Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth can seem like a daunting prospect, especially if you are new to Texas. Everything really IS bigger and better in Texas, including the list of reasons to live here — a rich history, a diverse community, amazing culture, fantastic career opportunities, beautiful weather, and perhaps best of all, the ability to live in a small town and still experience everything that a world-class metropolis has to offer.
(Although for some, the best part is not having to pay income tax in the State of Texas.)
To make things easier, we have put together this Guide to Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth
Dallas-Fort Worth By the Numbers
Here are a few statistics about the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex:
- Population: 7,573,136 (1 in Texas, #4 in the U.S.)
- Economy: The 2020 GDP was $620.6 billion, the 20th-largest economy in the world.
- Number of Fortune 500 companies: 22, the 4th-highest concentration in the U.S.
- Unemployment Rate: 6.0 versus 6.1 U.S. (as of May 2021)
- Median Household Income: $72,265 versus $65,712 U.S.
- Median Home Sale Price: $351,750, up 11.8% over 2020 (as of June 2021)
Why Should You Move to Dallas-Fort Worth?
Several of the cities in and around Dallas are consistently included in many annual “Best of” lists:
- #1 Fastest-Growing U.S. Metro (2020)
- #1 Job Market (August 2021)
- #1 Best State Fair
- #1 Restaurant City (2019)
- #2 City for Tech Jobs (2020)
- #2 Metro in the Fortune 500 (2020)
- #2 Metro for New Home Construction (2021)
- #3 Best Metro to Work in Tech (2021)
- #3 Hardest-Working City
- #4 Most Diverse City (April 2021)
- #5 Hottest Housing Market in Texas (2021)
- #8 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #17 Best Places to Retire (2020-2021)
- #1 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #1 Best Zoo (2020)
- #2 Fastest-Growing Major U.S. City (2021)
- #2 City for Drivers
- #15 Best Travel Destinations (2021)
- #25 Most Diverse City (April 2021)
- #1 Best-Run City in Texas (2019)
- #6 Best NFL Stadium (2020)
- #8 Most Diverse City (April 2021)
- #9 Hardest-Working City
- #16 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #1 Hottest Housing Market in Texas (2021)
- #2 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #2 Hardest-Working City
- #3 Safest City (2019)
- #3 Best City for Healthcare (2020)
- #7 Best City to Live In (2021)
- #8 City with the Best Public Schools (2021)
- #8 Best City to Raise a Family (2021)
- #10 City in America for Finding a Job (January 2021)
- #3 Best City for Living the American Dream
- #4 Best City to Buy an Affordable Family Home (2021)
- #6 Hardest-Working City
- #10 Most Diverse Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- –#17 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #3 Hottest Housing Market in Texas (2021)
- #6 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #7 Best City for Budget-Friendly Dating (2021)
- #8 Hardest-Working City
- #-2 Safest City in America (2019)
- #4 Hottest Housing Market in Texas (2021)
- #4 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #6 City with the Fastest-Growing Economy (2020)
- #7 Best Public Schools in Texas
- #3 Safest City in America (2019)
- #6 Fastest-Growing City (2019)
- #9 Best Place for First-time Home Buyers (2019)
- #11 Best Place to Live in Texas (2021)
- #11 City with the Fastest-Growing Economy (2020)
What Are the Neighborhoods Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington?
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is a huge metropolitan area that sprawls across nearly 9300 square miles. There are literally hundreds of individual residential neighborhoods, each with its own unique history, culture, and amenities.
To make things much simpler, here are the major neighborhoods in the two biggest cities, Dallas and Fort Worth, and links to their respective neighborhood or homeowner’s associations. We present these with one important caveat — NOTHING beats seeing these neighborhoods for yourself. After you have narrowed down your choices as to where to buy or build a home in DFW, take some time to explore your options in person.
NOTE: Homes without homeowner or neighborhood associations are not listed.
Far North Dallas
Oak Cliff Area
Fair Park / Old South Dallas
Old East Dallas
Neighborhoods in Major Suburbs
If you are considering buying or building a home in a DFW suburb, here are links to the names of the neighborhoods in the largest local cities, as listed by Neighborhoods.com:
How Is the Job Market in Dallas-Fort Worth?
When it comes to the job market in DFW, the news is very encouraging.
As of July 2021, the unemployment rate in DFW is barely above that of the United States as a whole and significantly lower than that of the State of Texas.
Here’s where DFW cities are today, compared to a year ago:
- Dallas: 5.4% (July 2021) versus 8.4% (August 2020)
- Fort Worth: 6.7% versus 7.9%
- Arlington: 6.6% versus 7.7%
- Irving: 6.0% versus 7.9%
- Plano: 5.0% versus 6.3%
- Garland: 5.9% versus 7.3%
- Frisco: 4.3% versus 5.5%
- Grand Prairie: 6.6% versus 8.1
- Denton: 5.5 versus 6.3
To put those numbers in comparison, the current unemployment rate in the United States is 5.4%, while that of Texas is 6.2%.
