New Study Details Broad Shifts in Long Island's Demographics

The Long Island Index this week released compelling research that looks at Long Island’s changing demographics and ways to address some longstanding economic challenges. The study, “Long Island’s Future: Economic Implications of Today’s Choices,” discusses the potential benefits of steps such as expanding Long Island’s biomedical sector and increasing the supply of multifamily housing, particularly around current and planned mass transportation.

The report, prepared by consulting firm HR&A Advisors Inc. in consultation with RPA, warns that Long Island’s potential will be greatly reduced if current economic and demographic trends persist. A continued decline in the young adult population, a shortage of high-paying jobs, limited housing options and high property taxes all threaten Long Island’s prosperity, the report says. But game-changing policy interventions, including an increase in multifamily housing and support for the biomedical industry, could reverse the trajectory.

The Long Island Index also compiled detailed interactive maps prepared by the CUNY Mapping Service that reveal how the area’s population has changed since 1970. To accompany the maps, RPA’s Christopher Jones and David Sabatino prepared a report for the Index that highlights the dramatic increase in racial and ethnic diversity across Long Island during the time period. The biggest changes have occurred in the last two decades, as Long Island’s Hispanic and Asian population nearly tripled in size, and the black population grew by 42%. There also were striking changes in age, education, employment and income. 

The Long Island Index is an initiative of the Rauch Foundation that looks at vital issues facing the region.