rd in growth

Tarrant County grew by 30,000 people in the last year, the eighth-largest increase in the U.S. It was also in the top 10 for increases in domestic migration.

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington added 108,000 people, the third-largest population increase in the nation behind Houston and New York, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau for the 12 months that ended July 1.

Tarrant County’s population expanded by 30,000 people, the eighth-largest increase in the nation, according to data for counties and metropolitan areas released today.

No. 1 Harris County grew by 83,000, and No. 6 Bexar County added 32,000. Dallas County grew by 26,000, and Travis County added 25,000.

“Texas continues to lead everybody. These numbers show that growth isn’t slowing down,” said Steve Murdock, a former Texas state demographer and director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Texas also had seven of the 10 counties that gained the most from domestic migration from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2013, Murdock noted.

Maricopa County, Ariz., was the No. 1 destination for movers within the U.S. in that three-year period. It was followed by No. 2 Travis County, No. 3 Bexar County, No. 5 Harris County, No. 6 Fort Bend County, No. 7 Collin County, No. 8 Denton County and No. 10 Tarrant County.

“It’s clear that Texas has become a major center for domestic migration,” said Murdock, who runs the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas at Rice University.

“The domestic migration has gone up to about 30 percent of growth in Texas. For decades, it had made up about 25 percent,” he said.

Tarrant County added 9,132 domestic migrants and 4,653 international movers during the one-year period.

Over three years, Tarrant added 33,485 domestic migrants and 14,634 through international migration. It grew by 5.6 percent, or 102,004, in the same period. Since 2000, the county has added nearly 462,000 residents, to 1.9 million.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley credits much of the growth from migration to a friendly business climate and collaboration between cities and other entities.

“We have a lot of things going for us to raise a family, to work and to play,” he said. “We don’t argue and bicker among ourselves. We all try to work together.

“The challenge is that as these folks come in, our need for services expands, our need for transportation expands and we have to keep trying to do more with less overall dollars,” Whitley said.

Dallas County grew by 4.8 percent, or 112,695 people, over three years to 2.48 million.

But those healthy rates were left in the dust by even-faster-growing suburban counties in North Texas.

Denton County grew by 10 percent, or 66,195 people, over three years. Since 2000, its population has grown from 433,065 to 728,799. In three years, it added 38,353 domestic migrants.

“Denton was the only county in North Texas where domestic migration made up more than half of its growth,” Murdock said.

Collin County grew by 9.3 percent, or 72,437, over three years, including 39,112 domestic migrants, to 854,778.

Texas added 388,000 residents to nearly 26.5 million in the year that ended July 1. Since the April 1, 2010, census, the state has grown by 1.3 million people.

Oil- and gas-rich areas in and around the Great Plains contained many of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. from 2012 to 2013.

Among the 10 fastest-growing metro areas, six were in that region: Odessa; Midland; Fargo, N.D.; Bismarck, N.D.; Casper, Wyo.; and Austin-Round Rock.

The nation’s fastest-growing metro area was The Villages, Fla., where the population rose by 5.2 percent.

Odessa and Midland were the next fastest-growing, at 3.3 percent each. Both added nearly 5,000 people, and of those, nearly 70 percent were domestic migrants.

The fastest-growing county was Williams, N.D., which grew by 10.7 percent. Three Texas counties were also among the fastest-growing: No. 5 Kendall (5 percent), No. 9 Fort Bend (4.2 percent) and No. 10 Hays (4.1 percent).

Austin-Round Rock was the eighth-fastest-growing large metropolitan area at 2.6 percent, adding 48,000 in the year. By comparison, the Houston metro area grew by 2.2 percent, San Antonio by 1.9 percent and DFW by 1.6 percent.

The Metroplex, the fourth-largest metro area in the nation, grew to more than 6.8 million, an increase of nearly 385,000 since 2010.

Among the 50 fastest-growing metro areas, DFW was one of only five where natural increase (births minus deaths) was the largest contributor to growth.

The others were Washington, D.C., and three cities in Utah (Ogden, Provo and Salt Lake City), a perennial leader in birthrates.

DFW added 56,731 through natural increase and 52,142 through domestic and international migration.

But Dallas and Tarrant counties grew in distinct ways, Murdock said.

“I think one of the biggest surprises is that natural increase accounted for a whopping 70.3 percent of Dallas’ growth over three years while it made up 52 percent of growth in Tarrant County,” Murdock said.

Over the one-year period, Dallas lost 5,925 to domestic migration while Tarrant gained 9,132.

“Dallas is growing, but it is dependent on natural increase and international migration,” Murdock said.

The new numbers also reflect a growing divide between urban growth and rural decline in Texas.

Of the 254 Texas counties, 98 lost population from 2012 to 2013.

“If you go west, you have slower growth and less minority growth,” Murdock said.

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