Who lives in Dallas? No, not not you, suburbs. We mean big D, little A, double L, A, S, the actual city, a curious place with some expensive, high-class entertainment areas and homes but then also a lot of poverty and some Detroit-like patches.
City officials decided to investigate that question, and the result is a report published last week, Neighborhood Plus. Buried in its jargon-laden slides are loads of charts about how Dallas is hollowing out the middle class and median incomes are dropping like a stone. But we knew that already. What's new here are some major discoveries that City Hall has made about the Dallas' population. The four "dominant groups" who live here, listed in the image above, are Young Diverse Families, Urban Loving Millennials, Dallas Baby Boomers and Hardworking Households. Their defining characteristics are fascinating.
Hardworking Households have lower-paying jobs, but that's not all. "Despite lower incomes, still want to keep their family happy and content." And here we thought lower-income people just liked to throw their families into fire pits and be done with it.
The Urban-Loving Millennial is a well-educated person who "shops at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods" and has a decent enough paying job to afford it. (If you are a millennial who does not love urbanity or is poor, you will promptly be removed and escorted back to Seagoville).
The Dallas Baby Boomers, who sound as though they could be the millennials' parents, "listen to WRR" and "rack up airline miles," according to their description in the Neighborhood Plus report. (This is a surprisingly rare group, as the population of WRR listeners is only somewhat north of that vital Dallas demographic subset, Inuit Sword Swallowers.)
But Dallas officials seem to be beating around the bush in describing their largest demographic, the "Young Diverse Families," a group they also describe as "Barrios Urbanos," "NeWest Residents" or "Las Casas." This group appears to like the Spanish language, or at least Spanglish. According to the report, these people also "love soccer." Hmm. These sound something like the people at my favorite torta shop, unless "love soccer" refers to the rest of the entire planet outside U.S. borders.
This particular group likes to "spend on diapers," so much so that it's become a defining characteristic, for some reason. They also "favor energy drinks" and, of course, furniture. We can only assume that someone in City Hall got that from all of the beautiful free couches left on East Dallas' sidewalks.
Sadly, these lists seem hopelessly vague and not nearly specific enough to define all the social groups here. So we've added some suggestions for the next Neighborhood Plus report. Feel free to add yours in the comments:
The People Who Live In the Tiny House Right Next to the Bishop Arts District They're the invisible breed who actually live in the old houses that you illegally park in front of so you can walk to get a $5 slice of pie in Dallas' favorite "walkable" neighborhood, because you're an asshole. Stop blocking their driveways, you damn Urban-Loving Millennial, before someone gets Urbano on your ass.
People Quarantined for Ebola They live in the M Streets, Vickery Meadows or just work for Presby. You stopped speaking to them in October, but then suddenly became their friend again in December and now swear that you were there for them the whole time.
The People Who Keep Dive Bars In Business During Weekdays Dallas still has a healthy population of this group, also known People Who Go To Bars Every Day, Alone. Nevertheless, their future is threatened because of habitat loss caused by frequent encroachment by Urban-Loving Millennials into their nesting areas, which is inevitably followed by its destruction by Baby Boomer developers.
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The Millennials Who Always Bitch About Missing Austin Not all Urban-Loving Millennials love this particular urban. Quite a few ended up here on accident, because this was where their job was after they graduated college. But as soon as they can, they're taking wing and migrating back to Austin. Please don't tell them that they're the future Dallas grandparents of the coming generation of Urban-Loving Millennials, as their piecing screams cut like a knife through the heads of The People Who Keep Dive Bars In Business During Weekdays.
The Rich People Who Live In Cool Areas But Complain About Noise Distantly related to Bishop Arts' tiny-house dwellers, these people want Dallas to be a great city with lots to do (and pie), but if the cool stuff to do is near their new condos, they will complain. This group comprises an intermediate stage of development between Millennials Who Always Bitch About Missing Austin and death.
Dallas Media/Writer People An extremely important group of people, they like to get in bar fights over obscure indie bands. Often found alongside members of The People Who Keep Dive Bars In Business During Weekdays subset. Prone to making silly lists, they might have been one of the The Rich People Who Live In Cool Areas But Complain About Noise but tanked their SATs because of wicked hangovers and general screwing off.
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.