Population explosion

Booming Dallas-Fort Worth leads U.S. in metro population growth from 2020-2021

Booming DFW leads U.S. in metro population growth from 2020-2021

Dallas traffic, I75, Central Expressway, highway
The pain is real. Getty Images

Dallas-Fort Worth racked up the largest population gain of any U.S. metro area from July 2020 to July 2021, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Taking into account births, deaths, move-ins, and move-outs, DFW’s population grew by 97,290 during the one-year period, the Census Bureau says. By comparison, that's almost the entire population of Allen, which is home to about 105,000 people.

Among all U.S. metro areas, DFW notched the third-highest number of new residents (54,319) attributed to domestic migration, or people moving from other U.S. metro areas. Domestic migration is a major factor in calculating population gains and losses.

The bureau estimates DFW’s population stood at 7,759,615 as of July 1, 2021. The region’s headcount increased 1.3 percent during the one-year period.

Three other major Texas metro areas appear in the national top 10 for numeric population growth (rather than percentage growth) from July 2020 to July 2021, according to the Census Bureau. They are:

  • Houston metro area, ranked third with 69,094 additional residents. Estimated July 1, 2021, population: 7,206,841. One-year growth rate: 1 percent.
  • Austin metro area, ranked fourth with 53,301 additional residents. Estimated July 1, 2021, population: 2,352,426. One-year growth rate: 2.3 percent.
  • San Antonio metro area, ranked eighth with 35,105 additional residents. Estimated July 1, 2021, population: 2,601,788. One-year growth rate: 1.4 percent.

Growth in counties
No Texas counties rank in the top 10 for percentage growth in population from July 2020 to July 2021.

Collin and Denton counties are responsible for much of DFW’s population growth during the one-year period, the Census Bureau estimates show.

Collin County’s population rose by 36,313 from July 2020 to July 2021, putting it at No. 2 among counties picking up the most new residents. Maricopa County, Arizona, anchored by Phoenix, ranked first with an additional 58,246 residents.

Collin County ranks third nationally for the number of new residents (30,191) attributed to domestic migration during the one-year period.

Denton County gained 27,747 residents from July 2020 to July 2021. That earns Denton County a sixth-place showing among U.S. counties with the biggest numeric growth in population.

Dallas County actually lost population (24,907 residents) during the one-year period.

The Kinder Institute at Houston’s Rice University noted in 2021 that Collin and Denton counties represent the “epicenter” of the population boom in North Texas.

“Suburban communities outside the region’s two core cities accounted for roughly three-quarters of the metro’s population growth over the past decade. Collin and Denton counties have a combined population of 2 million, larger than all but four U.S. cities,” the Kinder Institute says. “Together, the population of the five largest suburban cities in these counties — Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Denton, and Allen — roughly doubled from 2000 to 2019 and now exceeds the population of San Francisco.”

Other Texas counties in the national top 10 for numeric growth during the one-year period are:

  • Fort Bend County (Houston), No. 4, with 29,895 additional residents.
  • Williamson County (Austin), No. 5, with 27,760 additional residents.
  • Montgomery County (Houston), No. 8, with 23,948 additional residents.