3 Ways to Explore
Dallas and Beyond
While Dallas is the most populous city in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Statistical Area (Dallas MSA), it consists of a sprawling 12 counties: Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant and Wise. The metro area’s population of 6,810,913 ranks fourth among U.S. MSAs and is among the nation’s fastest growing. The area has grown nearly 6 percent between 2010 and 2013 by U.S. Census Bureau estimates—adding nearly 385,000 people—while the nation’s population as a whole increased only 2.8 percent in the same period.

The Dallas MSA comprises two metropolitan divisions (MDs): Dallas-Plano-Irving and Fort Worth-Arlington MD. Together the two MDs bring the Dallas MSA to a total of 9,286 square miles, an area bigger than the state of Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut combined.

In 2013, the gross domestic product for all industries in the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington MSA brought in $420,340 million, which is more than some countries when compared to national economies. The Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport moved more than 465 tons of cargo during 2013, and the Dallas region is only behind New York, Houston and Chicago in having the most Fortune 500 company-based headquarters.

As the financial hub of the Southwest and being home to a branch of the Federal Reserve Bank, Dallas’ growth is stimulated by high-tech companies, manufacturing, and service industries. With low taxes, affordable land and a large labor force continuing to steady job growth throughout the region, the Dallas area is well positioned to prosper in the global economy.

TEXAS COUNTIES
In general, Texas county government is an extension of state government, focusing on the judicial system, health and welfare service delivery, law enforcement, and road construction. In contrast to the jurisdiction of other counties, Texas counties usually do not have responsibility for schools, water and sewer systems, electric utilities, and commercial airports. Dallas County, like the state’s other 253 counties, has a governing body (the Commissioner's Court) consisting of one member elected at large (the county judge) and four members (County Commissioners) elected from districts. The county tax rate is set by the Commissioners Court and it also adopts the budget, appoints boards and commissions, approves grants and personnel actions, and oversees the administration of county government.

The following information is an overview of the 12 counties which make up the Dallas/Fort Worth region (commonly called the Metroplex). Some cities reside in more than one county and in those cases that part of the overlapping city may be very small. School districts also might fall into multiple cities and counties.

COLLIN COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Collin County, named in honor of Collin McKinney, one of the five men who drafted the Texas Declaration of Independence, is the seventh most populous and the fastest growing county in Texas. The area takes up 848 square miles of land, 38 square miles of water and a small portion of the city of Dallas is located in the county. The majority of Collin County residents vote Republican in Presidential and congressional elections, the last Democrat to win in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Collin County is less than 20 miles north of Dallas and borders six other counties. Residents make use of the five county parks and open spaces, 40 plus recreational and senior centers, and local lakes. Currently, road expansions are being built from the $1.5 billion Highway 121 toll revenues for easier east-west commutes.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Allen (92,020), Anna (9,515), Carrollton (126,700), Celina (6,744), Dallas (1,257,676), Fairview (8,148), Frisco (136,791), Garland (234,566), Lucas (6,180), McKinney (148,559), Melissa (6,112), Murphy (19,515), Plano (274,409), Princeton (7,732), Prosper (12,943), Richardson (104,475), Royse City (10,275), Sachse (22,026) and Wylie (44,575)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................854,778
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................9.3%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................930

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Allen, Anna, Farmersville, Lovejoy, McKinney Independent School District, Melissa, Plano, Princeton, Wylie and several others are partially in the county
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................93.1%
    • College degrees..............................................39%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.co.collin.tx.us.

