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Fort Worth

InMarket: Let’s look at the numbers

🕐 4 min read

Robert Francis

To the surprise of almost no one who has passed within 100 miles of the city, Fort Worth is the fastest-growing big city in America since 2000. That, according to data released on Dec. 4 by the U.S. Census Bureau. The new data is from the 2013 five-year American Community Survey. It shows Fort Worth grew its population by 42.3 percent, from 534,694 to 761,092. We squeaked by Charlotte, which ranks No. 2 on the list of fast-growing large cities. Austin, a Texas city with worse transportation problems than ours, was No. 3 on the list. It grew 27.4 percent with a population of 836,800 up from 656,562. Austin probably would have done better, but some of the people moving there are still stuck in traffic and haven’t been counted yet.

The U.S. Census Bureau is full of fascinating data. Here’s some info from their latest report on the youth of America. • The youth of today, often called the millennial generation, are more likely to be foreign born and speak a language other than English at home, compared with young adults in 1980 when young adults were communicating in a language called Valley Girl. • Among people at least five years old living in Fort Worth from 2009-2013, 33 percent spoke a language other than English at home. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, 84 percent spoke Spanish. • Nationwide, one in four young adults, or 17.9 million, speaks a language other than English at home. That proportion is even higher in New York, New Jersey, Texas, New Mexico and Nevada (where it is about one in three) but is highest in California (about one in two). • The 73 million young adults currently 18 to 34 years old comprise the largest such population in the last three decades. But their share of the population is actually smaller today than in 1980, when the young adult population included the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964. Baby boomers still win. In 1980, 30 percent of the population was age 18 to 34, compared with 23 percent today.

• The percentage of young adults today who are foreign born has more than doubled since 1980 (15 percent versus 6 percent). • All states have higher proportions of foreign-born young adults than 30 years ago. The increase was larger in the West and Northeast, where 21 percent and 18 percent, respectively, are now foreign born, compared with 12 percent and 8 percent 30 years ago. • Only 9 percent of young adults in the Midwest and 14 percent in the South are foreign born, up from 3 and 4 percent, respectively, in 1980. • More millennials are living in poverty today, and they have lower rates of employment, compared with their counterparts in 1980. • One in five young adults lives in poverty (13.5 million people), up from one in seven (8.4 million people) in 1980. • Today, 65 percent of young adults are employed, down from 69 percent in 1980 when we all worked in food courts at malls. • In Fort Worth from 2009-2013, 62 percent of the population 16 and over were employed; 32 percent were not in the labor force. An estimated 82 percent of those employed were private wage and salary workers; 12 percent were federal, state or local government workers; and 5 percent were self-employed in their own (not incorporated) business. • The median income of households in Fort Worth was $51,315. An estimated 13 percent of households had income below $15,000 a year and 7 percent had income over $150,000 or more.

• In Fort Worth, 41 percent of all households had one or more people under the age of 18; 18 percent of all households had one or more person 65 years of age or over. • And there’s good news – well sort of. Millennials are more educated than young adults in 1980: 22 percent have a college degree, up from 16 percent in 1980. States with the largest share of young college graduates are in the Northeast, including Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. • Unlike in prior generations, the majority of millennials have never been married, reflecting continued delays in getting married: Only about three in 10 young adults have ever been married, down from six in 10 in 1980. Some things have not changed and that includes America’s love/hate affair with the automobile. • Young adults continue to rely on a car to get to work: about eight in 10 drive to work, which is largely unchanged compared with 1980. Alabama, following in the tradition of the Dukes of Hazzard, has the highest share (95 percent); New York has the lowest (53 percent).  

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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