Frisco has become more racially and ethnically diverse since 2010, according to decennial data released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Sept. 16.

Frisco’s overall population jumped by about 71% between 2010 and 2020, from 116,989 to 200,509. The number of residents who identify as white slightly increased from 78,566 to 96,248; however, most other racial and ethnic groups saw high growth, according to the data.

In terms of race and ethnicity, the most growth in both number and percentage occurred within the city’s Asian community. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of residents in this group more than quadrupled from 11,568 to 52,672, according to the census.

“At this point, there doesn’t seem to be any slowdown in the number of folks that are attracted to the community,” Frisco Deputy City Manager Henry Hill said. “The word has certainly gotten out about Frisco being a very desirable community—and I think, importantly, a welcoming community.”

Hill said the city has several amenities that appeal to a wide range of cultures, including the Frisco Ranch Shopping Center with Asian grocery store 99 Ranch Market on Preston Road.

High-paying engineering and computer science jobs, a quality school district and Frisco’s overall reputation, he said, have led to the continued growth in population and diversity.

“Clearly, people are attracted here because of the jobs that are available in the high-tech industries ... and then I think, certainly, the quality of life,” Hill said. “You can move here, but beyond that, you’re a valuable member of the community, and your religious beliefs and traditions are all respected and welcomed.”

A growing community

Census data shows that 1.5 million of the nearly 29 million people in Texas identify as Asian. This represents just over 5% of the state’s population.

In Frisco, about 26% of the city’s residents identify as Asian.

Sunitha Cheruvu is the vice chair for the Frisco Inclusion Committee, an organization among city leaders working to provide a partnership between the city and underrepresented communities. Cheruvu has lived in Frisco for more than 12 years. She said her family moved from Plano to be closer to the Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple on Independence Parkway.

Cheruvu said the committee started in 2019 in collaboration with Mayor Jeff Cheney and Frisco City Council. Among the goals is to broadly educate the Frisco population on different religious practices and celebrate them, Cheruvu said.

In 2020, Cheruvu said the committee was instrumental in organizing Frisco’s first official Diwali celebration in front of city hall. Diwali is a Hindu tradition that is meant to symbolize the victory of good over evil. Celebrations for the Hindu tradition will occur this year from Nov. 2-6.

“It’s very much community driven and community focused,” Cheruvu said. “One of the things [the committee focuses on is] bringing the different celebrations that happen, and bringing them about in an authentic fashion.”

The number of Frisco residents who identify as two or more races rose from 2,749 in 2010 to 9,120 in 2020, a trend seen across much of the state.

According to the bureau, the percentage of people who reported multiple races changed more than all of the other single racial groups across the country in 2020. The bureau expects much of this increase is due to changes in the way the census asks respondents to identify themselves.

Changes to two separate questions for race and ethnicity, data process, and coding enabled a more “thorough and accurate description of how people prefer to self-identify,” according to the bureau.

Cheruvu said the Frisco Inclusion Committee shares that same approach. In the committee’s dialogues with different cultures, the vice chair said a “golden thread of commonality” exists across all cultures.

“Everyone is just seeking to be heard through the common themes of validation that exist across the various communities,” she said. “I love learning about the different cultures, and then just being amazed by the commonalities that we find. ... Having an opportunity like this doesn’t exist in every city.”

Meeting needs

For the 2020-21 school year, the census reported that residents who reside in Frisco ISD boundaries are more than 28% Asian, more than 11% Hispanic or Latino, and more than 10% Black or African American.

FISD Communication Facilitator Korinna Kirchhoff said demographic data directly influences education, determining funding for special education, school nutrition, classroom technology and child health programs.

“Student ambitions and interests guide future curriculum, along with an ever-evolving society,” Kirchhoff said. “The district regularly meets with students as well as community and business leaders to learn about what we as a district can do to better prepare students for their future.”

Frisco ISD annually analyzes the interests of students to modify and improve curriculum, according to Kirchhoff. There are more than 30 programs for STEM, computer science, health science, information technology and more because of the demand from diverse student demographics, she said.

Based on student interest, Kirchhoff said FISD has added a second ethnic studies course, Mexican American Studies, which will be offered next school year.

“Over the last 20-plus years, the district has experienced exponential growth and has gained a wealth of experience managing it well,” Kirchhoff said.

The Frisco Police Department also attempts to understand different cultures. It has an in-house diversity training for both civilian staff and officers called One Frisco-Many Cultures.

In the training, Police Officer Kayla Carney, a department spokesperson, said employees are given thought-provoking scenarios that help identify and analyze situations they may encounter. The overall goal, she said, is to foster fair decisions while being mindful of biases.

Carney said One Frisco-Many Cultures is critical in ensuring proper service for the rapidly growing and diverse city of Frisco.

“The intent of this training is to learn who we are by better understanding those around us,” Carney said. “One Frisco-Many Cultures provides insight on what culture is and how it’s applicable to those who work, live and visit the city of Frisco.”

Business perspectives

Heather Nguyen is a development partner with NewQuest Properties, the company behind the Frisco Ranch Shopping Center. Nguyen has helped develop other popular Texas business complexes, such as Carrollton Town Center and The Shops at Pearland Parkway.

Nguyen said the growth in Frisco’s diversity points back to FISD, which she said is one of the best school districts in the country. She said the top priority for families moving, even within Texas, is to find an excellent school district.

That desire, in tandem with the census reporting an average annual income of $127,055 in 2020, was what Nguyen said intrigued NewQuest to build in the city.

“When we’re building these types of centers, we want it to last 15, 20, 25, 30 years,” Nguyen said. “We build for this future generation of shoppers.”

Nguyen said North Texas residents did not initially realize that the Frisco Ranch Shopping Center had such a wide variety of tenants back when it first opened in 2019. They were already accustomed to driving to Plano and Carrollton for Asian groceries, she said.

But as word spread throughout Frisco, Nguyen said the shopping center’s tenants have seen profits grow by roughly 25%, even after enduring the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“There was a part in 2020 that was rough, but they got through it,” she said. “The Frisco center has actually gotten stronger through COVID[-19], and people appreciate that we have this type of shopping center within the city.”

Al and Anita Teig opened a Frisco branch of Alanita Travel in early 2021 within a popular strip of Indian restaurants and shops on Eldorado Parkway. The agency aims to help clients travel to India and beyond, and Teig praised the sheer volume of Indian families moving into Frisco.

“The number of [Indian] families moving into Frisco is just unbelievable, that being our main clientele,” Al Teig said. “It just blows my mind.”

Alanita Travel is based in Boston, and over the past decade has expanded across the country. Frisco’s rapid growth and diversity led to an easy decision on Al Teig’s part to open a branch. Al Teig said the Frisco location often aids clients who happen to walk into his business with an Overseas Citizenship of India card, or dual citizenship.

“When I do work down there, it just amazes me. I’ll be sitting in the parking lot looking at the cars pulling in. It was just a no-brainer when we saw the development of Frisco,” he said. “Interest is definitely there.”

Erick Pirayesh contributed to this report.