Long Island Index Survey Finds That Long Islanders Want More Housing Options, So They Can Stay on Long Island

41% of Young Adults Now Live with Relatives – Up from 35% Two Years Ago

Garden City, NY – January 17, 2018 – A public opinion survey released today by the Long Island Index, a project of the Rauch Foundation, explores attitudes about housing among residents of Long Island and compares them with those of other nearby suburbs in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The survey results – contained in the Long Island Index report “Long Island Index Poll: Long Islanders Want More Housing Options” – reveal that Long Islanders want more housing options, so they can stay on Long Island. They see the lack of affordable housing as a major problem – in sharp contrast to nearby competing suburbs. They are also clear in their support for specific housing options.

Underlying the concerns is the difficulty that Long Islanders have in meeting their monthly housing costs. 60% of Long Islanders report difficulty, compared to 48% for the NJ suburbs and 53% for the NY/CT suburbs.

As a result, Long Islanders view a lack of affordable housing as a more serious problem than residents of the NJ and NY/CT suburbs. 64% of Long Island residents say that it is a very or extremely serious problem, compared to 33% of those in the NJ suburbs and 42% of those in the NY/CT suburbs. That’s a stunning 31% difference between Long Island and New Jersey.

As a result, 59% of Long Islanders – an all-time high – say they are somewhat or very likely to leave in the next five years for a more affordable area – an increase of 10% in the last five years. That’s especially notable, since Long Islanders underscore their strong connection to Long Island.

When asked “How strongly do you identify with Long Island or your county?”, 58% of Long Islanders respond, “Very Strongly” – compared to 23% of those in New Jersey and 29% in NY/CT. Long Islanders are dramatically more passionate about their connection to the area (a 35% difference compared to New Jersey), yet they are likely to leave for a more affordable place.

The challenge of affordable housing is especially stark for young adults on Long Island. 41% of young adults (aged 18 to 34) report living with parents, in-laws, or other relatives – an increase from 35% in 2015. 71% of young adults are somewhat or very likely to leave in the next five years.

To address this situation, the survey finds that Long Islanders want more housing options, and they are specific about the options. 68% of Long Island residents support a change in zoning laws to make it easier to install a rental apartment in a single-family home. There is majority support for this among all age groups – from 58% among those 65 and older to 83% among those 18-34.

57% of Long Island residents support raising height limits in local downtowns from two to four stories to build apartments above stores. This proposal is especially popular among young adults (74%) and renters (67%). 62% of Long Islanders also support building new multi-level parking facilities compared to 35% who oppose it.

This support for more housing options mirrors changing housing expectations of Long Islanders. The number of Long Island residents who expect to live in a single-family home in five years has dropped 9% since 2015 to 65%. The number who expect to live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse in five years has increased 11% since 2015 to 26%.

“The survey results underscore the growing challenge of a lack of affordable housing on Long Island,” said Dr. Leonie Huddy, Stony Brook University Professor and co-author of the report and survey. “But they also reflect a desire for change.”

“Long Islanders are clear about their housing preferences, and our elected officials should take them into account,” said Nancy Rauch Douzinas, President of the Rauch Foundation. “Young adults in particular are struggling to find their footing here, and that jeopardizes Long Island’s future. It’s time to put our future ahead of our past.”

The report and the survey were commissioned by the Long Island Index. The report was prepared by Dr. Leonie Huddy, Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University, and Soraya Zabihi, Research Proposal Administrator in the College of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University. The survey was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates. The survey reflects telephone interviews conducted in August and September 2017 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.

Media Contact:

Henry Miller