Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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The Metroplex Region2018 Regional Report

Metroplex Region Snapshot

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The 19-county Metroplex Region covers about 15,600 square miles in northern Texas, stretching from Oklahoma south to the Brazos River and from the Cedar Creek Reservoir on the east to Possum Kingdom Lake on the west. The region has a population density of 514 people per square mile, making this region significantly denser than the state average of 108 people per square mile.

The Metroplex Region includes two metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs): the Sherman-Denison MSA, which is composed of Grayson County, and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA is composed of two Metropolitan Divisions (MDs): Fort Worth-Arlington MD, which includes the counties of Hood, Johnson, Parker, Somervell, Tarrant and Wise, and the Dallas-Plano-Irving MD, which includes the counties of Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Kaufman and Rockwall. Counties in the region not associated with an MSA are Cooke, Erath, Fannin, Navarro and Palo Pinto.

The Metroplex Region revolves around the cities of Dallas (Dallas County) and Fort Worth (Tarrant County). Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas; Dallas and Fort Worth are among the fastest-growing cities in the nation. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA has a population of about 7.4 million. The city of Dallas has a population of about 1.3 million (about 17 percent of the region’s population and 5 percent of the state’s). The city of Fort Worth has a population of about 874,000 (about 11 percent of the region’s population and 3 percent of the state’s).

This report examines regional economic trends including population, personal income, jobs and wages, and education, as well as economic conditions unique to the Metroplex Region.


The Metroplex Region’s estimated total population in 2017 was about 7.4 million, or more than 27 percent of the state’s total population. This is an increase of about 15 percent (almost 1 million people) since the 2010 census. Dallas and Tarrant counties respectively contain an estimated 34 percent and 27 percent of the region’s population. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA accounted for 95.8 percent of the region’s population and 26 percent of the state’s population.

From 2010 to 2017, the region’s population grew at a faster pace than that of the state as a whole (Exhibit 1). While the population of each county in the region increased during this period, Denton outpaced all others, growing by more than 26 percent – twice as fast as the state as a whole.

Exhibit 1: Metroplex Region Population by County,
2010 and 2017
County 2010 Census Estimate (as of July 2017) Percent Change
Collin 782,341 969,603 23.9%
Cooke 38,437 39,895 3.8%
Dallas 2,368,139 2,618,148 10.6%
Denton 662,614 836,210 26.2%
Ellis 149,610 173,620 16.0%
Erath 37,890 41,969 10.8%
Fannin 33,915 34,446 1.6%
Grayson 120,877 131,140 8.5%
Hood 51,182 58,273 13.9%
Hunt 86,129 93,872 9.0%
Johnson 150,934 167,301 10.8%
Kaufman 103,350 122,883 18.9%
Navarro 47,735 48,701 2.0%
Palo Pinto 28,111 28,570 1.6%
Parker 116,927 133,463 14.1%
Rockwall 78,337 96,788 23.6%
Somervell 8,490 8,845 4.2%
Tarrant 1,809,034 2,054,475 13.6%
Wise 59,127 66,181 11.9%
Metroplex Region Total 6,733,179 7,724,383 14.7%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA 6,426,214 7,399,662 15.2%
City of Dallas 1,197,816 1,341,075 12.0%
City of Fort Worth 741,206 874,168 17.9%
Texas Total 25,145,561 28,304,596 12.6%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Population Composition

According to a recent Census analysis, the median age for the Metroplex Region is on par with that of the state as a whole. While 13 of the region’s 19 counties have a median age significantly higher than the state’s median age of 34.2 years, the region’s most populous counties are on par with the state, and Erath County’s population is one of the youngest in the state (30.2 years). The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA had a median age on par with that of the state.

Household income in Texas is more or less evenly distributed among five income levels. Of the more than 9 million households within the state of Texas, 22 percent have incomes less than $25,000 and 16 percent have incomes more than $125,000. In every region in the state, nearly 18 percent have an average household income between $50,000 and $75,000. Only about 41 percent of the region’s households have income less than $50,000 versus about 46 percent for the state, indicating potentially more household wealth than the state average (Exhibit 2).

