Denton County, Texas, ranks among the swiftest expanding and most affluent counties both in the state and the nation. It’s an integral part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region and boasts a diverse and educated populace. Nevertheless, a notable portion of its residents, particularly within certain neighborhoods, grapple with poverty.
As per the U.S. Census Bureau, Denton County had a poverty rate of 7.5% in 2021, signifying that around 70,121 out of 931,585 individuals lived below the poverty threshold. For a family of four in Texas, this threshold stood at $26,246 in 2021.
Poverty rates exhibit considerable variation across the county’s different neighborhoods, influenced by factors such as income, education, employment, housing, and access to services. Some neighborhoods experience poverty rates exceeding 20%, while others have rates as low as 2% or even less. Here, we highlight five of Denton County’s least affluent neighborhoods based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey spanning from 2017 to 2021:
Denton serves as the county seat and is its largest city, positioned at the crossroads of Interstate 35E and Interstate 35W. With a population of approximately 120,000, it consists primarily of White and Hispanic residents. Home to the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University, Denton also harbors the distinction of being one of the county’s poorest neighborhoods, registering a poverty rate of 19.5%.
This rate is more than twice the county average. Denton’s median household income amounted to $55,833, merely half of the county’s median income of $110,000. The unemployment rate here was 6%, exceeding the county’s 4.4% average. The area faces challenges like a high cost of living, low homeownership rates, and inadequate affordable housing.
2. Pilot Point
Situated in the northeastern reaches of Denton County along U.S. Route 377, Pilot Point constitutes a rural community of approximately 4,000 residents, primarily White and Hispanic. Despite being home to Ray Roberts Lake State Park, a prominent recreational destination, Pilot Point is also one of the county’s most financially disadvantaged areas.
It records a poverty rate of 17.8%, over twice the county’s average. The median household income in Pilot Point reached $47,500, which is less than half of the county’s median income. A 5% unemployment rate prevails, surpassing the county’s 4.4% rate. This neighborhood grapples with low educational attainment, restricted healthcare access, and scarce economic prospects.
3. Lake Dallas
Positioned along Lewisville Lake in the southeast of Denton County, Lake Dallas is a suburban vicinity inhabited by approximately 8,000 individuals, mostly White and Hispanic. Lake Dallas High School serves as a central educational institution in the area.
While the poverty rate here stands at 10.1%, above the county’s 7.5% average, the median household income is $66,250, equivalent to around two-thirds of the county median. The unemployment rate rests at 4%, lower than the county’s 4.4% rate. Nevertheless, challenges encompass issues like traffic congestion, environmental concerns, and a scarcity of social services.
4. Paloma Creek South
Found along U.S. Route 380 in the eastern part of Denton County, Paloma Creek South is a suburban enclave of around 6,000 residents, predominantly White and Asian. Paloma Creek Elementary School caters to children from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Despite its affluent appearance, Paloma Creek South features a poverty rate of 8.6%, surpassing the county’s 7.5% average. The median household income here is $87,500, around four-fifths of the county median. Unemployment rests at 3%, lower than the county’s 4.4% rate. The neighborhood confronts issues such as rapid population growth, elevated living costs, and infrastructure deficiencies.
Savannah, a suburban region to the east along Farm to Market Road 1385, hosts roughly 5,000 inhabitants, primarily White and Hispanic. This area features the private Savannah Clubhouse and Waterpark, which offers a range of recreational amenities.
Savannah’s poverty rate is 4.5%, lower than the county’s 7.5% average but higher than certain neighborhoods. The median household income is $100,000, about ninety percent of the county median. The unemployment rate is 2%, lower than the county’s 4.4% rate. However, this neighborhood contends with challenges like substantial homeowners association fees, limited public transportation, and a lack of diversity.
These neighborhoods within Denton County, Texas, grapple with substantial economic and social challenges, but they also possess a wealth of history, culture, and community vitality. By addressing the root causes of poverty and inequality—low incomes, limited education, scarce employment, and inadequate access to services—these neighborhoods can surmount their obstacles and realize their potential.