Location and layout
Metroplex is a term often used to describe the area encompassing Dallas and Fort Worth, a city located 48 km/30 mi. west. The entire Metroplex – located in northeastern Texas – boasts a population of 6.5 million people.
Dallas itself is the ninth-largest U.S. city. It is 850 sq km/330 sq mi, with a population of about 1.2 million. The North Texas region has experienced incredible growth in recent years, adding about a million residents in the decade between the 2000 and 2010 census counts.
Texas's reputation for vastness is borne out in the Metroplex. Although commercial blocks have grown to form a dense city landscape, the surrounding area suggests openness and space. Dallas's landmark Reunion Tower is clearly visible from Fort Worth.
Characterized by relatively flat terrain, the area is punctuated by the Trinity River, which flows through the heart of town. Roads and highways encircle the city, and radiate out like spokes of a wheel. Theoretically, travel around the city should be easy, but in fact traffic congestion is common.
Dallas was established at the forks of the Trinity River in 1841. The city grew slowly at first. Within the first two decades, French artists and intellectuals set up an artists' colony known as La Réunion. This group lent Dallas a sophistication that has lasted and developed over a century and a half.
The Texas & Pacific Railroad train arrived in 1872, sparking a boom that ensured Dallas' status as a center of trade. New Yorkers, Chicagoans, Bostonians, and St. Louisites invested heavily in the city. When cotton prices soared in the 1920s, so did local land values. Striking oil at the East Texas Oil Field in 1930 spurred Dallas on to became the oil industry's financial center.
High-tech companies arrived in the 1950s, infusing the economy with new opportunities. Since then, the area has grown and the economy has diversified to encompass much more than the oil for which Texas is known. These days, the Metroplex's largest employers are American Airlines, Bank of America, Texas Health Resources, and Dallas ISD (Independent School District). Major high-tech employers are AT&T, Verizon, Texas Instruments, and Raytheon. These latter four represent communications, manufacuring, and defense industries.
Dallas is known among Americans as the spot where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1964.
Living in Dallas
Today, suburbs north of Dallas make up an area nicknamed Telecom Corridor thanks to the presence of hundreds of communications, computer gaming, 'clean tech', cloud computing, and semiconductor firms.
Cosmopolitan and commercially driven, Dallas has a concentration of corporate headquarters. Forbes ranks the city #13 in its list of Best Places for Business and Careers in 2013. It is the largest wholesale market in the world, thanks to the Dallas Market Center, a wholesale trade complex. All this in addition to the oil on which Dallas was originally built.
The city is relatively affordable, compared to other U.S. cities. Texas has no state income tax; however, sales tax is high at 8.25 percent and property taxes are high. (The actual state sales tax is 6.25%, but cities have the option of charging an additional two percent.) Forbes reports that the cost of living in Dallas in 2013 is 5.7 percent above the national average.
Shopping is a pastime and a passion for Dallasites. Per capita, there are more shopping centers in Dallas than in any other main U.S. city. Restaurants are also plentiful, with more eateries per capita than New York City.
Dallas natives exude a southern warmth that is welcoming to newcomers. Neighborhoods have a planned, landscaped feel and an increasingly international population.