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We’re Losing Our Best Young People

There is a demographic crisis on Long Island.

A recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by Community Housing Innovations has reinforced what many on Long Island have known for years: Our best young minds are leaving Long Island.  What the study found was that that between the 2000 U.S. Census and the Census Bureau’s 2007-11 American Community Survey, the population of young adults, ages 25 to 34, increased by 2.76% nationwide, but fell by an astonishing 14.43% in Nassau County and by 12.74% in Suffolk County.

Not that this is a Long Island issue alone, as Westchester County also showed a decrease of 12.83% in the same age group. Westchester has many of the same unfortunate issues that Long Island faces.

Alexander Roberts, Executive Director of Community Housing Innovations, said “This should be a wake-up call to all of the Long Island exclusive communities to tell them the world has changed.”  He added “Their children no longer want to be driven six miles to get to a supermarket.  They want to have a night life. They like to walk. They like to bike.”  According to the report, Kings Point had the largest loss, 58%, followed by Westhampton with 57%. 

This topic of the Long Island “Brain Drain” has often been addressed and debated.  In the recent race for Nassau County Executive, won by the incumbent, Ed Mangano, a frequent topic discussed was affordable housing for young people, especially around Long Island Railroad stations.  It is often said that the cost of living on Long Island makes it hard for young people to settle here and raise a family.  The study, according to Roberts, does indicate where the young people of Long Island are going: Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.  In those places a young college graduate can find a one bedroom apartment, or share a multi-bedroom apartment, at a reasonable price.  They can also live close to others in the same demographic group and walk to places they want to frequent. While Long Island has pockets of areas like this, for example Rockville Centre and Huntington, most of Long Island does not meet the needs of that group. While competing with Manhattan is a battle that Long Island can never win, losing to Queens and Brooklyn is a tough nut to swallow.

Eric Altstadter CPA is an Audit Partner with over 30 years of experience working with public companies and privately held businesses. He is the Editor-in-Charge of the firm's SEC Trends & Developments newsletter and a member of NY State Society of CPAs.

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