Population growth, strong economy quickly filling up Fort Worth landfill
A new ranking published this week by WalletHub has named Fort Worth the sixth fastest-growing large city in the United States, and the 35th fastest-growing U.S. city overall.
WalletHub compared 515 small, medium and large cities across the country using 15 key metrics, including population growth, unemployment rates, home prices, the number of new businesses and building permit activity.
“It doesn’t really surprise me. We have been seeing that growth and managing it the best we can,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “When I was elected, we were 17th [largest city in the United States], and now we’re 15th. With the 2020 Census, I expect we’ll go even higher.”
In the ranking of large cities, Fort Worth falls behind Denver, Colorado (5), Charlotte, North Carolina (4), Seattle, Washington (3), Miami, Florida (2) and Austin (1).
James P. Gaines, the chief economist of Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, said that growth is essentially a double-edged sword for a city: growth creates more jobs, activities and opportunities, but can lead increased property values, traffic and higher taxes.
“The faster growth occurs, the harder it is for local government to keep pace,” Gaines said. “It also may not help that current residents may not really want the growth, not want to foster the growth and especially may not want to pay for the growth. The result is that not only are fiscal problems revealed... but also local philosophical and political attitudes either for or against the growth.”
Price emphasized that from an economic perspective, the two biggest challenges are affordable housing and transportation. But opposition to growth isn’t an option.
She noted that there’s still a lot more opportunity in Fort Worth with 70,000 acres of undeveloped land within the city limits. That’s twice as much as Dallas and as much as Frisco, Plano, McKinney and Richardson combined. According to WalletHub, Dallas ranks 17th among large cities and 101st overall.
“There are people who say they don’t want this growth but you have to have growth because at any given time, you’re also losing some people,” Price pointed out. “What you want is a balanced growth that doesn’t change the quality of life.”
A WalletHub ranking ranking from May ranked Fort Worth as the 26th most diverse out of 501 cities. Last month, the personal finance site found that Texas is the second most diverse state in the country and was ranked first in industry diversity.
“People come to Fort Worth because of our reputation. It’s a hard-working, friendly, compassionate city,” Price said. “It’s a great time to be in Fort Worth.”