What are the Top Industries in DFW?
According to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, which supports economic development for all of North Texas, DFW has a very diverse industrial structure, meaning employment is distributed among several sectors, rather than disproportionately concentrated on a few types of industries.
In fact, the DRC notes that DFW has the third-most diverse industry among all U.S. metros.
The key DFW industry super sectors are:
- Advanced Services — Corporate headquarters, management control, corporate support services, financial services, consulting, insurers, legal services, etc.
Nearly two dozen Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters in the Dallas area, including 3 in the top 10.
Over 52,000 advanced services establishments provide approximately 700,000 local jobs.
- Aviation and Aerospace — Two major airlines are headquartered locally — American Airlines in Fort Worth and Southwest Airlines in Dallas. There are over 600 aerospace companies in DFW, providing more than 90,000 jobs.
- Financial Activities — DFW is one of the major financial hubs in the country. There are over 12,000 local establishments dealing with finance, investing, credit, or insurance, providing more than 250,000 jobs.
- Food — DFW has been a food hub for more than 100 years, and major companies such as Frito-Lay, Borden, Jamba Juice, Sysco, Anaheuser-Busch, and many others has established headquarters or significant operations locally.
In total, 15,000 establishments provide approximately 370,000 jobs.
- Health Care — Dallas is home to national-rated institutions such as Baylor Medical Center, University of Texas Medical Center, and the burn unit at Parkland Hospital, as well as numerous other premier hospitals, health care facilities, research programs, and medical equipment manufacturers.
Over one million people are employed in medicine or related health care fields in DFW.
- High Tech — DFW has the sixth-highest concentration of high-tech jobs in the United States, and is a growing center for such emerging technologies as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, next-generation wireless broadband, bioscience, and medical technology.
There are approximately 330,000 people employed in high-tech jobs in DFW.
- Hospitality — DFW is the most-visited metro in the State of Texas and is a major hub for sporting events, concerts, conventions, and entertainment, as well as the home of the Texas State Fair.
Year-over-year, the leisure and hospitality super sector in DFW saw an employment increase of over 80%.
- Life Sciences — This industry is dominated locally by medical device manufacturing, optical technology, and pharmaceuticals. Core strengths of the DFW life sciences industry includes research involving cancer, neurology, the brain, and dental health.
More than 1200 local establishments provide over 27,000 life science jobs in DFW.
- Logistics — Thanks to its central location, DFW offers outstanding shipping and distribution services with easy access to rail, air, and trucking. The Alliance Global Logistic Hub is the premier inland port in the country.
The DFW logistics industry provides more than 300,000 local jobs.
- Manufacturing — DFW has more manufacturing activity than any other metropolitan area in the state. Local plants include Texas Instruments, Lockheed Martin, General Motors, Mary Kay, Louis Vuitton, and many others.
The nearly 7000 manufacturing establishments provide over 287,000 manufacturing jobs in DFW.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in Dallas?
Let’s compare regular expenses in Dallas, specifically to New York City and San Francisco, two cities that send thousands of people to Dallas every year.
Median household income for San Francisco is $96 265, for New York City $107,400, and for Dallas $85,982.
Overall 45% lower
Housing: 66% lower
Transportation: 30% lower
Food: 21% lower
Entertainment: 20% lower
Healthcare: 15% lower
Overall 565% lower
Housing: 78% lower
Transportation: 23% lower
Food: 29% lower
Entertainment: 20% lower
Healthcare: 2% lower
Dallas’ highest sales tax is 8.25%, and in some areas, is just 6.25% compared to 8.875% in New York City and 8.5% in San Francisco.
Texas has NO state income tax, while the average in California is 7.75% — the highest in the nation. At 5.99% New York’s average is 8th-highest.
The tax climate inTexas is very attractive to businesses because there is no corporate tax. California, on the other hand, charges 8.84%, while New York State charges 7.1%.
Conversely, Texas has the highest property tax among the three — 1.81%, compared to just .74% in California and 1.35% in the State of New York.
Due primarily to special state excise taxes, a gallon of gas is only $2.83 in Texas, compared to $4.40 in California and $3.22 in New York State, while a pack of cigarettes can be as high as $6.37, $8.31, and $12.85, respectively.
Is Dallas-Fort Worth Good for Families?
Families who are new to the area will find a lot to like about Dallas-Fort Worth, especially if they choose the right neighborhood to buy or build a house.
- Highly-ranked schools
- Colleges — There are 48 colleges and universities in the DFW area, giving it the highest concentration of any Texas metro.
- Religion — Among all U.S. metros, Dallas has the highest percentage of Christians.
- Parks — There are more than 1000 public parks in DFW. In fact, Dallas has the second-most greenspace per person among major U.S. cities.