DALLAS COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Primarily a rural and agricultural county around the turn of the 20th century, cotton was the leading crop until the manufacturing industry took over thereafter. Today, Dallas County is ninth in residential population for all counties in the United States. The 902 square miles of land is mostly flat and heavy Blackland Prairie and the rest is 29 square miles of water. In 2007 Dallas formally adopted a guide of objectives to be pursued over the next 10 years that outlines five essential goals: become a model interagency partner; have a healthy community; be safe, secure, and prepared; proactively address critical regional issues; and be the destination of choice for residents and businesses. Unlike many of its neighboring counties in the area, Dallas is gradually shifting political allegiances towards the Democratic party due to the stronghold in the city of Dallas. Dallas County can be reached by Interstate Highways 20, 30, 45, and 635.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Addison (15,407), Balch Springs (25,024), Cedar Hill (46,663), Carrollton (126,700), Coppell (40,342), Dallas (1,257,676), DeSoto (51,483), Duncanville (39,605), Farmers Branch (31,664), Garland(234,566), Glenn Heights (11,763), Grand Prairie (183,372), Grapevine (50,195), Highland Park (8,862), Hutchins (5,396), Irving (228,653), Lancaster (38,071), Lewisville (101,074), Mesquite (143,484), Richardson (104,475), Rowlett (58,043), Sachse (22,026), Seagoville (15,519), Sunnyvale (5,651), University Park (23,992) and Wylie (44,575)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................2,480,331
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................4.8%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................2,718

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD, Cedar Hill ISD, Coppell ISD, Dallas ISD, DeSoto ISD, Duncanville ISD, Garland, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster, Mesquite, Richardson and Sunnyvale
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................77.1%
    • College degrees..............................................28.1%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.dallascounty.org.

DELTA COUNTY—OVERVIEW
More than a century ago Sheriff Sam B. Turbeville said, “What Delta County lacks in size is fully made up in fertility.” At about 280 square miles and under $100,000 in annual federal spending, Delta County is surely small in repute but not in fruitfulness. Nearly 60 percent of the terrain is prime farmland and the year sees a 233-day growing season with a warm and moist climate. The east part of the area is restricted by Sulphur River, which forks and gives the county boundary a triangular shape, much like the Greek letter Delta. Oak, elm, pecan and mesquite hardwoods grow beside streams. Adjacent counties include Lamar, Red River, Franklin, Hopkins, Hunt and Fannin. Delta is one of Texas’ 30 counties that prohibit alcohol consumption making the area a completely “dry” county.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Cooper (1,969) and Pecan Gap (203)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................5,238
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................0.1%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................20.4

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Chisum, Commerce, Cooper and Fannindel
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................85.6%
    • College degrees..............................................15.7%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.deltacountytx.com.

DENTON COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Denton County borders Dallas and Tarrant counties to the north and Cooke and Grayson counties to the south. Oklahoma can be reached by driving north up I-35 for about 30 miles. Elevations levels range from 500 to 900 feet, annual average rainfall is about 33 inches and the temperature can be a low of 34°F in January to a high of 96°F in July. The geological formation called Barnett Shale is partially located in Denton County and thought to have a large natural gas field. Gas drilling in the area has provided tax revenue, but since much of the area is urban, roads have been damaged due to the heavy equipment. Of Denton County families, 38.7 percent have children under 18 years of age. The former Denton County Courthouse was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Carrollton (126,700), Coppell (40,342), Corinth (20,618), Dallas (1,257,676), Denton (123,099), Flower Mound (68,609), Fort Worth (792,727), Frisco (136,791), Highland Village (15,747), Lake Dallas (7,337), Lewisville (101,074), Little Elm (32,701), Plano (274,409), Prosper (12,943), Roanoke (6,646), Sanger (7,415), Southlake (28,234), The Colony (39,458) and Trophy Club (10,459)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................728,799
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................10%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................754.3

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Argyle, Aubrey, Denton, Lake Dallas, Lewisville, Little Elm, Ponder and Sanger
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................91.5%
    • College degrees..............................................40.3%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.dentoncounty.com.

ELLIS COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Established as Ellis County on December 20, 1849, by the Texas State legislature, the county’s name is in honor of Richard Ellis who served as the president of the convention which signed the Texas Declaration of Independence. The terrain is mostly flat if not rolling with a southeastward-sloping plain and is well drained by many streams that flow into the Trinity River. Natural mineral resources include gas, oil, stone, clays, chalk and shale. An ebb and flow of population has marked census reports with pluses and minuses in the last century, but within the last decade, population has been steadily on the upswing. Politically, the area is heavily Republican and often votes more than two thirds that way. Presently, Waxahachie is the largest town and county seat.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Cedar Hill (46,663), Ennis (18,711), Grand Prairie (183,372), Glenn Heights (11,763), Mansfield (60,872), Midlothian (19,891), Red Oak (11,245) and Waxahachie (31,591)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................155,976
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................4.3%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................159.9

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Avalon, Ennis, Ferris, Italy, Maypearl, Midlothian, Milford, Palmer, Red Oak and Waxahachie
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................84%
    • College degrees..............................................20.8%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.co.ellis.tx.us.

