Why Are Young People Leaving Long Island?

By Harper Lee

According to a survey done by Long Island index just last year, Long Island is experiencing a mass exodus. To be more precise, roughly 71 percent of young adults currently residing in Long Island are determined to leave it behind in the next five years to come. This has people around the tristate area wondering why are so many young people leaving Long Island. And the answer is simple enough—no prospective jobs and not enough income to afford housing. But let’s go a step further and truly explore why this is happening.

Top 3 reasons for young people leaving Long Island behind

There are always different variables that turn people away from their current housing situations. And this is one of the reasons why people in the U.S. tend to relocate an average of 12 times during their lifetime. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but the fact remains that it’s happening, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Next exit—leaving Long Island for a better life.

So, what it is that is driving Long Islanders to abandon the neighborhoods they were born and grew up in? The survey mentioned earlier shows that 59 percent of all adults in Long Island are likely to relocate in the years to come. And according to our research, the three main reasons for this are:

  1. Expensive housing and high standard
  2. Low average income
  3. No prospect of improvement

What is the impact of housing and living standard currently?

When a recent research was conducted in Woodbury, it found that from Long Island adults between the ages of 18 and 34, as many as 41 percent still live with their parents. Why? Because they can’t afford a place of their own. And there are two simple explanations for this:

  • Properties are too expensive to buy. The fact of the matter is that the cost of living in Long Island has exploded in the past decade. With its vicinity to NYC, commuters looking to escape the urban jungle of the Big Apple have been taking refuge in Long Island (among other places). As a result, real estate opportunities have dropped and home prices have skyrocketed.
  • There aren’t enough housing solutions for renting. With so many newcomers in the past couple of decades, rental properties have become scarce. The only option that young adults in Long Island have nowadays is to trade in their parent’s basement for the basement of some other stranger in the city.

Don’t forget the cost of living

According to the 2018 family budget calculation done by the Economic Policy Institute, Long Island is far from affordable. In fact, the group estimates a family of two adults and two children in the Nassau/Suffolk metro area would need to earn a combined $139,545 per year to lead a normal and comfortable life. That would mean $11,629 per month. Not really what you might call an everyday income. When compared with the New York metro area, this annual budget is around $15,000 dollars higher. So, young people leaving Long Island definitely have good reasons to do so from a financial perspective.

The cost of living is one of the main reasons for young people leaving Long Island.

Next comes the reality check in terms of low income

Despite what we might think, the fact remains that if your annual household income in Long Island goes below six figures, you are below the line. Leaving Long Island for farther and more promising opportunities is becoming a more popular notion by the day because of this. Although there are profitable job opportunities to be found in Long Island, it’s simply not enough for young adults living there.

According to the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, more than 45 percent of the population in Long Island who are working are unable to cover their basic expenses, and wages have really been stagnant. And this is one of the top three reasons why they decide to substitute the once-comfortable surroundings of Long Island with cities outside the state of New York.

No promise of improvement any time soon

And so we come to the third large issue—the lack of initiative to change the current situation. This all is a complex issue that definitely can’t be resolved overnight. However, sometimes the effort alone can be enough to change the minds of people and raise their morale. Unfortunately, this is not the case for young people leaving Long Island in search of a better future. From their feedback and comments, they’ve waited long enough and simply fail to see any movement forward. You are either one of the lucky ones in the system or among the large number of less fortunate ones.

Where are Long Islanders going in search of new beginnings

Well, according to recent polls, more than a million people left the New York area in the last several years. Most of them found a potential for a better life in states such as Florida, Texas, Colorado and Oregon. Young people are searching for cities that are still developing and growing every day. And most young people leaving Long Island are able to find just that in cities such as:

  • Boca Raton, FL
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Denver, CO
  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  • Portland, OR

Florida has always been a logical choice for New Yorkers to call new home.

Any of these cities has shown great promise in the last decade when it comes to development and quality of life. So, it should come as no surprise that Long Islanders looking for a new home to relocate to find the solution there.

Harper Lee is a longtime New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn. She started her career by traveling and writing informal blogs about different places to visit and explore in across the U.S. Today, she focuses her efforts on helping people that are looking to relocate. She writes for Capital City Movers NYC, a professional moving company based in Brooklyn. There, she shares different tips and insight on how to make relocation easy on yourself.

Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.


  1. You forgot the rediculous taxes, high electric rates, high fuel rates. All the same reasons I left after earning my physics degree from SUNY in 1983. Best decision of my life. All you have left is nice beaches. Good luck and maybe start thinking about voting different!

  2. It’s not just young people leaving. It’s retirees too and everyone in between. I know plenty of working age boomers, GenX, etc. that are planning their escape as well!

  3. Well written article, you cannot possibly include everything Long Island and its politicians do to pounce on the working class. Taxes, LIRR rates, ridiculous Cablevision pricing, PSEG a farce, the roads STINK, the garbage all over the roads.
    Long Island is currently for the very rich, or the very poor. Seniors, college-educated students, the 20s-30s crowd gets nothing.
    The working class is so angry you can’t drive on any street on Long Island presently without anger and aggression .
    Good luck, I’m leaving for Florida…….over 30 yrs here on Long Island and NO ONE cares about the future.
    Its ALL around you everyday and it spells GARBAGE….just look around….UNLESS you’re in Garden City, East Hampton or some place where money matters……and it’s flaunted.

  4. I left Long Island in 1996 and moved to Florida. Currently in Jacksonville Florida there are numerous job opportunities. $140,000 will buy you a beautiful condo on a 22 acre lake, Olympic size swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center, clubhouse, RV and boat parking, car detail area, play ground and tennis courts, close proximity to beautiful beaches and high-end shopping, etc…
    I am visiting Long Island right now on vacation and staying in the house that I grew up in. Down the street they built these $500,000 condos with absolutely no amenities across the street from a 7-Eleven. Streets are poorly maintained and traffic is unbearable. The conversations my family and friends on Long Island are dominated by their employment and financial frustrations. The majority of the people here on Long Island appear to be very stressed out.
    My friends and neighbors in Florida live very well on far less money and minimal stress. My quality of life has improved greatly since moving to Florida.

Leave a Reply




Rich Robinson’s Black Crowes Cover Faves

When it comes to bands that have a deep appreciation and reverence for rock and roll history, The Black Crowes have always been unabashed...

Calendar of Events June 9-20

Here is a selection of happenings and events in the Long Island Weekly coverage area. Wednesday, June 9 Circus History Landmark on Main’s Afternoon T.E.A. program hosts...

Calendar Of Events June 3 To June 13

Here is a selection of activities and events in the Long Island Weekly coverage area. Thursday, June 3 Inside the Mind of a Whale Virtual program starts...

Railroad ‘Frontline Worker’ Lauded By MTA, Knicks

Kim Rognon, a ticket agent at the Long Island Rail Road’s Syosset station, was recently recognized by the New York Knicks as part of...

Airpower Museum Hosts Memorial Day Weekend Activities

Bethpage Air Show planes and others get their close-ups Memorial Day Weekend is when we honor our fallen veterans, the sacrifices made by active duty...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.