Larger-Than-Life Dallas Is Barely Growing

SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about the lack of population growth in Dallas over the last decade.


Big D may need a new nickname.

Despite a surging population in Texas and double-digit growth rates in Austin, Fort Worth and San Antonio, the city of Dallas grew by a paltry 1 percent in the last decade, according to the new census figures — a rate lower than any of the 20 largest cities in Texas. Dallas County did not fare much better: its 6.7 percent growth rate was dwarfed by the four other most populous Texas counties, which each saw more than 20 percent growth.

City and county officials in Dallas blame the topography for the low growth: the third-largest city in Texas is simply built out. With little empty land ripe for new development, they say, the bulk of the growth must naturally be outside the county line. . .

But critics suggest that Dallas’s larger-than-life image may be shrinking for another reason. They say that officials’ lack of investment in public schools, streets, parks and pools . . . is sending white families and middle-class minorities moving to the suburbs. . .

“That means property values are likely to decline, and with property values, tax revenues,” said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. “At the end of the day, when a family has to make a choice between living in Dallas, close to its cultural amenities, or having better infrastructure, schools, libraries and pools in the suburbs, they’re not going to choose Dallas.”

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