Affluent African-Americans Flock to DeSoto

When most people think of growing affluent communities in North Texas, Frisco, Flower Mound and Southlake come to mind; DeSoto should also come to mind.

The southern Dallas County community has grown from 15,000 residents in the 1980's to more than 50,000 people who now call the city home.  

Taj Clayton is a partner in the law firm Fish and Richardson and his wife Tonika is a vice president at an education technology company. With their pick of places to raise their two daughters and son, they chose DeSoto.

"DeSoto, for our perspective, was the best place to live, " Taj Clayton said. "It was just a hidden gem that a lot of people didn't know about. There are beautiful hills, undulating landscapes, incredible parks. I feel fortunate to live on a golf course."

"We are actually three minutes from my kids school," Tonika Clayton said. "We got some of our friends to move here from Plano."

The couple said there was another attraction. Like the Claytons, most of DeSoto's new residents are middle class and affluent blacks.

"It's a really nice bedroom community where you see a lot of successful people who live here and, demographically, there are a lot of African-Americans."

That's something very familiar to DeSoto Mayor Carl Sherman.

"Since 2000-2010, there's been a large migration of African-Americans to North Texas," Sherman said. "In fact we're the leading [community] second only to Atlanta for the migration from north to south. And many of those have chosen to live in the city of DeSoto because of the caliber of the citizens that we have here."

According to the U.S. Census, 68 percent of people in DeSoto are black or African-American compared with 25 percent in Dallas and 18.9 percent in Fort Worth.

In 2013, the median household income in DeSoto is $60,945. The statewide average is $51,900. The average in Dallas is $42,846. Only nine percent of DeSoto residents live below the poverty line.

Despite the positives, Sherman believes some real estate agents steer potential white residents away from DeSoto.

"They were shown some of our nice, pristine communities, well-manicured yards and the realtor would say, 'Are you sure you want to live here?'" Sherman said. "Whereas, conversely, African-Americans and Hispanic families would be told all the wonderful things about DeSoto. So you can understand if you have that kind of steering that's going on in a marketplace not everyone is not going to be influenced by that."

Feleceia Benton grew up in DeSoto. She attended Texas Christian University but later returned to raise her daughter and started a marketing company.

"I love DeSoto and I'm a DeSotoian at heart," Benton boasted. "It's also incredibly beautiful to see so many educated African-Americans coming back to the contribute to the community as a whole."

According to the U.S. Census, 55.3 percent of businesses in DeSoto are owned by black or African-American people.

Tochi Osuji moved her business, My Choice Spa and Wellness Lounge, to DeSoto a year ago. It's located next door to her husband's medical practice.

"This area, we did the research and there wasn't anything like this in the south area," Osuji said. "When they wanted a quality spa, they [customers] would go to the north. I thought we can bring that here."

There was also a bigger picture, Osuji and others said.

"I wanted a little, young, black girl that wanted to go to a spa to see one in their neighborhood, and know that it's possible," Osuji said.

The Claytons concur. Their children attend the same private school that produced Rhodes Scholar Tina Yancy.

"I think it's amazing for our kids to be able to grow up and see role models and people that are doing well that look like them," Tonika Clayton said.

"To actually see professionals who look like them, so they have sort of role models to model themselves after, you know, doctors, lawyers, entrepreuners, business leaders," Taj Clayton said. "That's really good for them to see bright and early."

Editor's Note: the video misidentified the Rhodes Scholar as Tina Yancy. Her first name is actually Nina. We regret the error.

Contact Us