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Leaving Long Island

Feb 4, 2015

On March 6, 2014 I wrote an entry in this Blog entitled “We’re Losing Our Best Young People.”

All of us on Long Island were hoping that the trends would begin to reverse and hoped that our elected officials would take the appropriate steps to stem that tide.

Almost a year has passed, and unfortunately, the issue still exists.  According to recent studies by the Suburban Millennial Institute and Molloy College, 30% of the young adult Long Islanders who responded said they were planning on leaving Long Island.  According to the study, Long Island also lost 15% of our 20-34 year olds during the last census period while, nationwide, this group actually grew by 5%.

On the positive side, the survey did indicate that 64% of those polled overall planned to remain on Long Island. And it was interesting to note that many of the reasons the 30% had for leaving were also related to the reasons the 64% had for staying!

The major reasons for those who planned on staying were family and social connections that continue to exist here, the feeling that Long island continues to be a good place to raise children, the educational opportunities that exist here, the lifestyle that Long island offers and the opportunities for employment.

The major culprits, according to the 30% who said they plan to leave, continue to be the lack of employment opportunities, a lack of exciting lifestyle options and the high cost of living.

Looking at the numbers in more detail, you can find that those who cited a lack of employment opportunities as a reason for leaving were male and females in their mid-to-late-twenties while those who saw employment as a reason for staying were females in their late twenties and early thirties with a bachelor’s or advanced degree.

Lifestyle was a reason for many to stay, as well for as many to leave.  Those who found Long Island lifestyle as a reason for staying where white females in their late twenties to early thirties, with a bachelor’s degree, who had not been married but planned to have a family, and use public transportation regularly.  Those who indicated that the lifestyle was a reason for leaving were males and females in their early-to-mid-twenties who were never married and do not use public transit regularly.

The studies recommend a continued and more detailed analysis into the information in order to come up with a comprehensive solution; continued attempts to attract business to Long Island; expansion and diversification of housing options; greater investment in public transportation; development of walkable, fun downtown areas and development of a robust family support system for young adults.

Unfortunately, these suggestions weren’t so different a year ago.

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