A Long Island Index report prepared by Leonie Huddy, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University, features the results of a public opinion survey that explores Long Islanders’ attitudes about housing options and their affordability. Housing Choice and Affordability on Long Island & Beyond: A Survey of Suburban NY Metro Area Residents reveals the following opinions of Long Island residents and those of other metro area suburbs in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Long Islanders’ Concerns Differ from Their Suburban Neighbors
- 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. During 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.
There’s a Sea Change Afoot in Preferred 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 five years 29% said they want to live in one of these options.
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 to 34 support this kind of change.
- A majority (51%) of Long Island residents aged 18 to 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.
“This survey reveals how Long Island has fallen behind its suburban competitors when it comes to addressing housing costs,” said Huddy. “As a result, more and more Long Islanders are forced to leave the communities that they cherish.”
The full report is available at www.longislandindex.org. It includes additional information on the survey’s methodology as well as the questionnaire and responses.