DFW’s forecast population growth – how will it impact our “built” environment?

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By JLL Dallas, August 10, 2018

Growth is in our DNA! Expanding from 2.4 million in 1970, DFW’s population now totals 7.3 million. That is compound annual growth of 2.4 percent over the last 47 years – even after accounting for economic downturns!

The North Texas Council of Governments sees that trend continuing, with population breaking 11 million by 2045. While this may seem an aspirational goal, it is quite realistic, reflecting annual growth of 1.6 percent from 2017 to 2045.

This growth will change our built environment dramatically. In the industrial and office sectors alone, we will need to increase our current stock by roughly 50 percent to meet the new demand.

Using common rules of thumb, we will need to add 325 million square feet of industrial space to the region’s current inventory, which now totals 600 million square feet. Likewise, this new demand will drive the need for 125 million square feet of office space – even after accounting for potential future “efficiencies.” The region’s new residents will also need another 900,000 single family homes and 650,000 apartments in which to live.

While development will continue to advance into the suburbs and create new enclaves, as it always has, in-fill / re-development will become important strategies to take advantage of existing roads, utilities, transit, and the like.

We will also increasingly accept new development at much higher densities and in a more urban context in key locations as our community matures and we work to shape and guide our growth.

What about in the shorter term, where will most population growth be occurring?

From 2018-2023, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is projected to grow from approximately 7.5 million to nearly 8.3 million residents, adding an additional 730,000 residents, based on ESRI projections.

87% of that growth (630,000+ people) will happen in the “core four” counties at the center of the Metroplex: Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant.

While the Fort Worth-Arlington side is expected to grow by 202,358, over 80% of Fort Worth’s growth will be in Tarrant County, home of Fort Worth proper.

Of the growth on the Dallas side, Dallas County will only account for 27% of the growth on the Dallas side. The majority of the Dallas area’s growth will be in suburban Collin and Denton counties.