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DFW Grew Faster Than Any Region in the U.S. Last Year, But Dallas Didn’t Make Up Its Losses

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro had the fastest rate of growth of any area in the U.S. last year. But despite some growth, much of the heavy lifting still happens in areas outside of Dallas.

North Texas had the biggest population jump of any U.S. metro area last year, but much of the heavy lifting for the last two years—stop us if you’ve heard this one before—came from the cities and towns outside of Dallas proper, U.S. Census data released Thursday show.

The Dallas-Fort-Worth-Arlington metropolitan statistical area (or MSA) had an annual increase of 170,396 people between 2021 and 2022. That region includes cities and towns in Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman, Rockwall, Hood, Tarrant, Johnson, Parker, Somervell, and Wise counties.

The bureau’s latest Vintage 2022 population estimates found that Dallas remains the country’s ninth most populous city with a population of 1.3 million. Fort Worth is 13th with 1 million. Fort Worth also had the largest numeric population gain in 2022, with an increase of 19,170 people. Dallas came in at 13th, with a jump of 8,833, and Frisco was 15th with an 8,506 increase.

Nine of the country’s 10 cities with more than 1 million residents at the start of the pandemic saw their populations improve last year, the Washington Post reported Thursday. Brookings Institute demographer William Frey told the Post that Dallas was among those cities. Frey said big cities were seeing those rebounds for a variety of factors. One, he said, is that immigration increased last year, and those newcomers tended to flock to cities. 

But Dallas did not grow enough to make up the loss of population from the previous year.

The Census also charted population changes for cities larger than 50,000 people from April 2020 to July 1, 2022, effectively from the beginning of the pandemic. Frisco is the first North Texas town to show up in the rankings, at 25th, with a growth of 9.5 percent. Fort Worth shows up at 84th with 4.1 percent, Plano at 235th with 1.4 percent. Dallas fell to 431st with a negative 0.4 percent growth. 

Heading South: 15 Fastest Growing Large Cities in the United States: July 1, 2021 to July 1, 2022[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

The latter jibes with previous data that found that Dallas County overall had lost about 25,000 residents between 2020 and 2021. That decrease likely indicates the growth the city saw last year was blunted by the exodus the year before. That’s also shored up by Census data released in March that found that the county, which is the eighth-most populous in the country, rebounded last year, too. It gained 13,000 people, which was the most rapid gain Dallas has seen since 2017.

Stacked between Frisco and Fort Worth are Denton (35th with 7.5 percent), Allen (41st with 6.6 percent), McKinney (46th with 6.2 percent), Wylie (51st with 5.9 percent), and Mansfield (53rd with 5.7 percent). Garland had the lowest percentage growth in the region at negative 2.1 percent. (Sorry Garland.)

Little Elm ranked fifth in the list of 15 cities with the fastest population growth last year, and Rockwall officially joined the list of cities and towns with populations greater than 50,000 after hitting 51,461 last year.

Texas has five of the 15 most populous cities in America, more than any other state: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Fort Worth.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.