- Culture — Dallas is ranked #19 among the “most-cultured cities” in America, with 35 museums and 248 recreational/cultural attractions.
- Cuisine — In 2019, Dallas was named the “Top Restaurant City” in the U.S.
- Sports — Home to six major league pro teams and multiple championships, Dallas is a past recipient of the Sporting News “Top Sports City” award.
Top DFW Attractions
Dallas-Fort Worth is home to world-class attractions suitable for every interest, including:
- Dallas Zoo — The oldest and largest zoo in Texas.
- Fort Worth Zoo — Ranked as the #1 Zoo in America.
- Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden — Hundreds of plant species and activities spread throughout 66 acres.
- Sixth Story Museum at Dealey Plaza — Exhibits exploring the Kennedy assassination.
- Fort Worth Stockyards — Activities celebrating the Texas cattle industry — exhibits, demonstrations, restaurants, shopping, and the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive.
- Dallas Museum of Art — At over 159,000 square feet and containing over 24,000 objects, it is one of the largest art museums in the U.S.
- Texas Motor Speedway — Home to many NASCAR events.
- Gilley’s Dallas — One of the premier entertainment facilities in America, Gilley’s is a 92,000 square foot complex with seven unique venues.
- Six Flags Over Texas — Amusement park with rides for all ages.
Is Dallas-Fort Worth a Good Place To Retire?
In February 2021, Travel + Leisure included the Dallas-Fort Worth area on its list of the 11 Best Cities to Retire. DFW was the only Texas location that made the list
Why is DFW so attractive to retirees?
With zero income tax, including on retirement income, and low city/state tax rates retirees can make their money stretch much further.
The actual climate in North Texas is also a major draw. Warm weather and mild winters encourage an active lifestyle. The Dallas Parks System maintains nearly 400 parks totalling over 20,000 acres. The Dallas Trail Plan has almost 160 miles of trails suitable for hiking or biking.
It also helps that DFW has one of the finest health care systems in America, with multiple hospitals ranked highly in both the state and nationally.
Finally, the many smaller suburbs and close-knit neighborhoods offer the feel of small-town connections with all the amenities of the nearby big city.
Pros and Cons of Living in Dallas-Fort Worth
- Job Market — Low unemployment, diverse industries, major corporations
- Favorable tax climate
- Lower Cost of Living — Especially when compared to cities in California or New York.
- Schools that are among the best in the country.
- Mild Winters — DFW enjoys an average of 232 sunny days.
- DFWs central location puts it within just a few hours’ driving distance of many other major cities — .Austin 182 miles, Oklahoma City 190 miles, Houston 239 miles, San Antonio 275 miles, Little Rock 293 miles, Baton Rouge 370 miles, and Topeka 437 miles.
- World-class medical facilities
- Great dining
- Diverse culture
- Fantastic shopping experiences
- Sporting events
- Concerts and plays
- Moderately-high property taxes
- The inventory of homes for sale is very low in some neighborhoods, especially within the City of Dallas. This is why many people buy or build a home in a DFW suburb.
- Long, hot summers.
- High crime in some areas.
- Many areas are car-dependent.
Fun Facts about Dallas-Fort Worth
The Dallas-Fort Worth area has a long and rich history that gives “The Big D” a character unlike any other metro.
- The frozen margarita was invented in Dallas. The original machine now sits in the Smithsonian Museum
- Other Dallas inventions include the microchip, the ATM. German Chocolate Cake, and the shopping center.
- 60% of all paper money in America is printed in Fort Worth.
- The term “Super Bowl” was coined by Dallas native Lamar Hunt, who founded and owned the Kansas City Chiefs.
- Hunt is also a member of THREE sport Halls of Fame — football, tennis, and soccer.
- 7-11 — the country’s first convenience store — was founded in Dallas, way back in 1927 as “Tote-Em”.
- More popcorn is eaten in DFW than anywhere else.
- DFW Airport is larger than Manhattan.
- It also contains the world’s largest parking lot.
- The Dallas Arts District is the biggest in the country.
- The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders were the first professional squad.
- During World War II, White Rock Lake was a POW camp for German soldiers.
Famous people from DFW include:
- Singers John Denver, Kelly Clarkson, Selena Gomez, Norah Jones, Lisa Loeb, Demi Lovato, Meat Loaf, LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, Usher, and Vanilla Ice
- Actors Katre Capshaw, Morgan Fairchild, Peri Gilpin, Luke and Owen Wilson, Robin Wright, and Ginger Rogers.
- President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush
- Outlaws Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker
- Assassin Lee Harvey Oswald
The Bottom Line About Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth
DFW is a sprawling and vibrant community that offers endless opportunities for newcomers and transplants from out-of-state. Considering the strong job market, the very affordable cost of living, the rich and diverse culture, the warm, sunny weather, and the friendly neighborhoods, Dallas-Fort Worth should be strongly considered as your next move.