Which Texas Mega-City Will Grow the Most in the Next 25 Years?

Fort Worth TX

When it comes to population growth, Texas is a titan.

Half of the 10 U.S. cities with the biggest population gains from 2013 to 2014 are in Texas. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio each added more than 18,000 residents in just that one-year period, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

That pace of growth shows no signs of letting up.

Within the next 25 years, the populations of the Lone Star State’s five biggest cities are projected to grow at least 16 percent, according to a LawnStarter review of data from the Texas Water Development Board. Among other things, that level of growth will burden the state’s already strained water supply — and could leave Texas lawns crying out for more moisture.

Fort Worth Stockyards

Flickr/Brandi Korte

Stampede of People

Among Texas’ five biggest cities, Fort Worth is poised to witness the most explosive population growth in the next 25 years. The Texas Water Development Board’s projections indicate Cowtown’s headcount will approach 1.5 million in 2040. Translation: a population surge of nearly 84 percent from 2014 to 2040.

That’s a huge leap for a city that had just 447,619 residents in 1990.

David Berzina, executive vice president of economic development for the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, says that based on growth trends over the past eight years, the city’s population should hit the 1 million mark by 2025. Actually, that’s a conservative estimate. It’s more likely that Fort Worth will reach the 1 million milestone in 2021, Berzina says.


Flickr/Kurt Haubrich

The Worth of Fort Worth

So, what accounts for the residential rush in Fort Worth? Among other factors, Berzina attributes it to:

  • The availability of relatively cheap land.
  • The strong job market.
  • The proximity to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
  • Access to major-league sports, shopping and other amenities.
  • A vibrant downtown.
  • The presence of four world-class museums and other cultural assets.
  • The Texas nostalgia cultivated by Fort Worth’s stockyards and railroad history.

Berzina views heritage-steeped Fort Worth as both a “big small town” and a “small big town.”

“You can have the best of both worlds,” he tells LawnStarter. “It’s the largest, last real Texas city.”

Fort Worth home construction

City of Fort Worth

Capacity for Growth

City officials like Councilman W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman are keeping close tabs on Fort Worth’s astounding growth, with the population climbing at an average annual rate of 3.8 percent from 2000 to 2010.

“We have an enormous capacity to grow, both in our periphery — and I think we are getting to the outer boundaries there of where it makes sense to go — and then in the core. There is so much more we can do to redevelop what we already have,” Harwood told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

One strategy for handling continued growth in Fort Worth has been for the city to scoop up available land.

“Fort Worth has a long way to go to catch up to Dallas, but Fort Worth has an advantage that Dallas doesn’t have: Fort Worth can annex. And Fort Worth has been smart enough to annex ahead of development,” Bud Weinstein, a professor at Southern Methodist University who studies population trends, told Dallas-Fort Worth TV station KXAS.

Here’s a look at how Texas’ five biggest cities stack up for projected population growth in the next 25 years.

1. Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth TX

Flickr/Brandi Korte

2014 population (estimated): 812,238
2040 (projected): 1,490,815
2014-2040 percentage increase: 83.54%
2014-2040 comparison: Fort Worth’s 2040 population will exceed San Antonio’s 2014 population.
Fast fact: The Fort Worth Zoo, which opened in 1909, was the first zoo in Texas.
Major corporate headquarters: Acme Brick, American Airlines, BNSF Railway, Justin Brands, Pier 1 Imports

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2. Austin, TX

Austin TX


2014 population (estimated): 912,791
2040 population (projected): 1,330,492
2014-2040 percentage increase: 45.76%
2014-2040 comparison: Austin’s 2040 population will surpass Dallas’ 2014 population.
Fast fact: From March to November, Austin is home to the world’s largest urban colony of bats.
Major corporate headquarters: Dell, Hanger, HomeAway, National Instruments, Whole Foods

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3. San Antonio, TX

San Antonio TX

Flickr/Norm Lanier

2014 population (estimated): 1,436,697
2040 population (projected): 1,910,744
2014-2040 percentage increase: 33.00%
2014-2040 comparison: San Antonio’s 2040 population will be more than double that of Austin’s 2014 population.
Fast fact: San Antonio’s River Walk and Alamo are the top two tourist attractions in Texas.
Major corporate headquarters: HEB, iHeartMedia, Rackspace, USAA, Valero Energy


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4. Dallas, TX

Dallas TX

Flickr/Nan Palermo

2014 population (estimated): 1,281,047
2040 population (projected): 1,531,680
2014-2040 percentage increase: 19.56%
2014-2040 comparison: Dallas’ 2040 population will be close to Phoenix’s 2014 population.
Fast fact: The first convenience store opened in Dallas.
Major corporate headquarters: AT&T, 7-Eleven, Southwest Airlines, Tenet Healthcare, Texas Instruments

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5. Houston, TX

Houston TX

Flickr/Randall Pugh

2014 population (estimated): 2,239,558
2040 population (projected): 2,606,077
2014-2040 percentage increase: 16.37%
2014-2040 comparison: Houston’s 2040 population will nip at the heels of Chicago’s 2014 population.
Fast fact: Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex.
Major corporate headquarters: Anadarko Petroleum, Baker Hughes, ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Sysco

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John Egan

John Egan is the former editor in chief of LawnStarter.com. Now, he is a freelance writer extraordinaire. He lives in Austin, Texas.