2014 American Community Survey (Census) Data

If you’ve followed me for any time, you know that I keep vast databases of census data for all cities and metros in order to compare and contrast cities as well as individual cities over time.  I tend to follow things like population and workforce changes, income, means of transportation, age, education level, etc.  I’ve just come across the 2014 data.  Eventually I’ll get all cities in, but here are some interesting initial findings for Dallas and the DFW metro:

First thing you should know is that these are estimates.  The 10-year census is the most accurate.  Then the 5-, then the 3-, then the 1-.  2014 is a one-year estimate so the margin for error will be a bit inflated.  With that said, it’s the best we’ve got for now and that’s better than nuthin’.

To demonstrate these inaccuracies (at the risk of undermining everything else I post about this data), let’s look at the most basic piece of information, total population.

2014 City of Dallas population is estimated at 1.281 million (1-yr estimate).

The 2013 1-year estimate pegged us at 1.257 million.

2014 Metro population lists us at 6.954 million, on the threshold of breaking 7 million.  

2013 1-year estimate of 6.812 million.

These numbers are dull and rather uninformative anyway because the definition of the DFW metro area is cartoonishly large.  We should probably be two MSAs and one larger CSA like San Francisco/Oakland and San Jose.


There is quite a bit of news coming out of Detroit and since applied nationally about white populations gaining in cities.  So I decided to look into that first.  Here’s what I found (again, margin of error caveat applies):

Latino population climbed from 512k to 530k, but as a percentage of the total, dropped from 41.9% to 41.44%

Black population is up from 296k to 307k, but with a slight drop from 24.26% to 24.04% of the total population.

White population is up from 357k to 373k, but also with a slight drop from 29.27% to 298%.

The Asian population made up for some of those proportional drops by rising from 2.95% to 3.26% of the total.  A slight increase in diversity.

On the other hand, the city of Dallas is majority female for the first time (that I can tell from flipping through several decades. 50.23% female to 49.77%


Even more interesting is what is happening to per capita income at both a city and metro level (all in 2014 $):

Metro-wide per capita black income is up from 21,221 to 21,589.

Latino per capita income is up from 15,139 to 15,606

White per capita income is down from 33,757 to 33,579.

All of those are pretty bad for different reasons.  It’s good to see gains for black and latino income but they’re still way too low.  And you never want to see a drop.


Looking at the same data just for the city:

Black per capita income rose from 17,119 to 17396.  Unfortunately below metro-wide income, but the gains are good to see.

Latino income per capita is up from 13,244 to 14204.  Same thing applies.  Gains are good, but unfortunately below metro income

White income in the city is down from 36,235 to 35,196.  Again the opposite occurs.  White income is higher in the city than metro-wide, but again dropped.


Speaking of drop, city of Dallas median household income dropped again from 43,5k to 43k flat.


However, unemployment also dropped in the city pretty drastically from 6.35% to 4.48%.  More people are at work, but making less than ever.  EVER…considering income peaked here in the late 60s.

Perhaps the drop in unemployment helped reduce the percentage that are either in Poverty or Struggling.  This number used to be over 50% and in 2014 it has dipped below to 49.3%.  However, the total number of those poor or living paycheck to paycheck has increased by 20,000 people.


Could it be because of education?  Let’s see:

From 2013-2014, the number of people with at least a Bachelors degree rose from 228,000 to 243,000.   Those with Masters degrees increased from 84,000 to 92,000.  However, PhD’s dropped from 8,400 to 8,000.  I guess they could find better pay elsewhere?



I’m less interested in the raw numbers, though they can be important, than the change in proportion of the various age cohorts.  Those available are broken down by the following:  under 18, 18-35, 36-64, and over 65.

From that standpoint, the city of Dallas gained only over 65 (from 9.15 to 9.43%) and under 18 (from 25.95 to 26.18%).  We held steady between 36-64 at 36% while losing some in the 18-35 range from 28.87 to 28.38%.  The cities that skew young like Seattle and DC are around 35% for this cohort.

These wealthy cities also have very low percentage under 18.  Seattle is at 14.94%.  Meaning there is lots of money and not too huge of a proportional burden for education.  We’re a poor city with HUGE percentage of kids needing to be educated.  This is a pretty severe problem.



Transit usage is up for city residents pretty significantly from 4.04% to 5.08%.  Also, metro-wide transit use is up from 1.43% to 1.66%.  However, that doesn’t mean metro-residents are riding DART more.  Looking at raw numbers, city resident DART commuting is up from 22785 to 30887 while metro minus Dallas is actually down from 24,923 to 24,773 transit commuters.  In 2013, Dallas residents made up 47.7% of metro transit commuters.  They are now 55.5%.

Bicycling is also up, from 1092 bike commuters in 2013 to 1397 in 2014.  PROGRESS!

Population density is up in the city by 180 ppl/sq mi.

However walking to work is down from 1.89% to 1.79% 🙁


  • Los_Politico

    Cool post. My takeaway is that from a city level perspective the best thing we could do is increase the percentage of 18-35 year olds, preferably those with higher incomes and more education. This would create a stong tax base to support the large amount of poor kids we need to educate.

    Knowing that the 18-35 demographic is late to have kids, the best way to attract them to the city (assuming they have jobs that bring them to the region) is to build lots of walkable 1 and 2 bedroom apartments (as opposed to 4 bedroom houses).

    And yet the folks in Bishop Arts are protesting mid-rise buildings on transit stops and trying to change future zoning. On the grounds that it will hurt the poor no less!

  • kduble

    The article you link that references Detroit only speaks of a growing white population in growing cities. It doesn’t say any cities are getting whiter, i.e., that white flight has been reversed. I suspect this is in fact the case in Washington, D.C., for example, but the article doesn’t address the elephant in the room.

    Of greater interest is the over-65 population in Dallas. It would be interesting to compare this with similar growth in the region, state and nation. People are living longer, but this couldn’t account for a half-point rise. Is this due to empty nesters, or do seniors necessarily require the greater support network available in a city?