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Why Dallas Is a Terrible Place to Grow Up Poor — And a Great Place to Be Rich

The new study by two Harvard economists written about in the New York Times this week presents some disappointing data about Dallas County. By looking at the incomes of more than 5 million people who moved, as children, with their families in the 1980s and 1990s, they found that 20 years of growing up in Dallas County led to children who grow up in one of the poorest families (income of less than $30,000/year) earning $1,340 less in annual income than the national average. That’s better than only 19 percent of the other counties in the nation.

On the other end of the spectrum, the children of the Dallas County’s richest families (earning more than $100K/year) made $990 more annually than the average among the nation’s wealthiest — and those in the richest 1 percent of families were $1,900 better off than the average.

Dallas is hardly alone among populous counties in seeing this sort of disparity in outcomes for the rich and the poor. But note also (image above) how poorly it performs as compared to neighboring North Texas counties in serving its poorest. Collin, Denton, Rockwall, Tarrant, Ellis, and (especially) Johnson all see their kids on the lowest end of the economic spectrum do better than the national average.

So what are the causes of these differences?

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Grocery or Big Box In Downtown Dallas? Or, Why Inequality Needs to be Part of Urbanism Conversation.

There’s an interesting tidbit on Unfair Park this morning about the possibility of a new, large-scale retailer coming to the ground floor of 1401 Elm, the largest vacant building in the Central Business District.  The Observer’s Stephen Young makes a heads-up observation. Back in January 2014, the developer of 1401 Elm requested TIF funds from the city, and the request said the project would include 25,000 square feet of retail or restaurant space and 40,000 square feet of office. Now, the developer has come back to the city with a revised outlook: how about just 65,000 square feet of commercial space? That, according to city staff, would allow the developer more flexibility for things like bringing in an upscale grocer to take over the building’s 50,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

But wait. Young points to a Dallas Business Journal article from December in which Jack Gosnell, who is brokering the retail for the site, suggests that the same space might be good for a “big box retailer or a department store.”

Cue panic. Could Sam’s Club be invading downtown too?

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Morning News Perpetuates Myth That Dallas Is a Quickly Growing City

The headline from the Biz Beats Blog: “Behind Just Houston and Austin, America’s Third Fastest-Growing City Is Dallas.” Simply put, that headline is a lie. Or it’s a mistake. The Forbes ranking that the DMN is referring to doesn’t peg our city as the third-fastest-growing. Our region is growing that quickly. As Wylie H. Dallas recently pointed out, our city is nowhere near the top of the list. Wylie wrote: “Over the most recent year for which data is available (July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013), the city of Dallas grew by 1.29 percent, placing us No. 27 out of 77, just barely ahead of Omaha.” Too often, city leaders seize on these sorts of reports to paint a rosy picture of how the city is faring. It needs to stop.

UPDATE (4:45): They changed the headline. Now it refers to the region. Thanks, guys.

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Dallas in 2030: Many More People, Much More Hispanic

You’re probably not surprised to read that 15 years from now the population of the Dallas area is projected to be significantly larger than it is now, with Hispanics accounting for a significantly greater share. The Urban Institute today has released a new interactive map that allows you to see just how significant that growth will be as compared to the rest of the country and to better understand the underlying factors of population change: birth rate, death rate, and migration.

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Does Mike Rawlings Know He’s the Mayor of Dallas, Not Dallas-Fort Worth?

As Mike Rawlings told the Dallas Morning News editorial board recently, he’s “a numbers guy.” So anchoring all the puffery in his new mayor’s letter was one solid factoid: “According to a recent Forbes study, Dallas is now the fourth fastest-growing city in the country.” Wait, what? I mean, without even checking, I instinctively knew that wasn’t true, not by a long shot. What was this claim doing here? I had to get to the bottom of this.

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Ask John Neely Bryan: How the Yankees Conquered Dallas

I am truly humbled — (Ed.: You mean “honored” (I damn well know what I mean — JNB)) — to see the response elicited by my first foray into the dispensing of well-earned opinions, advisories, and judgments onto the World Wide Web. Most of you magnificently performed your duty of piling missives into the inbox at ask@dmagazine.com, and I shall endeavor to address your queries with all the timeliness of a bow-legged bobcat returning to its native soil during the first moon after the spring equinox to suffer the slow death it deserves for being such an abomination before God.

Some of you, I’m sorry to say, didn’t take my invitation seriously enough. “Boxers or briefs?” What sort of community icon, such that I am, would dare degrade himself by answering such impertinence? And what man in full possession of his faculties wears anything other than boxer-briefs these days?

Onward to more significant inquiries.

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SAGA Pod/Learning Curve: Jim Schutze on DISD, the Toll Road, and Moving to Plano

Jim Schutze stops by to discuss his column from this week, which basically covers all the important things in Dallas: How we’re going to get middle-class parents to send their kids to DISD schools (or if we even should want to do that); how that would affect the ability of young couples to stay in the city, as they increasingly want to do; and how the Trinity River toll road (and the thinking behind it) makes all of this harder than it has to be. Also, I play a song on my phone. Because Tim convinced me to. The lesson: Never listen to Tim.

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Arlington is the 6th-Most Conservative City in the U.S.

The Economist today published a chart ranking the relative conservatism vs. liberalism of American cities with a population greater than 250,000. Mesa, Arizona, is the country’s most conservative, while San Francisco is the most liberal.

Arlington, Texas, is the sixth-most conservative. Fort Worth is 12th-most. Meanwhile, Dallas is a relative bastion of godless hedonism, falling (like most of the cities on the list) to the more liberal end of the scale. I’m not sure why Plano, which also has a population greater than 250K, isn’t represented on the chart. Maybe they were going by 2000 Census numbers.

Their data are based on an article in this month’s American Political Science Review, though I’m sure I didn’t have to tell you that.

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The Dallas Version of Basic

At Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan has a super-entertaining guide to every sub-category of “basic” in the United States. The Dallas entry:

Job: Real estate. Maybe marketing.
Drives: A massive SUV her dad bought for her.
Wears: Kendra Scott jewelry, Tori Burch accessories, 7 For All Mankind or Citizens of Humanity jeans. A statement necklace if it’s a special occasion.
Listens to: 106.1 KISS FM.
Spends her summers: Being a bridesmaid. She has been a bridesmaid like 15 times.
Celebrity aspiration: Jessica Simpson.

Do you agree? If you don’t, you’re probably basic. Just kidding. Kind of. No, really. Maybe.

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Dallas, Capital of the Great Plains

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 […]

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Mapping Dallas-Fort Worth’s Racial Divide

That there is a map that is part of a series Wired is calling “The Best Map Ever Made of America’s Racial Segregation.” For anyone familiar with the region, this map doesn’t really reveal anything we already didn’t know (the African American and Hispanic south and southwest; the homogenized north surrounded by minority enclaves like […]

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Richard Patterson on Jim Schutze’s “Culture Mob”

Richard Patterson is a big-deal British painter who lives in Dallas. After reading my post yesterday about Jim Schutze’s anti-intellectual view of the Nasher, Richard sent me a few words on the topic. And by “few,” I mean 2,400. Bear in mind, he banged out this ditty in about two hours. It makes me angry […]

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Social Mobility and the Legacy of Slavery in Dallas

Readers of Andrew Sullivan’s Dish blog pointed out the similarities between the social mobility map that we posted about Monday, a map of African-American population by county, and a map of the last U.S. slave census in 1860 (seen above). There are striking similarities, especially in the dark patches along the Mississippi River in both maps. […]

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