Nearly 28 percent of the Metroplex Region’s total population is Hispanic – approximately 11 percent lower than the state’s total Hispanic population of 38.6 percent (Exhibit 3).

Exhibit 2: Metroplex Region and Texas Household Income

Exhibit 2: Household Income Percentile, Metroplex Region vs. Texas
Income Level Metroplex Region State Total
less than $25,000 18.7% 22.2%
$25,000 to $50,000 22.7% 23.6%
$50,000 to $75,000 18.2% 17.8%
$75,000 to $125,000 21.6% 20.2%
more than $125,000 18.8% 16.1%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Exhibit 3: Metroplex Region and Texas Population by Race and Ethnicity

Population by Race and Ethnicity, Metroplex Region vs. Texas
Race and Ethnicity Metroplex Region State Total
Hispanic 27.7% 38.6%
Black (not Hispanic) 14.6% 11.6%
White (not Hispanic) 49.4% 43.4%
Other 8.3% 6.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Jobs and Wages

In 2017, the Metroplex Region accounted for nearly 30 percent of the state’s total employment, making this region the largest employment base in the state. From 2007 to 2017, the region’s employment increased by 18.6 percent – exceeding employment growth in the state by 1.2 percent. Employment in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA increased more than 19 percent, and the Metroplex Region added more than 550,000 jobs over the same period (Exhibit 4).

Exhibit 4: Metroplex Region Employment, 2007 to 2017
Area Number of Jobs, 2017 Change in Jobs from 2007 Percent Change
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA 3,451,295 554,709 19.2%
Metroplex Region, Total 3,560,738 559,413 18.6%
Texas 12,011,078 1,779,177 17.4%
United States 143,860,846 8,495,037 6.3%

Note: The above figures include private and public sector employees with the exception of active duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics

The average wage in the Metroplex Region was $59,677 in 2017, slightly higher than the average wage of the state and nation; however, from 2007 to 2017, individual wage growth in the region was slightly lower than individual wage growth at the state and national levels during the same period (Exhibit 5). Adjusted for inflation, individual wages in the Metroplex Region increased 3 percent during this period. Within the region, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA average wage was slightly higher than the region, but the growth rate from 2007 to 2017 was slightly lower than the region as a whole.

Exhibit 5: Metroplex Region Wage Trends, 2007 to 2017
Area Average Wage, 2017 Change in Wages from 2007 Nominal Rate of Change, 2007 to 2017 Real Rate of Change,* 2007 to 2017
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA $60,283 $10,715 21.6% 2.9%
Metroplex Region, Total $59,677 $10,685 21.8% 3.0%
Texas $55,801 $11,106 24.9% 5.6%
United States $55,375 $10,917 24.6% 5.4%

* The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 are 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics

Industry Concentration

Exhibit 6 lists the Metroplex Region industry subsectors most highly concentrated according to location quotient (LQ) — a measure of how concentrated an industry is in the region relative to the nation — and by share of total state jobs in each subsector. Industries are described according to the federal government’s North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which is used by federal statistical agencies to classify business establishments.

The most highly concentrated industries in the Metroplex Region cover a wide variety of businesses and include the transportation, money and banking and technology industries. From 2007 to 2017, the region’s second most highly concentrated industry subsector – air transportation – saw significant wage increases and increased its number of jobs by about 8 percent.