HUNT COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Formed from Fannin and Nacogdoches counties, Hunt County is centered at approximately 36°06' north latitude and 96°05' west longitude. In the beginning, the region did not prosper from crops because without a nearby railroad or waterway, travel in and out of Hunt County was difficult. The residents were isolated and become self-sufficient out of necessity, but that changed in the early 1900s when railroads where established in several parts of the county. Today the 841 square miles of land and the 41 square miles of water is home to major communities, including Greenville, the county seat and the largest city. The eight adjacent counties are: Fannin, Delta, Hopkins, Rains, Van Zandt, Kaufman, Rockwall and Collin.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Commerce (8,276) and Greenville (25,917)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................87,048
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................1.1%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................102.5

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Bland, Boles, Caddo Mills, Campbell, Celeste, Commerce, Greenville, Lone Oak, Quinlan and Wolfe City
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................81.6%
    • College degrees..............................................17.3%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.huntcounty.net.

JOHNSON COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Southwest of the Dallas-Fort Worth area is Johnson County. Cleburne, the county seat, is 55 miles southwest of Downtown Dallas and 29 miles south of Downtown Fort Worth. Johnson County is named after Middleton Tate Johnson, a Texas Ranger, soldier and politician who was once one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the region. The 730 square miles of land is more diversified then most counties in the Metroplex and can be classified into three types of terrain. Grand Prairie ground in the western county is where alkaline loam soil can be found. A third of the county is Eastern Cross Timbers which is the strip of land that runs from southeastern Kansas across Central Oklahoma to Central Texas and marks the western habitat limit of many mammals and insects. The rest of the area to the east is Blackland Prairie where cotton and small grains can be grown.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Burleson (40,714), Cleburne (29,747), Crowley (14,102), Joshua (5,935), Keene (6,076) and Mansfield (60,872)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................154,707
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................2.5%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................208.3

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Alvarado, Burleson, Cleburne, Godley, Grandview, Joshua, Keene, Rio Vista and Venus
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................82.6%
    • College degrees..............................................15.8%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.johnsoncountytx.org.

KAUFMAN COUNTY—OVERVIEW
The city of Terrell, Kaufman County’s largest town, sits 30 miles east of Dallas. Both the county and the city were named for David Spangler Kaufman who was a diplomat and U.S. congressman from Texas and the first Jewish person to serve in Congress from Texas. Measuring 788 square miles of land, Kaufman County was established in 1848 and has an elevation ranging from 300 to 550 feet above sea level. As of late, manufacturing, agribusiness and tourism are primary economic sources.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Dallas (1,257,676), Forney (16,650), Kaufman (6,922), Mesquite (143,484), Seagoville (15,519) and Terrell (16,347)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................108,568
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................5.1%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................132.4

Education
  • Independent School District: Kaufman
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................82.9%
    • College degrees..............................................17.4%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.kaufmancounty.net.

PARKER COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Parker County sits south of Jack and Wise counties, west of Tarrant County, north of Hood and Johnson counties and east of Palo Pint County. Temperatures are warm to hot during the summer months when residents take pleasure in lakes Weatherford and Mineral Wells for recreational use. Local crops include peanuts, oats, watermelons and peaches, but land use for livestock and livestock products brings in the largest chunk of money for the area. At 1,368 feet, the highest peak in the county is on Slipdown Mountain. In the last decade, Parker County has averaged about 3,000 new residents a year. Parker is one of the few Texas counties to achieve the honor of financial transparency from the comptroller’s office.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Azle (11,334), Mineral Wells (16,773) and Weatherford (27,021)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................121,481
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................3.8%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................129.4

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Aledo, Brock, Garner, Millsap, Peaster, Poolville, Springtown and Weatherford
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................87.3%
    • College degrees..............................................23.8%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.parkercountytx.com.

