Indicators are facts that help show how a region is doing, the way the unemployment rate helps show the health of the economy. Measuring these kinds of data helps communities to identify existing conditions, measure progress toward goals and to mobilize action to improve the region.  The Long Island Index has been providing this data for ten years which allows residents, researchers, civic organizations and others to assess our change over time and evaluate our path for future action.

1

Economy

For most of the postwar period, Long Island’s economy was driven by two powerful engines – income flowing to commuters from jobs in Manhattan, and a large defense industry fueled by Washington DC.  Now, prosperity comes from many sources, and Long Island needs to look for more of its income to be generated from within its own boundaries.  
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Gross Metropolitan Product
Long Island’s economy continues to show signs of growth since the recession. However, growth has lagged behind the U.S. GDP as a whole.

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Employment Trends
Long Island’s private sector employment remains below pre-recession levels.

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Growth in Wages over the Past 10 Years
Long Island wages continue a slight downward trend, while converging with U.S. wages which have risen slightly since the recession.  U.S. average pay is on a par with Long Island in first the quarter of 2014.

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Industry Clusters
Employment declines continue in the aftermath of the recession in some sectors; others show signs of growth.  The largest employment losses occurred in higher-paying sectors.

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Venture Capital Financing
Long Island firms receive relatively little venture capital. Investment has declined since 2011.

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Federal Small Business Innovation Research Technology Transfer Awards to Long Island
Small technology companies on Long Island remain competitive in attracting federal funding under the SBIR/STTR programs, which directly supports the private sector in the development and commercialization of innovative and early-stage technologies with significant potential for financial, economic and societal impact.

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Retail Space
Changes in retail space provide an insight to regional economic activity over time.   Key indicators include vacancy rates, rental rates and net absorption rates which measures whether the current inventory level is shrinking or growing.  

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Household Income Distribution
Median household income continue to decline at the middle and bottom while rising at the top.

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2

Population

The Island today is a far more diverse place than either its past or current images portray. Along with the rest of America, this trend has been growing for decades. The pace of change, however, has been particularly rapid in the last 20 years.
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Long Island’s Changing Population
Long Island’s population growth continued to slow in 2013. Since 2010, Long Island’s population growth has been somewhat slower than other suburban areas of the New York region, and much slower than New York City’s or the nation as a whole.

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3

Housing

Long Island is falling behind its suburban neighbors in both the number of new homes and the variety of housing types being built.  This has serious implications for our younger generation looking for rentals, condos, or other non-single family homes and for any family looking for more affordable opportunities.
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Housing Affordability
Housing prices have increased, with the average single-family home selling for $378,500, while the average household income held steady at $90,800.

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4

Education

While Long Island schools do well on average, there are wide disparities among schools depending on the neighborhoods they serve.  Blacks and Hispanics are concentrated in high-poverty schools, perpetuating the economic disparities among racial and ethnic groups.
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Poverty Index
While overall poverty levels on Long Island are lower than NYS as a whole, poverty in Long Schools is increasing.

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Race and Ethnicity
The racial and ethnic composition of Long Island schools is also noteworthy as Long Island remains one of the most residentially segregated areas of the United States.

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English Language Learners
Students with Limited English Proficiency are disproportionately taught in high-poverty districts.

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Academic Performance: 4th Grade and 8th Grade
Overall Long Island schools’ 4th Grade English Language Arts performance results exceed New York State. The gap between low-poverty and high-poverty schools, narrowed until 2009, but has since increased. 

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Teacher Education and Turnover
Long Island teachers tend to surpass New York State with greater educational preparedness.  Turnover rates on Long Island were higher than NYS during the post-recession years, but returned to the State level in 2013.

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College Readiness
After a slight decline between 2006 and 2007, College Readiness has been essentially flat. Through 2013, there is a sizable gap in the performance between high and low poverty schools.

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5

Environment

Long Island’s sole source aquifer system provides the Island’s residents with 100% of their drinking water.  Both the quality and quantity of the water in this underground aquifer system is directly impacted by what we do on the surface. Currently, Long Island is experiencing a rapid rise in contaminants in our aquifer system.
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Brownfield Redevelopment
Known sites of environmental contamination are located in 136 Long Island communities.

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Water Quality
Long Island is experiencing a rapid rise in contaminants in our aquifer system and in our surface waters.

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6

Open Space

Almost two-thirds of Long Island’s land surface is covered with buildings, pavement and other man-made structures.  In 2006, New York State set a goal of preserving 37,000 acres within 10 years’ time.  By 2010, only 18% of the target acreage has been preserved.
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Land Preserved
It is virtually guaranteed that Long Island will not meet its goal to preserve 10% of the Island’s land mass as open space and farmland by 2016.

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7

Governance

More so than other regions, Long Island has unusually high numbers of governmental entities providing a range of local services.  Not only does this make governance more complicated, it also contributes to the high cost of living and doing business.
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Local Government Expenditures
The growth in local government costs has slowed substantially since 2008.

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8

Health

Health care continues to be a crucial issue for Long Islanders.  Ensuring that all residents, children and adult, have access to quality care that they can afford is an essential ingredient in the social fabric.  While the overall picture on average appears to be positive, that there are also significant signs of polarized inequality with respect to the health of our population and access to quality care.
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Childhood Healthcare
Health care continues to be a crucial issue for Long Islanders. Ensuring that all residents, children and adult, have access to quality care that they can afford is an essential ingredient in the social fabric.

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9

Transportation

Increased transit ridership helps reduce traffic congestion by taking motor vehicles off the road.  An efficient transit system can provide quicker access to jobs, reduce air pollution and help to improve the overall livability of our communities.   Yet while other suburban regions have been expanding their public transportation options including reverse commutes, Long Island has added no new capacity.
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Transit Ridership
Long Island Railroad added 1.6 million passengers in 2013, while bus ridership declined in BOTH Nassau and Suffolk.

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10

Safety Net

For both individuals and for families, the experience of economic hardship places greater strains on the quality of life in many aspects.  The ability to obtain adequate shelter, nutrition, clothing and education are directly tied to one’s economic situation.  On Long Island, as in most areas of the country, there has been a steep rise in rates of poverty as well as number of families requiring Food Stamps.
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Poverty
Poverty rates increase dramatically.

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Hunger
Sharp rise in reliance on food stamps begins to level off.

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