Is Dallas or Fort Worth Bigger?


There’s much to explore in both cities, from history to culture.  Often the two cities are combined and mentioned simply as DFW or the DFW metroplex.  But separately… which one is actually bigger?  Lets dig in and find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Dallas, with 1.3 million people, is bigger than Fort Worth’s 900,000.
  • Dallas ranks as the 9th largest city in the U.S.; Fort Worth stands at 16th.
  • The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex merges both cities into 9,286 square miles.
  • Dallas leads in GDP and houses more Fortune 500 companies, showing a larger economy.

Population Comparison

Dallas has 1.3 million people. Fort Worth has about 900,000. Dallas is the 9th largest U.S. city. Fort Worth is 16th. They’re not just two cities. They’re big players in the U.S.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area is the fourth biggest in the U.S. Dallas has more people in less space. It’s denser.

This isn’t just about numbers. It’s about two cities’ roles in a big region. Dallas, bigger and denser, faces unique city life and planning challenges. Fort Worth, smaller and less dense, moves at a different pace.

Geographic Size

Dallas and Fort Worth as cities are roughly the same size.  Dallas is 385.9 square miles and Forth Worth is 355.6 square miles. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex combined is huge, with a total area of 9,286 square miles. Thats bigger than New Jersey. Dallas and Fort Worth together are larger than Rhode Island and Connecticut.  The Metroplex is the fourth largest in the country.  

Historical Growth

Historical city drawings for fort worth and dallas
Historical city drawings for fort worth and Dallas

Exploring Dallas and Fort Worth, you see early settlers and growing populations shaped them. Dallas grew faster, becoming the bigger city. Yet, both cities have deeply influenced the region’s culture and economy.

Early Settlement Patterns

Dallas and Fort Worth grew quickly from their beginnings. Dallas started as a busy business center in 1841. Fort Worth became important as a military post in 1849. Dallas thrived with railroads. Fort Worth grew with the Chisholm Trail. Their growth shaped the Dallas-Fort Worth area into the fourth largest in the U.S. today. As close cities, their growth has shaped the area’s history and today’s landscape. They stand as key players in the region’s story.

Population Expansion Trends

Dallas and Fort Worth have grown fast, making the metroplex the fourth largest in the U.S. This growth isn’t just numbers. It’s about how these cities grew together and became important.

  • Dallas became a key business hub early on, thanks to its railroad connections.
  • Fort Worth used its spot on the Chisholm Trail well.
  • Together, they pushed the metroplex’s growth.

This growth shows how dynamic and changing the metroplex is. It tells us how Dallas and Fort Worth’s paths are linked, moving the metroplex forward.

Economic Impact

Dallas outpaces economically. It boasts a greater GDP and more Fortune 500 companies. Yet, Fort Worth shines in tech innovation. The job market growth and GDP contributions of these cities tell a compelling story.

Job Market Growth

The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area has seen a significant rise in its job market. In the past seven years, 75 companies have moved to DFW. This movement confirms the area’s strong economy and many job opportunities. In 2018, DFW led the U.S. in job growth. By early 2019, unemployment was at its lowest in 18 years.

Here’s why the job market thrives:

  • Diverse economy: Key industries include trade, transportation, and healthcare.
  • Low unemployment rate: Shows a strong job market.
  • Company relocations: Bring more opportunities.
  • Expansion plans: Companies like Kiddie Academy are growing their presence.

The job market’s growth in DFW highlights its economic success.

GDP Contributions

In 2021, the metroplex’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $688.928 billion. In 2021, the Dallas area’s GDP was $598 billion and Fort Worth was $91 Billion.

The DFW metro area is made up of 12 counties and is divided into the two metropolitan divisions of Dallas–Plano–Irving and Fort Worth–Arlington. The DFW metro area contributes over 31% of Texas’s GDP, making it the metropolitan area with the highest percentage in the state.

