The U.S. Census Bureau just announced its list of the fastest-growing cities in the country. At the top, perhaps naturally, is New Orleans –– evidently, people who moved away post-Katrina are moving back. In the 10th spot is probably the only real, bona fide city in the top 10, your very own Fort Worth, which indeed is positive news: More people means more money in city coffers, which means further improvements can be made in the quality of city services and the city’s overall livability. In between the Big Easy and Cowtown, however, aren’t real cities at all, with skylines and pedestrian-friendly downtown areas and neighborhoods, but exurbs. (Three of them are in Texas: Round Rock (No. 2), north of Austin; Killeen (No. 9), between Austin and Waco; and McKinney (No. 5), north of here.)
Exurbs are like suburbs but are much fancier and much farther from downtown sections. The growth of exurbs doesn’t necessarily mean that people with money are abandoning downtown areas –– cities, like Fort Worth, with drastically revitalized downtown areas are packing in upper- and upper-middle-class folks. What the exurbs’ growth likely means is that the suburbs are dying. Suburban home prices have been dropping over the past 10 years and, by the looks of things, will continue dropping, possibly until the average suburban home is the ’00 version of a Section 8 housing unit. Fort Worth, based on the census data, is immune –– for now.