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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

economy

The Metroplex Region2020 Regional Report

This analysis predates the COVID-19 crisis and the economic impacts that followed. It is offered as an overview of the Metroplex regional economy and a resource for comparative purposes.

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

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

Population

The Metroplex region had an estimated total population of about 8 million in 2019, or about 27.5 percent of the state’s total population. This marked an increase of about 18.5 percent (more than 1.2 million people) since the 2010 Census. Dallas and Tarrant counties, respectively, contained an estimated 33 percent and 26.3 percent of the region’s population. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA accounted for 94.9 percent of the region’s population and 26.1 percent of the state’s population.

From 2010 to 2019, the region’s population grew faster than that of the state as a whole (Exhibit 1), and while the population of each county in the region rose during this period, Collin, Denton, Kaufman and Rockwall counties outpaced all others, each growing by more than 30 percent — twice as fast as the state’s population.

Exhibit 1
Metroplex Region Population by County, 2010 and 2019
County 2010 Census Estimate
(as of July 2019)
Change 2010 to 2019 Percent Change
Collin 782,341 1,034,730 252,389 32.3%
Cooke 38,437 41,257 2,820 7.3%
Dallas 2,368,139 2,635,516 267,377 11.3%
Denton 662,614 887,207 224,593 33.9%
Ellis 149,610 184,826 35,216 23.5%
Erath 37,890 42,698 4,808 12.7%
Fannin 33,915 35,514 1,599 4.7%
Grayson 120,877 136,212 15,335 12.7%
Hood 51,182 61,643 10,461 20.4%
Hunt 86,129 98,594 12,465 14.5%
Johnson 150,934 175,817 24,883 16.5%
Kaufman 103,350 136,154 32,804 31.7%
Navarro 47,735 50,113 2,378 5.0%
Palo Pinto 28,111 29,189 1,078 3.8%
Parker 116,927 142,878 25,951 22.2%
Rockwall 78,337 104,915 26,578 33.9%
Somervell 8,490 9,128 638 7.5%
Tarrant 1,809,034 2,102,515 293,481 16.2%
Wise 59,127 69,984 10,857 18.4%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA 6,426,214 7,573,136 1,206,594 19.0%
City of Dallas 1,197,816 1,343,573 145,757 12.2%
City of Fort Worth 741,206 909,585 168,379 22.7%
Metroplex Region Total 6,733,179 7,978,890 1,245,711 18.5%
Texas Total 25,145,561 28,995,881 3,850,320 15.3%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Population Composition

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey, the Metroplex region’s median age was on par with that of the state. While 13 of the region’s 19 counties had a median age significantly higher than the state’s median age of 34.2 years in 2018, the region’s most populous counties were on par with the state, and Erath County’s population was one of Texas’ youngest, at a median of 30.2 years. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA had a median age on par with that of the state.

Nearly 28 percent of the Metroplex region’s total population was Hispanic in 2018 — more than 11 percentage points lower than the state’s total Hispanic share of 38.6 percent (Exhibit 2).

Household Income

The Metroplex region’s median household income was $67,546 in 2018. Texas’ household income is generally distributed among five income levels (Exhibit 3). Of more than 9 million Texas households, 21 percent had incomes of less than $25,000 in 2018, while 17 percent had incomes greater than $125,000. In every region in the state, nearly 18 percent of households had average incomes between $50,000 and $75,000. In the Metroplex region, about 39.5 percent of the region’s households had incomes of less than $50,000, versus about 44 percent for the state.

Exhibit 2
Metroplex Region Population by Race and Ethnicity, 2018
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

Exhibit 3
Metroplex Region and Texas Household Income Percentile, 2018
Income Level Metroplex Region State Total
less than $25,000 17.5% 21.1%
$25,000 to $50,000 22.0% 23.0%
$50,000 to $75,000 18.2% 17.9%
$75,000 to $125,000 22.0% 20.6%
more than $125,000 20.3% 17.4%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Regional Industries

In 2019, the Metroplex region accounted for nearly 30 percent of the state’s total employment, making it the largest employment base in the state. Exhibit 4 lists the industries with the greatest regional employment concentrations compared to the national average, as measured by location quotient (LQ). LQ represents an industry’s proportionate concentration in the region; an LQ greater than 1.0 means that industry employment is more concentrated in the region than nationally. A high LQ can identify industries that have a competitive advantage in the region, such as the ability to produce products more efficiently and of a higher quality.

