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History of Mexican Americans in Dallas–Fort Worth

El Fenix Restaurant in Downtown Dallas

There is a rapidly growing Mexican-American population in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.


  • History 1
  • Demographics 2
    • Education 2.1
  • Geography 3
  • Economy 4
  • Notable residents 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • Notes 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10


Sol Villasana, the author of Dallas's Little Mexico, wrote that "Mexicans have been part of Dallas since its beginning."[1] In the 1870s the first significant groups of Mexicans came to Dallas as railroad lines were constructed. Additional Mexicans settled Dallas as a result of the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910.[1]

According to the 1920 U.S. Census, 3,378 Mexicans lived in Dallas.[2] In the early 20th century, wealthier Mexicans lived in Little Mexico and in the historical red-light area of Dallas north of Downtown, while less wealthy immigrants lived along railroad yards.[1] Caroline B. Brettell, author of '"Big D" Incorporating New Immigrants in a Sunbelt Suburban Metropolis,' wrote that as of 1920 the majority of Dallas's Mexicans "were living in atrocious conditions."[2]

After World War II Little Mexico began to disintegrate.[3]

In 2009 the City of Dallas began pursuing an EB-5 investment program, attracting wealthier Mexicans. By 2012 there was a wave of wealthy Mexican immigration, due to the program, the proximity and access of Mexico to North Texas, and the violence of the Mexican drug war.[4]


As of the 2000 U.S. Census, 71% of the foreign-born residents of Dallas originated in Mexico, as were 64% of the foreign-born residents of McKinney, and 22% of the foreign-born residents of Plano.[5]


Rapid growth of the Hispanic community in the last decade has now made them majority in a fair share of school districts in the DFW area. These school districts include: Dallas ISD, Fort Worth ISD, Arlington ISD, Irving ISD, Richardson ISD, Mesquite ISD, Garland ISD, Grand Prairie ISD, and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD. [6]


As of the 2000 U.S. Census, 63% of the ethnic Mexicans in Dallas County resided in the Dallas city limits. Many Mexicans in Dallas live in lower income housing, especially in South Dallas.[5]

As of 2000 there was a large group of ethnic Mexicans living north of Arlington in an area south of Interstate 30, and a smaller group in the cities between Dallas and Fort Worth south of U.S. Highway 183.[5]


As of 2012 there are about 20 daily flights between Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Mexico.[4]

El Fenix, a Tex-Mex restaurant chain, was established by Mike Martinez, a Mexican American. It was established on September 15, 1918. Christina Rosales of The Dallas Morning News wrote that it "has been credited with starting the Tex-Mex craze in the U.S."[7]

Pizza Patrón, headquartered in Dallas, markets itself to Mexican American families.[8] It was established by Antonio Swad, a person not of Mexican origins.

Notable residents

See also


  • Brettell, Caroline B. '"Big D" Incorporating New Immigrants in a Sunbelt Suburban Metropolis' (Chapter 3). In: Singer, Audrey, Susan Wiley Hardwick, and Caroline Brettell. Twenty-First Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America (James A. Johnson metro series). Brookings Institution Press, 2009. ISBN 0815779283, 9780815779285. Start p. 53.
  • Villasana, Sol. Dallas's Little Mexico (Images of America). Arcadia Publishing, 2011. ISBN 0738579793, 9780738579795.


  1. ^ a b c Villasana, p. 7.
  2. ^ a b Brettell, p. 56.
  3. ^ Villasana, p. 8.
  4. ^ a b Corchado, Alfredo. "High-end migrants from Mexico lead new wave to Dallas area" (Archive). The Dallas Morning News. November 24, 2012. Updated November 25, 2012. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Brettell, p. 61.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Rosales, Christina. "Dallas-based El Fenix restaurants celebrate 93 years of Tex-Mex tradition." The Dallas Morning News. September 20, 2011. Updated September 21, 2011. Retrieved on September 21, 2014.
  8. ^ Meraji, Marisol Shereen. "Pizza Chain That Markets To Mexicans Says New Promotion Isn't Profane" (Archive). National Public Radio. March 15, 2014. Retrieved on September 22, 2014.

Further reading

  • Cordell, Dennis D. (Southern Methodist University) and Manuel Garcia y Griego (University of Texas at Arlington). "THE INTEGRATION OF NIGERIAN AND MEXICAN IMMIGRANTS IN DALLAS/FORT WORTH, TEXAS" (Archive) - International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP) XXV International Population Conference, 2005. Working paper.
  • Watson, Walter T. "Mexicans in Dallas." Southwest Review 22 (1937): p. 406.

External links

  • Dallas Mexican American Historical League (DMAHL)
  • Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA)
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