Long Island’s Changing Population
As the most populated island in the United States, and the 17th most populous in the world, Long Island has an estimated population of 7.75 million people. If Long Island were a state, it would be the 13th most populous, and the 1st in terms of population density with roughly 5,500 people per square mile. Long Island’s level of population growth is a fundamental benchmark of how attractive it is to live here. Yes, Long Island is quite populated, however things are beginning to change…
Although Long Island is very populated, and its population does continue to increase, it is important to note that since 2008 Long Island’s population growth has been somewhat slower than other suburban areas in the New York region, and much slower than New York City’s or the nation as a whole. Over the long run, minimal or slow growth in Long Island’s population makes it difficult for businesses to expand or sometimes even remain in business, negatively effecting Long Island’s economy.
Back in May 2014, we had crafted an article detailing the mass exodus of 25-34 year olds due to the lack of affordable and diverse housing, lack of exciting career opportunities, and lack of an engaging lifestyle. This issue, coined the “Brain Drain,” has been occurring heavily since 2010 in the least diverse communities with the most expensive housing, which also happen to be those that have little to no affordable multifamily housing. As Long Island is making little changes in the multifamily housing development, its no surprise that brain drain is still extremely relevant and ongoing. If affordable and diverse housing is not created and developed, this issue is likely to remain and Long Island will continue to see this demographic fleeting Long Island for a more affordable, realistic, and exciting lifestyle. The increasing loss of 25-34 year-olds is an important and serious issue not only because a decrease in population growth could make Long Island a less attractive place to live, but because this age group includes new entrants into the labor face and many first time home buyers. This is where Long Island’s population growth truly becomes affected and the brain drain issue becomes realized.
A continued demand for focus needs to be made in order to get Long Island back on track. Affordable and diverse housing must be created to make Long Island the attractive and successful place it can and should be. Logically, an increase in residents requires an increase in housing and services, however, an increase in residents also adds to the vibrancy of growing communities and an increase in sales for local businesses. The positivity resulting from these changes would greatly help Long Island’s population growth steadily increase.