Based on location quotients, the Metroplex region is a leader in air transportation, oil and gas extraction and banking.

Exhibit 4
Top 10 Metroplex Region Industries, 2019
Industry LQ Number Employed Average Annual Wages
Air Transportation 3.06 39,308 $142,886
Oil and Gas Extraction 2.76 10,207 $205,730
Monetary Authorities- Central Bank 2.14 1,086 $108,973
Telecommunications 1.94 35,413 115,601
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 1.68 113,480 $95,390
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions 1.67 10,526 $30,859
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing 1.64 44,927 $141,422
Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services 1.56 13,787 $116,614
Lessors of Nonfinancial Intangible Assets (except Copyrighted Works) 1.47 864 $194,531
Support Activities for Transportation 1.46 30,307 $68,566
Total - All Industries 0.99 3,725,387 $63,128

Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
Source: JobsEQ


U.S. Military Installation Impact

Texas has 14 U.S. military installations within its borders. In 2019, these bases directly employed more than 226,000 and supported nearly 634,000 jobs in all. They also contributed an estimated $75.3 billion annually to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, they only installation within the Metroplex region, supported an estimated 20,000 jobs and contributed about $2.3 billion to the state’s GDP in 2019 (Exhibit 5).

Exhibit 5
U.S. Military Impact on the Metroplex Region
Estimated 2019
Region Total Jobs Supported Contribution to State GDP
Metroplex 20,042 $2.3 billion
State of Texas 633,892 $75.3 billion

Sources: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, Texas Military Preparedness Commission and REMI

Learn more about the impact of U.S. military installations on the state’s economy.


Jobs and Wages

From 2009 to 2019, Metroplex regional employment rose by more than 25 percent or more than 746,000 jobs (Exhibit 6), higher growth than in the state. Employment in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA increased by nearly 26 percent and contributed most of the region’s job growth.

Exhibit 6
Metroplex Region Employment Trends, 2019
Area Number of Jobs (2019) Actual Change (2009 to 2019) Percent Change (2009 to 2019)
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA 3,570,137 732,190 25.8%
Metroplex Region 3,705,805 746,115 25.2%
Texas 12,531,100 2,284,407 22.3%
United States 147,886,638 17,768,373 13.7%

Note: 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 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Significant Regional Occupations

The Metroplex region’s most significant occupations are shown in Exhibits 7 and 8, first by location quotient and second by numeric growth during the last five years.

Exhibit 7
Top Occupations in the Metroplex Region by Location Quotient,
2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Air Transportation Workers 18,779 $110,200 2.65 0.5% 4,977
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mechanics, Installers and Repairers 22,837 $49,000 1.48 2.5% 1,442
Sales Representatives, Services 76,050 $73,500 1.36 2.6% 18,566
Extraction Workers 7,707 $43,500 1.33 4.9% -3,402
Helpers, Construction Trades 8,003 $32,400 1.30 7.2% -157

Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.

Source: JobsEQ


Exhibit 8
Top Occupations in the Metroplex Region by Numeric Growth,
2014 to 2019
Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Wages LQ Unemployment Rate Five-Year Employment Change
Food and Beverage Serving Workers 203,231 $22,300 1.03 5.6% 32,971
Material Moving Workers 141,458 $32,600 1.10 5.9% 27,940
Computer Occupations 136,708 $93,800 1.20 1.9% 27,841
Business Operations Specialists 129,793 $76,000 0.95 2.6% 24,748
Construction Trades Workers 151,510 $39,900 1.05 5.2% 23,915

Note: Data are as of Q4 2019 except wage data, which are for covered employment in 2018.
Source: JobsEQ


Education

A strong educational foundation provides a cornerstone for growth and competitiveness in the global economy, offering opportunities for workplace advancement and business expansion.

