A Long Island Index report prepared by Stony Brook political science professor Leonie Huddy has found a concern among Long Island residents about the threat of youth emigration due to a high cost of living.
The public opinion survey, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates and released in December, revealed that the percentage of Long Islanders who were concerned about “high property taxes, a lack of affordable housing, and young people moving away” was higher than that of residents in any other suburban New York metropolitan area. The sample of Long Island residents also had the highest percentage of people reporting difficulty in paying their monthly rent or mortgage.
The report found that 72 percent of Long Islanders rate youth emigration as a “very serious” or “extremely serious” problem, compared with 44 percent of New Jersey residents and 50 percent of residents in northern New York and Connecticut counties sampled in the survey. This concern was shared widely across different age groups, levels of income and levels of education.
“[These concerns] go hand-in-hand with a record high percentage of people who think they are likely to leave Long Island in five years and who find paying the rent or mortgage to be somewhat or very difficult,” Huddy said in an email.
In the survey, 70 percent of Long Island residents were also polled as being concerned about family members being forced to move out of their county due to the high cost of housing, compared with 64 percent of New Jersey residents and 63 percent of residents in northern New York and Connecticut. Within that 70 percent of Long Island residents, 48 percent were “very concerned” while the remaining 22 percent were “somewhat concerned.”
Huddy also said that while the percentage of people who were polled as being concerned about the issues of youth emigration and a lack of affordable housing has gone down slightly compared to the survey in 2014, the key issue is the overall trend. While these numbers are slightly lower than they were in 2014, they are at about the same level that they were at in 2012.
“I think the more striking findings concern comparisons with equally expensive NY and NJ suburban [areas] where there is a greater supply of multi-family housing such as apartments and condos and people are not as concerned about a lack of affordable housing,” Huddy said.
Other Long Island Index reports have lent credence to residents’ worries of youth emigration. An economic study released in February states that the percentage of people between the ages of 25 and 34 in the Long Island workforce has declined from 16.5 percent in 1990 to 10.9 percent in 2010, and the number of residents between the ages of 15 and 30 in the region is projected to decline by 80,000 from 2015 to 2040.