Exhibit 6: Metroplex Region’s Most Highly Concentrated Industries, 2007 to 2017
Industry Description (NAICS1) Job Concentration Job Trends Wage Trends
Location Quotient2 Share of State's Jobs Number of Jobs Change, 2007 to 2017 Average Wage Nominal Rate3 of Change Real Rate3 of Change, 2007 to 2017
Oil and Gas Extraction (211) 3.09 14.6% 11,087 5.6% $207,881 22.0% 3.2%
Air Transportation (481) 3.00 59.0% 36,943 8.8% $137,857 98.5% 67.9%
Monetary Authorities-Central Bank (521) 2.16 68.7% 1,035 -22.6% $104,314 47.8% 25.0%
Telecommunications (517) 1.91 45.2% 37,115 -13.8% $107,125 45.8% 23.3%
Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services (518) 1.71 41.9% 13,587 -19.1% $110,125 29.2% 9.3%
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities (522) 1.64 41.6% 108,580 10.9% $87,840 40.8% 19.1%
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing (334) 1.64 47.3% 42,636 -17.2% $145,372 48.6% 25.7%
Warehousing and Storage (493) 1.62 48.9% 41,615 128.7% $37,516 3.6% -12.3%
Museums, Historical Sites and Similar Institutions (712) 1.59 32.3% 9,866 24.5% $30,541 17.0% -1.0%
Support Activities for Mining (213) 1.55 8.5% 11,385 11.0% $88,136 29.0% 9.1%
Metroplex Region - 29.6% 3,560,738 18.6% $59,677 21.8% 3.0%

Note: The figures above include private and public sector employees with the exception of active duty military personnel, railroad employees, religious institution employees and the self-employed.

  1. NAICS codes are the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
  2. The higher the location quotient, the more concentrated the industry subsector is in the region compared to nation.
  3. The constant or “real” rate adjusts average wages for the effects of inflation in the value of a particular base year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices in 2017 were 18.22 percent higher than prices in 2007.

Sources: JobsEQ and Bureau of Labor Statistics


A strong educational foundation is the cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy. As the Texas economy diversifies, becoming more knowledge based, a well-educated workforce offers possibilities for workplace advancement and prospects for business expansion.

In 2016, 88.8 percent of the Metroplex Region’s class of public high school students graduated, on par with the state’s rate of 89.1 percent (Exhibit 7). The region’s high school graduation rate has increased almost 4 percent since 2010 and has regularly tracked the state’s rate.

Many high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs, offering greater job prospects and the possibility to of earning higher wages. Residents of the Metroplex Region enjoy the largest variety of options for higher educational achievement in the state (Exhibit 8).

Exhibit 7: Metroplex Region and Texas Public High School Graduation Rates, 2010 to 2016
Year Metroplex Texas
2010 85.0% 84.3%
2011 85.9% 85.9%
2012 87.7% 87.7%
2013 87.8% 88.0%
2014 88.2% 88.3%
2015 88.6% 89.0%
2016 88.8% 89.1%

Source: Texas Education Agency

Exhibit 8: Metroplex Region Institutions of Higher Education, 2017


  • Amberton University
  • Austin College
  • Dallas Baptist University
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Southern Methodist University
  • Southwestern Adventist University
  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University
  • Southwestern Christian College
  • Tarleton State University
  • Texas A&M University-Commerce
  • Texas Christian University
  • Texas Wesleyan University
  • Texas Woman's University
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Dallas
  • University of North Texas
  • University of North Texas at Dallas
  • UNT Dallas College of Law

Health Science Schools

  • The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center

Junior and Community Colleges

  • Collin County Community College District
  • Dallas County Community College
    • Brookhaven College
    • Cedar Valley College
    • Eastfield College
    • El Centro College
    • Mountain View College
    • North Lake College
    • Richland College
  • Grayson College
  • Hill College
  • Navarro College
  • North Central Texas College
  • Parker University
  • Tarrant County College
    • Connect Campus
    • Northeast Campus
    • Northwest Campus
    • South Campus
    • Southeast Campus
    • Trinity River Campus
  • Texas State Technical College-North Texas
  • Weatherford College

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Regional Economy

The Comptroller's office has analyzed data pertaining to the Metroplex Region, examining the region’s dynamics and competitiveness.

Sales Tax Revenue

Receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributed to the Metroplex Region trended upward in the past decade (trend lines depict trends in data, either upward, downward or flat, for an extended period of time). The region had a significant climb following the 2009 recession, and receipts from 2017 indicate that upward climb has accelerated (Exhibit 9).