Wages by Educational Attainment

Post-secondary education delivers a good return on investments of time and tuition. In the Metroplex region, workers with some college or associate degrees and with stable jobs — defined as those employed with the same firm throughout a calendar quarter — earned an average of $5,338 more annually in 2018 than those with high school degrees, while those with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $24,350 more (Exhibit 9).

Exhibit 9
Average Annual Earnings by Educational Attainment, Metroplex Region and Texas, 2018
Educational Attainment Number Employed, Region Percent of Region Average Annual Earnings, Region Number Employed, Texas Percent of Texas Average Annual Earnings, Texas
Less than High School 538,481 15.0% $41,304 2,065,483 17.1% $42,808
High School or Equivalent, No College 790,302 22.1% $47,257 2,765,759 22.9% $52,035
Some College or Associate Degree 967,689 27.0% $52,595 3,245,675 26.9% $60,428
Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree 835,104 23.3% $71,607 2,454,975 20.3% $95,716
Educational Attainment Unavailable 450,929 12.6% $21,399 1,544,282 12.8% $22,087
Total 3,582,505 $50,105 12,076,174 $58,787

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau and JobsEQ


The Metroplex region’s high school graduation rate has regularly mirrored the state’s rate. During the 2017-18 school year, 89.6 percent of the region’s public high school senior students graduated, on par with the state’s rate of 90 percent (Exhibit 10).

Exhibit 10
Metroplex Region Public High School Graduation Rates, 2009-10 to 2017-18 School Year
Region2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Metroplex 85.0% 85.9% 87.7% 87.8% 88.2% 88.6% 88.8% 89.5% 89.6%
Texas 84.3% 85.9% 87.7% 88.0% 88.3% 89.0% 89.1% 89.7% 90.0%

Source: Texas Education Agency


Many high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs, which offer greater job prospects and the possibility of higher wages. Residents of the Metroplex region enjoy the state’s largest variety of options for higher educational achievement (Exhibit 11).

Exhibit 11 Metroplex Region Institutions of Higher Education

Universities

  • 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
  • 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


The Metroplex region’s eight community college districts provided technical and academic coursework for about 190,000 students in the 2017-18 school year (Exhibit 12).

Exhibit 12
Metroplex Region Community College Overview, 2017-18 School Year
Community College District Enrollment Awards Average Tuition and Fees Academic Share of Students Enrolled Technical Share of Students Enrolled Enrolled or Employed, Academic* Enrolled or Employed, Technical*
Collin County Community College District 32,846 3,488 $1,520 64.1% 35.9% 93.8% 91.5%
Dallas County Community College District 72,918 11,571 $1,770 72.0% 28.0% 92.5% 86.2%
Grayson College 4,284 901 $3,114 63.7% 36.3% 86.8% 90.9%
Navarro College 8,463 1,545 $2,430 81.0% 19.0% 87.8% 89.5%
North Central Texas College 10,171 1,106 $2,730 72.9% 27.1% 90.8% 89.5%
Tarrant County College District 48,252 6,419 $1,770 80.5% 19.5% 92.4% 91.9%
Trinity Valley Community College 6,562 1,908 $2,640 62.0% 38.0% 90.4% 91.2%
Weatherford College 6,284 995 2,590 80.2 19.8 84.7 88.8

*The percentage of academic or technical graduates employed in the fourth quarter of the calendar year after graduation and/or enrolled in a Texas two- or four-year institution in the following fall after graduation, as specified.

Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board


In that year, community colleges in the Metroplex region awarded more than 14,000 certificates and associate degrees in general studies and liberal arts; the next most-common awards were for health professions, business administration and marketing (Exhibit 13).

