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Making Dallas Even Better

Dallas ISD Isn’t Home to the Most Challenging High School in the U.S.

Following on yesterday’s post about Dallas ISD’s Talented and Gifted magnet school continuing to dominate the U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings of the best high schools in the country, I received a note from Sara Ortega, a spokeswoman for charter school operator Uplift Education. (Side note: I once had breakfast with Uplift’s CEO. Impressive lady.)

Uplift has 15 North Texas campuses (mostly in Dallas). Ortega took issue with my lumping together charters like the Uplift schools with selective magnet schools:

Uplift Summit International Preparatory is an Uplift Education school, which as you may know, is often criticized as a network (along with all public charters) for cherry picking the best students–the exact thing that magnets do.  So, when you say that, “…it does say something that DISD is able to out-compete schools of a similar type,” I would have to politely disagree in that open-enrollment public charters like Uplift Summit are not similar to magnets in that they do not have the ability to only choose elite students.

She then pointed me to the Washington Post’s ranking of the “America’s most challenging high schools,” which was released on Monday. The Post uses a different methodology than U.S. News, even if a bunch of the schools near the top of their respective lists end up the same.

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U.S. Census, Your Eyes Say a Lot of People Are Moving to Dallas-Fort Worth

The U.S. Census has released new estimates showing population changes in the nation’s metropolitan areas between July 2014 and July 2015. Unless you’re a newbie to North Texas, you’ll likely not be surprised to find that Dallas-Fort Worth netted the second-biggest gain in number of residents during that period: 144,704.

Only Swamp City, Texas, did better (about 10%) in that measure. And if you total up those numbers with the population gains of Austin and San Antonio, those four metros alone added more people than any other entire state in the union.

If only there were some resource that all these newcomers could turn to for an orientation to life in North Texas — like, say, a beautifully produced guide from the publishers of Dallas’ city magazine, on newsstands now.

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Why Dallas Is North Texas’ Unhealthiest County

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin have today issued their annual County Health Rankings, and by their measures of health outcomes based upon various physical, social, and economic factors, Collin County is the healthiest of all of the 241 Texas counties ranked (our state has 254 counties total).

It’s not surprising that one of the Texas’ wealthiest counties, with abundant access to medical care, has a healthier population overall. Likewise Denton’s (No. 4) and Rockwall’s (No. 7) places on the list make sense.

Among the state’s other big-city counties, Dallas County (No. 77) doesn’t perform as well in outcomes as Harris (No. 41) or Travis (No. 9!), but we are better off than Bexar (San Antonio) at No. 81.

Here’s a sampling of how Dallas stacks up against adjacent counties, as well as the U.S. and state medians, on several (but far from all) of the factors involved in calculating these rankings. Income ratio takes the income at the 80th-percentile and divides that by the income level of the county’s 20th-percentile to determine income inequality:

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Dallas Ranks Among the Most Unforgettable American Cities

In reading this FiveThirtyEight piece about how San Jose, Calif., is America’s “most forgettable” major American city, I was impressed to see how unforgettable Dallas looks.

Their method for determining these admittedly imprecise terms was to look at how often participants in Sporcle’s time-suck of a quiz on the 100 most-populous U.S. cities remembered (or didn’t) the name of each city in the allotted 12 minutes. More than half a million people have taken the challenge.

It’s no surprise that when asked to name all 100 cities, most-populous New York was rarely missed. More than 99 percent of users got it. Compare that to poor San Jose, which only 66.6% named, even though it is the 10th-largest in the U.S.

Dallas is golden by comparison.

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U.S. News Ranks Dallas-Fort Worth 21st-Best Place to Live in the U.S.

U.S News & World Report has released this year’s list of its “Best Places to Live,” and Denver tops the list. I’d like to hem and haw and declare it an outrage that Colorado’s capital is thought to be a more appealing a place to call home in the estimation of a bunch of Washington-based editors than is Dallas. Only thing is, Denver is pretty great. It’s hard to argue that seeing the Rocky Mountains on the horizon when atop a downtown skyscraper isn’t a more fulfilling daily experience than is seeing JerryWorld (which is what’s visible from D Magazine’s World Headquarters).

No. 2 on the list is Austin, which soundly beats Dallas-Fort Worth on the U.S. News scorecard thanks mostly to its cool-kid reputation. See for yourself. Here’s Austin on the left, and DFW on the right:

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The Guardian Visits Irving

Ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, the Guardian is publishing a week-long series on the six southern states that will be voting that day: Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Reporter Matthew Teague begins his trip in Texas, specifically Irving:

The third most diverse zip code in the United States is on Treasure Island, in San Francisco Bay. The second is in New York City’s Queens. But the most diverse – the neighborhood with the most even balance of ethnicities and cultures – is here in Irving, Texas, a Dallas suburb. Which means that, however improbable, the African Village restaurant hasn’t cornered the market on Cameroonian goat. There’s competition.

It was real estate site Trulia that declared in 2012 that the Irving ZIP code 75038 is the most diverse in the country, based on the statistic that its largest single ethnic group accounted for only 25.7% of the population.

I pulled 2016 Census estimates to see what the area’s demographic breakdown looks like now. It’s still a proverbial melting pot: 26.79% Black, 28.32% Asian, and 23.04% Hispanic.

North Texas Is the Most Competitive Job Market in the U.S.