For 2017, receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributed to businesses in the Metroplex Region approached $115 billion, contributing about 23.8 percent to the state’s overall sales tax revenue collections. The Fort Worth-Arlington MD directly accounted for $32.5 billion of this total, and the Dallas-Plano-Irving MD directly accounted for $74.5 billion.

A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors within the region. The retail trade and the food services and accommodation sectors contribute most to taxable sales, with the two combining for more than 67 percent of the region’s state sales tax contributions. Three other industries of note are the wholesale trade, construction and manufacturing sectors, combining for 19 percent of the region’s reported sales tax contributions.

Exhibit 9: Revenue Subject to Sales Tax, 2007 to 2017
Year Metroplex Region
2007 $87,663,528,441
2008 $91,374,649,634
2009 $81,458,979,930
2010 $82,029,529,433
2011 $88,452,775,588
2012 $94,361,060,508
2013 $98,400,588,022
2014 $105,006,058,208
2015 $106,525,098,761
2016 $109,536,444,883
2017 $114,957,533,055

Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.

Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

U.S. Military Installation Impact

Texas has 13 U.S. military installations within its borders. In 2017, these bases directly employed more than 224,000 and supported nearly 625,000 jobs. The U.S. military installations in Texas contributed about $62.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The U.S. military installations within the Metroplex Region have a positive impact on the Texas economy (Exhibit 10), supporting an estimated 26,000 jobs and contributing about $2.4 billion to the state’s GDP.

Exhibit 10: Estimated U.S. Military Impact on the Metroplex Region, 2017
Region Total Jobs Supported U.S. Military Contribution to State GDP
State of Texas 624,690 $62.3 billion
Metroplex Region 26,206 $2.4 billion

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, TMPC, REMI

Metroplex Region vs. the U.S.

Based on data from the World Bank and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, if Texas were a nation, it would rank as the world’s 10th largest economy in terms of GDP. Exhibit 11 shows how the region rates when compared with other states and the nation on a number of demographic and economic measures. The Metroplex Region would be the 42nd largest state in terms of land mass (square miles) and have the 13th largest population. The region would also have the 17th highest per capita income and would have the 13th highest percent of population with bachelor’s degrees.

Exhibit 11: Metroplex Region Compared to the U.S.
Measure Metroplex Region Rank if Region
was a State
Texas State Rank U.S.
Population 7,724,383 13 28,304,596 2 325,719,178
Age 25+ with at least a High School Diploma 84.5% 47 82.4% 49 87.0%
Age 25+ with Bachelor's Degree or Higher 32.5% 13 28.1% 29 30.3%
Population Under 18 Years 26.1% 2 26.0% 2 22.6%
Population 65 Years and Over 11.3% 49 12.3% 48 15.7%
Age Dependency Ratio* 59.9% 11 62.1% 20 61.9%
Per Capita Income $50,558 17 $46,204 25 $49,204
Unemployment Rate 3.6% 16 4.3% 26 4.4%

* The age dependency ratio is the share of dependent-age persons compared to the working-age population minus the sum of those under 18 years and 65 and older divided by the population age 18 to 64. In other words, for every 100 working-age people in Texas there are about 62 dependent-age people.

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis


The Metroplex Region is a microcosm of the state; it is both urban and rural, with a vibrant and diverse economy. Tarrant County, with the city of Fort Worth at its center, and Dallas County, with the city of Dallas at its heart, are the economic cores of the region.

As this report notes, the Metroplex Region and its 19 counties have many economic variables and challenges that are unique. The region has similar racial diversity as Texas and contains 27 percent of the state’s population in which all counties are experiencing population growth. If this region were a state, it would be the 13th most populated (similar in size to Washington State). The region’s high school graduation rate mirrors the state’s rates, and there are many options for higher educational achievement, with 19 universities and two health science schools located within the Metroplex Region.

The local economy is strong and accounts for about 24 percent of the state’s overall sales tax revenue collections. The region added more than 550,000 jobs between 2007 and 2017 and had job growth at a higher rate than the state. However, the concentration of high-paying, high-growth industries (including air transportation, money and banking and technology) makes the region’s economy distinctive.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding the material on this page, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Analysis and Transparency Division.

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