Where Does Dallas Fall In a List of Best and Worst Run Cities?

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Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

With a mayoral and city council election still rather close in the rearview mirror, a recent WalletHub study into the best and worst run cities in the country — and where Dallas falls on that list — highlights some of the issues that drove at least a few people to the polls twice.

The study, which was released earlier this month, sought to measure the effectiveness of local leadership by focusing on how efficiently a city was run.

“In other words, we can learn how well city officials manage and spend public funds by comparing the quality of services residents receive against the city’s total budget,” the report explained.

WalletHub compared 150 of the largest U.S. cities, constructing a “quality of services” score comprised of 37 benchmarks grouped into six service categories, which were then measured against the city’s per-capita budget.

Source: WalletHub

So how did Dallas fare? Not good, but not the worst, either (that dubious honor would go to Washington D.C.). But if it weren’t for Lubbock, Dallas would’ve been the lowest placement on the list at 90. Lubbock came in at 106.

So we showed two freshman Dallas City Council members the WalletHub report, and asked for their opinions.

David Blewett said that the numbers “seemed kind of arbitrary,” but said he could see at least something Dallas is doing right.

“As I looked at where we ranked vs. other cities … I came away thinking that Dallas must be doing something right as we are gaining population over most of them,” he said. “And I know firsthand at the City of Dallas that it is a priority to provide the types and levels of service that will allow us to remain attractive to our long time as well as newer residents and businesses.”

Chad West agreed that the new council is looking at how it prioritizes these services.

“Dallas does some things well and other things not so well. We’re working on it, and nothing gets better overnight,” he said. “Our education system is improving, we have great medical facilities in which to take care of our people, a strong economy (especially the housing market), and the City has plans in place to improve transit.”

He also noticed something key that might improve any future score for the city.

“It is interesting that in the study’s ‘Infrastructure and Pollution’ category, almost as many points were given to the ‘Walk Score’ i.e. Pedestrian friendliness as were given to ‘Quality of Roads’, and the Walk Score is one of the heaviest weighted categories,” he said.  “This gives me hope that, in the future, as our City refocuses our accessibility efforts on Complete Streets projects which encourage alternative forms of transportation, like walking, biking, use of scooters, etc, we’ll drastically improve our ranking.”

The full report is located here.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1961 Fox and Jacobs home with her husband, a second-grader, and Conrad Bain the dog. If she won the lottery, she'd by an E. Faye Jones home. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Online News Association, the Education Writers Association, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, and the Society of Professional Journalists. She doesn't like lima beans or the word moist.

Reader Interactions


  1. KP says

    The City of Dallas needs to address the very serious issue of increasing rates of crime and violence. Our tax dollars should be re-allocated to the hiring and training of police officers and staff who protect and serve the citizens. The current situation at DPD is untenable and poses a grave threat to the future of our city.

    • neal says

      youre precisely right! Iam THIS CLOSE to selling my property, closing my business and moving to Collin county.
      Dallas leadership is a continuing bad joke.
      Anyway, Ive exhausted my tolerance for about 10 years now, holding out for people to start being responsible, especially the “leadership.” That patience has worn thin. Soon I will give up on this city, my home, and leave FOREVER.

      • mmCandy Evans says

        Neal, we hear you. I remember moving to Dallas from NYC and thinking I was in Wonderland: the people were friendly, the real estate was affordable, the sun was shining, it was green and floral, drivers drove a little too fast but I loved having my car again over sloshing through wet streets and smelly subways. (OMG the NYC subway in August!) We didn’t lock our front doors. When we bought our first house, the neighbors brought over a whole dang meal! That Dallas will never leave my heart, and I’m gonna help get her back somehow. Was in Boston last week and my daughter said to me, it’s obvious we are not in the south — very few peeps with manners. All is not lost. We’ve just had 20 years of bad leadership, but I think the tide is turning…

  2. Neal says

    The escooters rental razor things on the sidewalk were a very bad idea and continue to wreck havoc in a number of ways.

    1. Theyre putting local bicycle shops and motorscooter dealers out of business (killing local businesses while siphoning cash out of our local economy).

    2. The injuries rates and unpaid ER visits are untenable. So not only do they siphon cash out if our economy, were stuck with an unpaid ER bill left to tax payers to pay.

    3. The scooters are a CONSTANT eyesore and litter problem. They are also used to vandalize the cement (see the pedestrian bridge at Trinity Grove!)

    4. They are also an obstacle for runners and cycilists!

    Dallas! Wake up! Those scooters are a ripoff. $5 = 1mile on a Lime scooter. $5 = 130 miles on a gas scooter from a local dealer. You do the math pal. Insurance coverage on a gas scooter is 9nly $100 A YEAR! Thats right, a YEAR.

    Dallas’ disregard for its own citizens safety, coupled with putting numerous small business out of business… is so irresponsible.
    Get those scooters out of here!

    • BW says

      We don’t need the scooters. They are fine for riding the beaches in California on lanes that were built for them, but in Dallas, we have traffic.

  3. Gregory L Parks says

    Can the police department keep Dallas safe, having almost 1000 officers short? I think this is a major problem.

  4. gloria guzman says

    Dallas has a serious crime problem because those in charge are very poor leaders who fail to address what we the citizens and voters of this city know first hand. They do not take care our Policemen or firemen or the infrastructure of our city. They are too worried about Social Justice, which is not a 1st priority. The laws need to be enforced, education addressed. We essentially have no real leadership in any areas that are important. The money that has been wasted is sinful. Those in charge allow those who are of dubious character to dictate how
    the city should be run not the taxpayers and voters and responsible citizens.

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