Exhibit 13
Top 10 Certificates and Degree Awards in the Metroplex Region’s Community Colleges, 2017-18 School Year
Certificates and Degrees Number Awarded
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities 14,150
Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences 7,290
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services 3,852
Personal and Culinary Services 2,990
Mechanic and Repair Technologies/Technicians 2,489
Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services 1,548
Security and Protective Services 1,119
Engineering Technologies/Technicians 1,010
Skilled Precision Production of Leather, Metal or Wood Products 679
Education 545

Source: JobsEQ


Regional Economy

The relative health of the Metroplex region’s economy can be gauged by its sales tax revenue and by comparisons with other areas on education, population, per capita income and unemployment rate. Together, these data are good indicators of the region’s economic dynamics and competitiveness.

Sales Tax Revenue

Sales taxes are inherently volatile in the short term but when reviewed over time can provide a useful indication of the state’s economic condition.

Between 2007 and 2019, sales receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributed to the Metroplex region trended upward. The region’s taxable sales climbed significantly following the 2009 recession, and receipts from 2019 indicate that upward climb continued to accelerate (Exhibit 14). For 2019, receipts subject to state sales tax directly attributable to businesses in the Metroplex region exceeded $127 billion, contributing about 23 percent to the state’s overall taxable sales. The Fort Worth-Arlington MD directly accounted for $36.2 billion of this amount, while Dallas-Plano-Irving directly accounted for $86.7 billion.

Exhibit 14
Metroplex Region, Taxable Sales, 2007-2019
Year Revenue Metroplex Region
2007 87.7 billion dollars
2008 91.4 billion dollars
2009 81.5 billion dollars
2010 82.0 billion dollars
2011 88.5 billion dollars
2012 94.4 billion dollars
2013 98.4 billion dollars
2014 105.0 billion dollars
2015 106.5 billion dollars
2016 109.5 billion dollars
2017 115.0 billion dollars
2018 121.0 billion dollars
2019 127.2 billion dollars

Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts


In 1997, the U.S., Canada and Mexico jointly released the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), which classifies all business enterprises for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing economic statistics. A review of two-digit NAICS codes allows for a broad analysis of industry sectors.

In 2019, the Metroplex region’s retail trade and food services and accommodation sectors contributed most to taxable sales, together accounting for 53.5 percent of the region’s total taxable sales. Also of note were the wholesale trade, construction and manufacturing sectors, which contributed a combined 21 percent of the region’s reported taxable sales.

Metroplex Region vs. the U.S.

Exhibit 15 shows how the Metroplex region compares 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 area (sized between West Virginia and Maryland) and have the 13th largest population. The region would have had the 18th highest per capita income in 2018 and the 13th highest share of residents with bachelor’s degrees.

Exhibit 15
Metroplex Region Compared to the U.S.
Measure Metroplex Region Rank if Region
were a State
Texas State Rank U.S.
Square Miles 15,574 42 268,597 2 3,531,905
Population, 2019 7,978,8890 13 28,995,881 2 328,239,523
Population with at Least a High School Diploma, 2018 85.2% 47 83.2% 49 87.7%
Population with Bachelor’s Degree or Higher, 2018 33.7% 13 29.3% 28 31.5%
Population Under 18 Years, 2018 25.8% 2 25.8% 2 22.4%
Population 65 Years and Above, 2018 11.6% 50 12.6% 48 16.0%
Population Percent Change, 2010 to 2019 18.5% 1 15.3% 2 6.3%
Per Capita Income, 2018 $55,249 18 $50,355 26 $54,446
Unemployment Rate, 2019 3.3% 18 3.5% 27 3.7%

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


Metroplex Regional Summary

The Metroplex region is a microcosm of the state, both urban and rural, with a vibrant and diverse economy. Tarrant County, with the city of Fort Worth at its center, and Dallas County, anchored by Dallas, are the region’s twin economic cores.

The Metroplex region and its 19 counties have many unique economic conditions and challenges. If the region were a state, it would be the 13th most populous, similar in population to Washington state. The region’s high school graduation rate mirrors the state’s rate, and it offers many options for higher educational achievement, with 19 universities and two health science schools.

The regional economy is strong and accounts for about 23 percent of the state’s overall taxable sales. From 2009 to 2019, the region saw a higher rate of job growth than the state. The Metroplex region’s concentration of high-paying, high-growth industries (including air transportation, money and banking and technology) make its economy distinctive.


Questions?

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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