Stopping Long Island’s decline

Long Island Index report outlines changes to improve area’s future


The 2015 report from the Long Island Index warns that, if no steps are taken, Long Island’s economy and future will stagnate over the next 25 years.

The Long Island Index is an organization that publishes annual reports analyzing trends and data about the Island. Its report, titled “Long Island’s Future: Economic Implications of Today’s Choices,” was the organization’s 12th, and was completed by HR&A Advisors Inc., an economic development consulting firm.

“Long Island has enviable resources on which to build — from world-renowned research institutions to our much-admired quality of life and our proximity to New York City,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, president of the Rauch Foundation, which publishes the Index. “Now is the time to engage the public in a strategy to ensure job growth for our region. This initiative points the way, revealing a path now illuminated for us to explore and follow.”

The report presents some stark facts about the Island. Population growth has slowed over the decades. This is especially true for people ages 25-34. This important segment of the population, which makes up the young workers and families that would call Long Island home, has decreased significantly. In 1990, 16.5 percent of Long Island’s population fell into this age bracket. In the 2010 census, it was 10.9 percent.

Good-paying jobs are also leaving the area. Service-sector jobs are filling the gaps left behind by the retreating aerospace industry. In 1986, Northrop Grumman employed 22,500 people on Long Island. Today, it’s 550. A poll conducted by the Index in 2014 said that half of Long Islanders believe that the quality of local jobs has decreased from five years ago.

Extraordinarily high taxes also push people out. The average household tax bill in Nassau County in 2012 was $9,934. For the rest of the country, it was $2,075.

“Long Island has extraordinary potential for economic growth, but it will require a concerted effort around a specific strategy,” said Shuprotim Bhaumik, a partner at HR&A. “This study is designed to highlight such a strategy, generate public discussion of it, and move Long Island toward a consensus on which it can build a dynamic future.”

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