Dallas Demographics and Lifestyle

Dallas conjures up visions of cowboy hats and oil wells to people who haven’t been there, but what can you really expect when you retire in Dallas? Here’s a quick rundown on the people, wildlife, and natural forces that make Dallas what it is.

Meet Your Fellow Dallasites

Dallas has more than 1.2 million residents with a diverse ethnic makeup. The census bureau found in 2010 that about half of Dallasites self-identify as white, a quarter identify as African-American, roughly 40% identify as Hispanic, and almost 3% as Asian. (The numbers add up to more than 100% due to overlap among categories.) Women made up exactly 50% of the population in 2010, and almost 9% of Dallas residents were age 65 or older.

Dallas’ strong economy and low cost of living draw in residents from across the US and beyond. Census figures show 24% of Dallas residents were born outside the US, and more than 40% of Dallasites speak more than one language. Local nonprofit DFW International posts updated maps and links to the many immigrant communities in and around Dallas and sponsors cultural festivals and other events.

Dallas Weather and Other Forces of Nature

Newcomers should expect summer heat. July is the hottest month where temperatures regularly push into the upper 90s and low 100s. Dallas winters are relatively mild, although snow and ice sometimes bring traffic and city operations to a halt. Dallas has had an unusual series of small earthquakes in recent years, which some engineers and geologists suspect are linked to wastewater disposal from oil “fracking.”

The real forces of nature to prepare for in Dallas are floods and tornados. They’re rare but a real threat to life and property. If you’ve never lived in a flash flood zone, take some time to learn about these floods, because they are extremely dangerous. The city of Dallas has extensive flood safety tips, including the most important: Never drive or walk into floodwater, especially water moving over a roadway.

Dallas has outdoor warning sirens that you’ll hear during an emergency like a tornado or hail storm. Go indoors immediately if you hear the sirens. Move to your interior hallway, bathroom, or built-in storm safe room and follow the news on your radio, TV, or phone. Because Dallas gets such severe weather from time to time, it’s a good idea to purchase flood insurance and a weather radio with a battery backup.

Flora and Fauna of Dallas

Dallas isn’t all storms and floods. Even in the city itself, nature flourishes. DFW Urban Wildlife posts local pictures of bobcats, river otters, leopard frogs, and many birds. Locals have photographed bald eagles at White Rock Lake.

As for Texas’ fearsome spiders and snakes, the Texas tarantulas are harmless and slow-moving. UT-Arlington researchers say most Dallas-area venomous-snakebite victims are young men, often intoxicated, who handle the snakes on purpose. Thank goodness for age and wisdom!

Dallas’ other acclaimed wild things are its spring wildflowers. Local media outlets post wildflower predictions weeks ahead of anticipated blossoms, and photographers—amateur and professional—seek out the best fields of bluebonnets for only-in-Texas portraits. Texans know not to sit directly on the ground for your flower photos, or you may end up with fire ant bites. Find the best spots like the locals do, by following wildflower sightings on Facebook and taking a wildflower tour with friends. Then proudly share your photos with distant family and pals to impress them with how beautiful your new hometown is.

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