US Census Reports, Big D Became Much Bigger D in 2017

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Source: US Census

Yesterday, the U.S. Census released their latest numbers tracking population growth and distribution.  Surprise, surprise! Six of the top 10 largest-gaining counties were in Texas.  Surprise, surprise, surprise! Four of those were in the Metroplex – Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant. Totted-up, from July 2016 to July 2017, the Metroplex added 146,238 new residents, the most of any metro area. That’s a 12.4 percent gain … year over year!

Still think we’re overbuilding?

Where are they all coming from? “Historically, the Dallas metro area attracts large numbers from both international and domestic migration.” said Molly Cromwell, a demographer at the Census Bureau. Call the Midwife fans will know the other way population increases.

As far as counties go, Dallas is the ninth most populous at 2,618,148 up 30,686 from the prior year. As for numeric increases, Dallas and Bexar counties swapped the eighth and ninth positions from 2016.  And while Bexar bumped Dallas to ninth place, we missed it by 145 residents – less than one new apartment building.

Looking to the rest of the country, Arizona’s Maricopa County added the most residents at 73,650 (88,772 in Phoenix-Scottsdale-Mesa).  Consider yourself lucky you weren’t one of them. Phoenix and Scottsdale get most of their water from reservoirs fed by the Colorado River (which are really, really low). Their sub-8” of annual rain is of minor help. Snow in the Rockies, which feeds the Colorado River, was down 70 percent this year. In 2012, the federal Bureau of Reclamation reported for (at least) the next 50 years, Phoenix would experience droughts lasting at least five years – each decade. The UN just released the “World Water Development Report” that estimates five billion people will be affected by water shortages by 2050. It would be foolish to think desert cities like Phoenix wouldn’t be high on the list.

Switching to energy, it may be hard to believe in a “drill baby, drill” state, but Texas actually leads the nation in renewable energy from wind and solar.  Contrast that with Arizona with 330 days of annual sunshine and yet only squeaks out less than five percent of its energy needs from solar power.

Perhaps this is partly why Phoenix was named in 2011 as the least sustainable city in the world by sociologist Andrew Ross in his book Bird on Fire. Ironically, Chicago’s Cook County, sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, lost the most people at negative 20,093 residents (its third year of declines).

(Sorry, I’ve been readin’ again … anyway….)

Source: US Census

Rankings of the Top 10 metropolitan areas by overall population remained the same with the Metroplex retaining fourth position with a comfortable half-mil more people than Houston and a pinch more than two-mil less than the Chicago metro area. The chart above shows the Top 10 growth metros with Texas taking first, second and ninth. Note that outside Seattle and Washington, D.C., the remainder are snow-free.

Putting further weight on Texas’ (and the nation’s) urbanization drive, Texas had no counties listed in the top “micropolitan” areas.  I suppose in Texas, we go big (city). “Micropolitan” is defined as communities between 10,000 and 50,000 residents outside the orbit of a large city or metropolitan area. Of the Top 10 largest-gaining micropolitan areas, two each were in Montana, North Carolina, and Washington.

Overall, Texas grew to 28,304,596 residents in 2017, up 399,734 from 2016 – but 74 percent of that growth came from the Dallas, Houston, and Austin metro areas. And remember, the Metroplex accounted for 146,238 of those.

Still think we’re overbuilding? I didn’t think so.

Remember:  High-rises, HOAs and renovation are my beat. But I also appreciate modern and historical architecture balanced against the YIMBY movement.  In 2016 and 2017, the National Association of Real Estate Editors has recognized my writing with two Bronze (2016, 2017) and two Silver (2016, 2017) awards.  Have a story to tell or a marriage proposal to make?  Shoot me an email Be sure to look for me on Facebook and Twitter. You won’t find me, but you can look.

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Jon Anderson

Jon Anderson is's condo/HOA and developer columnist, but also covers second home trends on An award-winning columnist, Jon has earned silver and bronze awards for his columns from the National Association of Real Estate Editors in both 2016, 2017 and 2018. When he isn't in Hawaii, Jon enjoys life in the sky in Dallas.

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