Dallas and Fort Worth boost the metroplex economy. They play big roles in the region’s GDP, driving growth. Their industries ensure stability and development. Dallas and Fort Worth make the metroplex thrive. Their GDP contributions show a dynamic economy. Together, they mark the area’s success and expansion. They make the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex a place of growth and prosperity. 

Cultural Highlights

Fort Worth and Dallas shine in their ways. Dallas thrives with its arts and lights. Its skyline glows with LEDs. It boasts fine dining, like The Mansion Restaurant. Here, the vibe is rich.

Fort Worth holds true to Texas. It loves its Cowtown roots and Western ways. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is key. Food here leans towards Tex-Mex and barbecue. It’s friendly and less pricey.

  • Kimbell Art Museum: Fort Worth’s art heart beats strong here, amid cowboys.
  • Western Heritage: Rodeos and Texas life define Fort Worth.
  • Tex-Mex & Barbecue: Both cities serve these. But in Fort Worth, they’re part of its soul.
  • Eclectic Artsy Feel: Dallas stands out with its modern, upscale arts scene.

Dallas is modern and rich. Fort Worth keeps its traditions. Both offer a taste of Texas, old and new.

Employment Opportunities

Dallas and Fort Worth boast a strong job market with varied opportunities. Dallas excels in trade, transportation, and healthcare, offering a wide range of jobs. Its position as a trade hub makes it ideal for logistics careers, and its healthcare facilities need many professionals.

Fort Worth stands out in technology, education, and manufacturing. It’s a hub for innovation and industrial growth. The city’s focus on technology and education creates many jobs. Manufacturing firms in Fort Worth also seek skilled workers.

In 2018, the Dallas-Fort Worth area led in job growth. Unemployment rates fell sharply by early 2019. This shows a strong economy and job market. Kiddie Academy’s expansion here also opens jobs in education and childcare.

Living Costs

When you compare living costs, Fort Worth stands out as more affordable than Dallas. It’s noticeably cheaper, appealing to those who watch their budgets but still seek a vibrant city life.

Key points on Fort Worth’s lower living costs include:

  • Rent in Fort Worth falls 13.13% to 18.67% below Dallas, making housing more affordable.
  • Everyday expenses like groceries and dining out are 3.26% cheaper in Fort Worth.
  • Commuting costs in Fort Worth are 16.67% less than in Dallas.
  • Overall, Fort Worth is at least 7% cheaper than Dallas in all living costs.

Fort Worth offers the advantage of lower rent, consumer prices, and commuting costs, all without compromising life quality. If choosing between Dallas and Fort Worth, these cost differences are crucial.

Safety and Crime Rates

Fort Worth is safer than Dallas. It has a lower crime rate, 3,133 per 100,000 people. Dallas’s rate is higher, at 4,184. This makes Fort Worth a better choice for safety.

In Dallas, you have a 1 in 24 chance of being a crime victim. Fort Worth is safer, with a 1 in 32 chance. This shows Fort Worth is safer.

Also, Dallas’s crime rate is 48.9% above the state average. Fort Worth’s is only 11.5% higher. So, Fort Worth is the safer pick between the two.

Education Systems

Exploring education systems in Dallas and Fort Worth reveals much. Dallas houses Southern Methodist University (SMU), a respected private research university from 1911. It’s known for its comprehensive academic programs and lively campus life. In Fort Worth lies Texas Christian University (TCU), founded in 1873, celebrated for its strong programs in business, education, and fine arts.

Both cities offer:

  • Public schools
  • Private universities
  • Specialized schools
  • Higher education opportunities


In fields like business and fine arts, Dallas and Fort Worth provide rich education systems. SMU and TCU stand as education beacons in their cities, offering students quality academics and a strong career foundation. So, for education, Dallas and Fort Worth are worthy of consideration.


Dallas is bigger than Fort Worth. It has more people and more land. Dallas grows fast. It has a strong economy. It has culture and jobs. Living costs more. But, schools are good. Safety is similar to Fort Worth. Dallas is dynamic. Fort Worth has its own charm.

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