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50

DeSoto Enclave of Black Prosperity

Population: 49,540 | Area: 21.5 sq mi
Photo By City of DeSoto

In May, D Magazine published a report about how black professionals across the country perceive Dallas. Attorney W. Keith Robinson appeared in the story. He’d recently moved from Alexandria, Virginia, to take a teaching job at SMU. “It’s not that I feel uncomfortable or unwelcome,” he told D. “It’s just, I know there are other black professionals in the city. Where are they?” Short answer: they’re in DeSoto. For years, North Oak Cliff was where upper- and middle-class African-Americans created community. Now that’s changing. “You had people of my generation whose parents were first-generation college graduates, so they were able to move to Oak Cliff,” says Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. He grew up in Oak Cliff and moved to DeSoto 10 years ago. “The value of the homes in Oak Cliff got a lot higher than the average income level can afford, so that’s why you have so many people of color here.” In 1990, 21 percent of DeSoto’s population was African-American. That increased to 46 percent in 2000 and 67 percent in 2010. The town’s city manager, Tarron Richardson, is African-American, as is Mayor Carl Sherman, two of the seven school board members, four of the city’s seven council members, and probably 60 percent of the Thorntree Country Club membership. “A lot of African-Americans are moving in who are solidly middle class and some on the upper end of the middle class,” says Watkins’ wife, Tanya. “You just don’t really see that anywhere else in Dallas or its suburbs. There’s something nice about having a middle-income African-American neighborhood, people who have similar morals, values, achievements, goals.”

Demographics

  • Median Age: 37.8
  • Population Growth: 4.1 %
  • Population Density: 2304.2 ppl/sq mile

Schools

  • School District: DeSoto ISD
  • Students Passing TAKS: 68%
  • Average SAT Score: 849

Crime:

  • Violent Crime Rate: 2.752 per 1,000 residents
  • Non-Violent Crime Rate: 33.8 per 1,000 residents

Real Estate:

  • Average Price of Homes Sold: $128,054