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Dallas, Capital of the Great Plains

Screenshot of the most interesting portion of the Forbes map.
Screenshot of the most interesting portion of the Forbes map.

Forbes has got some more link bait for us in its new issue. Joel Kotkin draws a fun little map of the United States of America as it truly is. Not one nation under God, but “seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems.”

Dallas is declared the capital city of the Great Plains, which he expects to have 13.8% job growth over the next decade. That’s behind only the Third Coast (capital city: Houston) and the Inland West (capital city: Denver) in performance.

The vast region from Texas to Montana has often been written off as “flyover country.” But in the past decade, no nation in America has displayed greater economic dynamism. Since the recession, it has posted the second-fastest job growth rate in the U.S., after the Inland West, and last year it led the country in employment growth. The Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas all regularly register among the lowest unemployment rates in the country …

Most remarkable of all has been the Plains’ demographic revival. The region enjoyed a 14% increase in population over the past 10 years, a rate 40% above the national average, and is expected to expand a further 6% by 2023, more than twice the projected growth rate in the Northeast. This is partly due to its attractiveness to families — the low-cost region has a higher percentage of residents under 5 than any other beside the Inland West.

But outside of the oil boom towns, don’t expect a revival of the small communities that dot much of the region. The new Great Plains is increasingly urbanized, with an archipelago of vibrant, growing cities from Dallas and Oklahoma City to Omaha, Sioux Falls and Fargo.

Its major challenges: accommodating an increasingly diverse population and maintaining adequate water supplies, particularly for the Southern Plains.

That’s my concern, long-term, for our region: Getting thirstier and thirstier.

P.S. Nobody mention to Houstonia that Kotkin declares, of the Third Coast region, “by 2023, its capital—Houston—will be widely acknowledged as America’s next great global city.”

P.P.S. Damn’t. Too late.