The story of North Texas has long been one of rapid population growth, but a recent report from a state agency has proven that is not the only story.
According to the Texas Demographic Center, Dallas County ranks last among the state's 254 counties in three categories that measure people moving into or out of an area: net internal migration, total net migration and total net migration and immigration.
- Net internal migration counts people who move from one Texas county to another. By that standard, Dallas County showed up in the negative at -27,155.
- Total net migration is a combination of the people who move into a county minus those who move out. That figure for Dallas County was -24,344 during the period studied.
- Total net migration and immigration accommodates for people who move into a county via a foreign country. The resulting figure in Dallas County was -6,352.
The study looked at population trends during a five-year period, from 2009 to 2013. During that time, of the 10 most populated counties in Texas, Dallas County is the only one that showed a net loss of population when accounting for migration and immigration.
According to the study, more than 4 million Texans change residence each year.
"Of these four million plus movers, 16 percent originated outside of the state — coming from other U.S. states or from abroad — and the remaining 84 percent originated within the state," the authors note. "Together, these streams of external and internal migrants represent an important source of demographic change in Texas."
State Demographer Lloyd Potter noted that even though Dallas County is losing people due to migration, those people are not moving far. The top three destinations for people moving out of the county are, in order, Denton County, Tarrant County and Collin County, according to the study.
"When people are leaving a place they have either lost opportunity, or they see better opportunity elsewhere," Potter said, indicating that the story in Dallas County is more likely one of the latter than the former.
Potter indicated the out migration could be a reflection of rising real estate prices near the urban core, forcing people to move farther out to find an affordable home.