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.
|County||2010 Census||Estimate (as of July 2017)||Percent Change|
|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%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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).
|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
|Race and Ethnicity||Metroplex Region||State Total|
|Black (not Hispanic)||14.6%||11.6%|
|White (not Hispanic)||49.4%||43.4%|
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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).
|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%|
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.
|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%|
* 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
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.
|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%|
|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%|
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.
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).
Source: Texas Education Agency
Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
The Comptroller's office has analyzed data pertaining to the Metroplex Region, examining the region’s dynamics and competitiveness.
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.
Note: Numbers shown are for reported revenue subject to sales tax and directly attributed to the region.
Source: Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
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.
|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
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.
|Measure||Metroplex Region||Rank if Region
was a State
|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|
* 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.
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