Public Opinion Survey Finds That Residents of Long Island Want More Housing Options – Including Downtowns – for Themselves and Their Families

Survey Also Compares Public Attitudes on Housing among Residents of Long Island and of Nearby Suburbs In New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut

Garden City, NY – December 16, 2015
– A public opinion survey, released today by the Long  Island Index, explores attitudes about housing options and their affordability among residents of Long Island and compares them with those of other nearby suburbs. The survey results are contained in a Long Island Index report titled “Housing Choice and Affordability on Long Island & Beyond: A Survey of Suburban NY Metro Area Residents”. They reveal the following opinions of residents of Long Island and of those of other metro area suburbs in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

 (1)  The concerns of Long Islanders differ from their suburban neighbors in telling ways.

  • Long Islanders are significantly more worried about young people leaving. 72% of Long Islanders rate young people leaving as a very or extremely serious problem compared to 44% of NJ residents and 50% of residents in the NY/CT northern suburbs.
  • Long Islanders are significantly more worried about the lack of affordable housing. 60% of Long Island residents said the lack of affordable housing is a very or extremely serious problem compared to 49% of those in the NY/CT northern suburbs and 47% of residents of the NJ suburbs.
  • Concerns about paying their monthly housing costs have reached an all-time high for Long Islanders. 62% of Long Island residents say that it is somewhat or very difficult to pay the rent compared to 52% of NJ and 58% of NY/CT residents. Over the last 10 years, the number of Long Islanders who say it is difficult to meet their monthly housing costs has risen steadily from 47% in 2004 to the current all-time high of 62% in 2015.”

(2)  There is a sea change afoot in what Long Islanders prefer in terms of housing options.

  • While the single-family home has always been king on Long Island and only a relatively small percentage live in other housing options, Long Islanders are looking for something quite different in the very near future. Today 15% of Long Islanders live in an apartment, condo or townhouse, but in 5 years 29% said they want to live in one of these options.

(3)    Long Islanders embrace change.

  • There is majority support for solutions that would make housing more affordable. This included 62% of Long Islanders who support changing zoning laws to make it easier to install a rental apartment in a single-family home.
  • There is also broad support for making local downtowns more residential. A majority of residents supported raising height limits in local downtowns to build apartments. This proposal is especially popular among young Long Island residents: 70% of those aged 18-34 support this kind of change.
  • A majority (51%) of Long Island residents aged 18-34 can imagine themselves or a family member living in a local downtown area. There is also majority support for building new multi-level parking garages in local downtowns.

The report and the survey were commissioned by the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation. The report was prepared by Professor Leonie Huddy in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University; the survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. The survey reflects telephone interviews conducted in the fall of 2015 by cell phone and landline with a randomly selected sample of Long Island residents, as well as randomly selected samples of residents in the northern New York and Connecticut suburbs and suburban New Jersey.

“This survey reveals how Long Island has fallen behind its suburban competitors when it comes to addressing housing costs,” said Leonie Huddy, Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. “As a result, more and more Long Islanders are forced to leave the communities that they cherish.”

“This study shows that Long Islanders want more of the housing choices that their suburban neighbors have and that they support the zoning changes needed to provide it,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “Long Island’s limited housing options have a direct and negative impact on the ability of its economy to grow.”

The full report is available at It includes additional information on the survey’s methodology, as well as the questionnaire and responses.


About the Long Island Index
Now in its 12th year, the Long Island Index is a source of unbiased reliable data for businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, educators, and townships throughout the region. Funded by the Rauch Foundation, its overarching goals are to measure where we are and show trends over time, encourage regional thinking, compare Long Island’s situation with those in similar regions, increase awareness of issues and their interrelatedness, and inspire Long Islanders to work together to achieve shared goals. The Long Island Index is available for download at; its interactive maps – an online resource with detailed demographic, residential, transportation and educational information – as well as the Build a Better Burb website are also accessible from the Index’s website.

About the Rauch Foundation
The Rauch Foundation ( is a Long Island-based family foundation that invests in ideas and organizations that spark and sustain early success in children and systemic change in our communities. The Foundation was established in 1961 by Louis Rauch and Philip Rauch, Jr. Funding for the Foundation was made possible by the success of the Ideal Corporation, an auto parts manufacturer founded in 1913 by their father, Philip Rauch, Sr.


Media Contact: Danielle Hundt, Rauch Foundation; 516.873.9808 x202