Booming population and job growth has boosted Fort Worth into the No. 13 spot in the list of largest cities in the United States.
Fort Worth leaped from the 15th largest city in 2017 to the 13th by adding 19,552 residents between July 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau data estimates released May 23.
The city’s population has grown from 741,206 as of April 1, 2010 to 895,008 to 895,000 as of July 1, 2018.
Fort Worth ranked third in numeric population increases among cities with at least 50,000 residents. Phoenix ranked first with population growth of 25,288 and San Antonio ranked second with the addition of 20,824 people.
Mayor Betsy Price and other community leaders credit on Fort Worth’s rise to targeted efforts at economic development, education, workforce training and health and wellness initiatives.
“Fort Worth’s rapid growth speaks to our incredible quality of life, business friendly climate and affordable cost of living,” Price said in a statement. “Of course, substantial growth presents both great opportunities as well as new challenges to strategically manage our growth without compromising what makes Fort Worth a unique place to live, work and play.”
Fort Worth’s population gains are in line with the national trend of fastest-growing cities in the Southern and Western parts of the U.S. Among the to 15 cities that experience the largest population growth, eight were in the South, six were in the West and one was in the Midwest.
Also, Texas has seven cities on the list of fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or above based on percent increases. New Braunfels ranked highest in Texas on that list with a 7.2 percent population increase. Frisco, McKinney, Georgetown, Rowlett, Midland, and Round Rock also ranked in the top 15 in percentage growth.
The Census Bureau announced in April that the Dallas-Fort Worth area gained the most new residents in 2018 than any other metro area in the country. With a population of more than 7.5 million, DFW added nearly 132,000 between 2017 and 2018.
Both The DFW and Houston metro areas each gained more than 1 million between 2010 and 2018. DFW ranked fourth and Houston ranked fifth as the most populated metro areas.
“The Dallas-Fort Worth region and the Texas brand continue to attract business and top talent to fuel our economy,” Bill Thornton, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “When people see that Fort Worth is larger than San Francisco, it should pique some curiosity about what’s going on here.”
Thornton also observed that Fort Worth’s jump to 13th largest city brings recognition of Fort Worth as a “formidable city in its own right,” a factor that will help draw more newcomers, visitors and business investment.
Curious to Texas State Demographer Lloyd Potter is why Dallas gained less than 2,000 new residents between 2017 and 2018 and Fort Worth grew by 19,552 people.
“Certainly, Fort Worth is poised for growth,” he said. Fort Worth is similar to San Antonio in that both cities have lagged in growth for a while but now have the advantages of more available land for new homes and businesses as well as better affordability than Dallas or Austin, he said.
“Because the Metroplex is continuing to add population, the growth has to go somewhere,” he said. “Cities like Plano, Frisco and McKinney grew so fast over the past five to six years that now they are slowing down because there is less available land and they can’t meet the demand.”
That’s why Rowlett, east of Dallas, turned up on the list of fastest-growing cities by percent for the first time this year, Potter said.
Laila Assanie, senior business economist for the Dallas Federal Reserve, said housing availability is a key driver of growth.
“Higher housing affordability compared with Dallas is one key factor in (Fort Worth’s) recent growth,” Assanie said. “We have seen single-family construction accelerate in Fort Worth as homebuilders are able to build entry level/starter homes because of relatively lower land costs.”
As for the DFW area as a whole, the growth has been the result of a “diversified industrial base, a central location in the U.S., and a younger and better educated workforce relative to the U.S. that has drawn firms and workers to the metro area.”