Jan 20, 2022 - News

Freakonomics covers why everyone's moving to Dallas

A photo of the Dallas skyline through a bridge
Sure is a pretty skyline. Photo: Valerie Macon for AFP via Getty Images

Lifelong New Yorker and Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner had one question: What's the deal with Dallas and why are so many people moving here?

  • The first episode of a two-part series on the appeal of Dallas dropped Wednesday.

Why it matters: Austin gets a lot of attention for attracting Elon Musk and Joe Rogan. Houston is allegedly more neighborly. But Dallas-Fort Worth is an economic powerhouse that will likely become the nation's third-largest metro area.

  • Dubner's interest was sparked by an article claiming Dallas-Fort Worth has become the "de facto capital of America's Heartland."

The big picture: The region's population is projected to reach 10 million people in the 2030s, ranking in size behind only New York City and Los Angeles.

What they're saying: "My biggest surprise was not just the massive population growth in the counties just north of Dallas, but the incredible diversity of that growth," Dubner tells Axios. He'll delve into that issue next week.

  • Dubner has no plans to move here but says he looks forward to future visits: "Now all I need to do is arrange to play some golf with Jordan Spieth, which we tried this time but failed."

The intrigue: The episode delves into the council-manager form of government in Dallas, which means the mayor doesn't actually hold much power. Dubner talks to the current mayor, Eric Johnson, and former mayor Laura Miller.

  • "Dallas is a wonderful place to live with a totally awful city government," Miller says in the episode.
  • Freakonomics also doesn't shy away from Dallas' racist history and how segregated the city remains today.

Of note: The coverage isn't all about population and politics. Dubner dedicates a chunk of the first episode to dining at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse.

  • He says the meat potato "is maybe the best food on earth."

How to listen: Go to freakonomics.com or, you know, wherever you listen to podcasts. The episode will also air soon on KERA.

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