Median income trends in D-FW: A reflection of the national picture

The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released a report on Thursday detailing the economic situation in Dallas-Fort Worth (D-FW) from 2019 to 2022.

From 2019 to 2022, the median income in D-FW slightly decreased by around 0.85%, as per Dallas Metro News. It dropped to $82,823 in the last year, from the inflation-adjusted $83,537 in 2019. This decrease was similar to the national trend, but the national median income saw a bigger drop of 1.6% when considering inflation in the same period.

Texas also saw a decline in median income, falling by 2.35% to $72,284 in 2022 from the inflation-adjusted $74,022 in 2019. However, an interesting detail was that Dallas-area residents earning over $100,000 annually increased. The percentage rose from about 35% in 2019 to almost 42% in 2022, indicating a divided economic situation.

The report highlighted income distribution changes across the region, influenced mainly by the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a noticeable movement of high-income Americans from big cities to smaller towns and rural areas. In Dallas, this resulted in income leaving Dallas County, while suburban counties saw an increase in wealth. Research by Cullum Clark, director of the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative, showed that between 2020 and 2021, Dallas County lost around 10,000 tax-filing households. These households mainly moved to Collin, Denton, and Tarrant counties.

Further, households moving from Dallas County to Collin County typically had higher incomes than those moving the other way. Importantly, Denton County attracted more wealthy residents than Collin County. Denton gained 5,000 tax-filing households from the main North Texas counties between 2020 and 2021, increasing its total taxable income by roughly $765 million.

These changes in demographics and economy show a wider U.S. trend. Communities are facing the impacts of income differences made worse by the pandemic. With wages not growing as fast as inflation, people find themselves in challenging financial conditions.

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