ROCKWALL COUNTY—OVERVIEW
The nearly square county of Rockwall is the smallest in Texas at only 147 square miles, but it has a storied past. Several tribes of Caddo inhabited the area centuries ago until Cherokees came in from the east and created an inter-Indian war. Somehow the arrival of the first Anglo-Americans did not interfere with the battle and construction of the National Road of the Republic of Texas was built as a major route for travelers. Around the same time a well was being dug when a large rock formation that crossed the county was discovered. Legend had it that it was built by prehistoric natives, but scientific analysis states it is a natural geological formation. Present day Rockwall County is an attractive part of the Dallas MSA with Lake Ray Hubbard to its left and I-30 a few miles north.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Dallas (1,257,676), Fate (8,197), Heath (7,764), Rockwall (40,922), Rowlett (58,043), Royse City (10,275) and Wylie (44,575)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................85,245
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................8.8%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................616.7

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Rockwall and Royse City
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................91.1%
    • College degrees..............................................35.3%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.rockwallcountytexas.com.

TARRANT COUNTY—OVERVIEW
General Edward H. Tarrant never lived in the area known as Tarrant County, but was held in such regard for driving out the occupied Indian land that a military outpost was established and named in his honor. The gently sloping to level frontier since the county’s founding in 1849 remains while the economic landscape has renewed several times. No longer dependent on defense plants and the military base, Tarrant County now credits aerospace and tourism for business resurgence. The strong cultural district is due in part to the cattle drives that brought gambling parlors, saloons, and dance halls. Once the railroad was complete, Fort Worth Stockyards was transformed into a livestock center. The 898 square miles is home to major lakes in the county including Arlington, Benbrook, Eagle Mountain, Grapevine and Worth, which offer relief during the hot days of summer. Trinity River and its tributaries are being preserved for environmental quality, conservation, recreation facilities, trail developments, reforestation, beautification and linkage to neighborhoods, downtown and other special districts.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Arlington (379,577), Azle (11,334), Bedford (48,592), Benbrook (22,206), Burleson (40,714), Colleyville (24,500), Crowley (14,102), Euless (53,224), Everman (6,269), Flower Mound (68,609), Forest Hill (12,700), Fort Worth (792,727), Grapevine (50,195), Grand Prairie (183,372), Haltom City (43,580), Hurst (38,448), Keller (42,907), Kennedale (7,236), Mansfield (60,872), Newark, North Richland Hills (67,317), Richland Hills (7,995), River Oaks (7,619), Saginaw (21,257), Southlake (28,234), Trophy Club (10,459), Watauga (24,187) and White Settlement (16,714)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................1,911,541
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................5.6%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................2,094.7

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Arlington, Birdville, Carroll, Castleberry, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Everman, Fort Worth, Grapevine-Colleyville, Hurst-Euless-Bedford, Keller, Kennedale, Lake Worth and White Settlement
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................84%
    • College degrees..............................................29.1%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.tarrantcounty.com.

WISE COUNTY—OVERVIEW
Divided vertically by Grand Prairie and Western Cross Timbers, the 922 square miles of Wise County is both farm land and forest and grazing land. Vegetation includes live oak, cottonwood, and mesquite trees. Just 40 miles south of the Oklahoma border, Wise County was named after an American statesman who supported the annexation of Texas. Lake Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain Lake supply water and recreational facilities to residents who mostly work in Fort Worth. The area was largely Democratic up until the 1970s when it turned Republican. Major U.S. and State Highways include 287, 380, 101 and 114. Wise County is included in only a handful of counties to have several family-oriented nudist resorts in the United States.

Major Communities (2013 Population): Briar (5,665), Bridgeport (6,154) and Decatur (6,261)

Demographics
  • Population in 2013.........................................................60,939
  • Population Increase (2010–13)...................................3.1%
  • Persons per square mile.............................................65.4

Education
  • Independent School Districts: Alvord, Boyd, Bridegeport, Chico, Decatur, Paradise and Slidell
  • Educational Attainment (Adult Population 2013)
    • High school diploma.......................................82.1%
    • College degrees..............................................15.9%

For more information, visit the county’s website at www.co.wise.tx.us.
 
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