So says Forbes, citing a study by the job search site CareerBuilder. Their methodology was to compare the number of jobs added between 2014 and 2015 across the 150 biggest metropolitan areas in the United States to the number of jobs that one would expect to have been added considering the national job growth rate of 2 percent:

At the top of the list of the most competitive metros is Dallas, Texas. The area added 112,829 jobs between 2014 and 2015, surpassing expectations by 44,871 jobs.

San Jose, California comes in second with 39,519 jobs added above expectations. As a result, 3.7% of the area’s overall employment is attributed to that competitiveness factor–higher than any other area on the list. (Dallas added the greatest number of jobs during the same period, but San Jose’s growth accounts for a greater percentage of the city’s overall employment.)

Los Angeles, Seattle, and Miami were the rest of the top five “most competitive” markets.

The most disappointing performances (the least competitive) market was Chicago,  which added about 40 percent fewer jobs than expected. It was followed by New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and St. Louis.

How much credit do we have to give Plano?

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Airbnb Ranks Oak Lawn One of World’s Trendiest Neighborhoods in 2016

Short-term lodging service Airbnb last week put out a list of the “Top 16 Trending Neighborhoods on Airbnb in 2016.” It’s based on how much growth the site saw in bookings to those neighborhoods during 2015. The top finisher was Chūō-ku in Osaka, Japan, which accommodated 7,000 percent more travelers through Airbnb than it had the previous year.

I was surprised to find I have a personal connection to three of the 16. I lived in District VII of Budapest, Hungary, during one semester of college. I worked in the Richmond area of Melbourne, Australia, for a brief time to help finance a backpacking trip around that country. And I resided in a duplex in Dallas’ Oak Lawn for more than nine years.

That’s right: Of all the neighborhoods in all the world, Oak Lawn is the 11th-trendiest in Airbnb’s reckoning, boasting 260-percent growth in visitors. Only it’s probably not the Oak Lawn you’re thinking of. Look at the results you get when you filter for “Oak Lawn” on Airbnb’s map:

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Questions for the DMN on that Lewisville Dam Story

Finally got to the big dam story everyone is talking about. Good read! Lotsa drama. You can almost hear the scary music playing in the background, foretelling much damage and destruction. Highly enjoyed reading it.

Well, I enjoyed it the first time. The second time I looked it through, a few questions started to form. I wanted some supporting evidence and context that I suspect was not included because it would interrupt the excellent #longform #narrative. Especially after some light Googling. Those questions:

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No, Dallas Doesn’t Lead the Nation in Missed Connections

Yesterday a writer for Vox looked at the number of Craigslist Missed Connections — that glorious corner of the Internet where anyone can anonymously deposit their daydreams about the girl on the train who, swear to God, gave you more than one furtive glance yesterday — for each of the country’s nine biggest cities.

He declares that Dallas put up the most posts (12) per 10,000 residents during his sample period (January 2015), leading one to believe that ours is a city replete with lonely hearts. However, I must question his method, since the population figure he credits to Dallas is for only the city proper while the “Dallas” Craigslist draws posts from throughout North Texas. This matters because while the city of Dallas is only the 9th-largest in terms of population in the U.S., the Dallas-Fort Worth metro is the country’s 4th-largest. So his per capita figures are way off.

If you refigure things based on the latest U.S. Census numbers for metro area population, Dallas is only the fourth-most desperately-seeking-Susan city in the country, with 2.3 posts per 10,000 population. It’s San Diego that most needs to screw up the courage to just go ahead and talk to the cute guy reading Dostoevsky in the coffee shop. Phoenix and San Antonio are also ahead (behind?) Dallas in this department.

What’s more interesting is the writer’s heat map of days of the week and times of day when a Missed Connections post is most likely. Monday is the big winner across the board, but Dallas’ pattern stands out:

Angelenos hardly post, and the few relative spikes in postings occur almost exclusively toward the start of the week. Houstonites, meanwhile, try their hand at romance on early Tuesday afternoons; Dallas, with the highest concentration of missed connections, has an impressive spread from Monday to Friday, with its inhabitants posting throughout the workday and late into the evening.

Props to us for our consistency, I guess.

Coppell Is the 8th-Best Place to Live in the U.S.?

Here’s some of what Money had to say about Coppell, in naming the city on its annual list of the Best Places to Live. Are they trolling Patrick Kennedy?

Coppell has made a virtue of concrete. The ring of freeways that surrounds the town also shields it from Dallas’s sprawl … Those freeways also give residents easy access to the airport (a 10-minute drive) and the big cities of Dallas and Fort Worth.

Clearly the editors of Money have lost their minds, since we established last year that Coppell is only the 13th-best Dallas suburb. You might also remember that the city that topped last year’s Money countdown was McKinney. I don’t believe that its absence in 2015 has anything to do the aftermath of  its pool parties — the magazine seems to like to turn over the entire top 50 each year, alternating between ranking towns with populations of 10K-50K and cities populations 50K-300K — but I’m going to guess that it might keep it from making a return trip in 2016.

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Troy Aikman Hates Potholes. So Does, It Turns Out, Every Other American

Over the weekend, Dallas Cowboys legend (and former auto dealership owner) Troy Aikman was driving in Dallas. Presumably his car hit a pothole. Or maybe he spotted a pothole ahead of him in the road and swerved to avoid it. Maybe he hit a few potholes in a row, or maybe his entire trip felt like he was dodging potholes like Giants linebackers. Whatever the case, Dallas Cowboys legend Tory Aikman was fed up with the damned potholes, and so he got mad. So mad, in fact, he did what all Americans do these days when we’re mad. We Tweet:

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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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