Kids at play in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

Kids at play in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Credit: Newsday Photo/ Dick Yarwood

Where are young families moving on Long Island?

The right neighborhood has to have good schools, but affordable taxes. It has to have the right balance of community fare, including playgrounds, soccer or Little League and religious institutions. Transportation is important, so that mom or dad can get to jobs quickly without sacrificing too much time away. And while downtown areas are nice, they're not necessities to those who like the privacy of single-family-home living.

Getting to the heart of where families are moving and why depends on many factors - economic, occupational, racial and religious - but the following are some of the hot spots being cited for children up to age 4.

Massapequa - surrounded by a beach, nature preserve and mall - has lots of extracurricular opportunities for kids. "We like the beach, even though we're probably the fairest family in the land," says Mary Hennelly, 46, mother of four. "We're big fans of Florence Beach - we can walk to it from our house."

Huntington Station had the highest population of kids up to age 4 in 2007, according to Claritas. "One of the reasons we moved here 12 years ago was the diversity," says Liza Burby, editor of Newsday's Parents & Children magazine. "Huntington Station is close to both the Northern State and the LIE, so commuting from here is easy. And though house prices have gone up steadily since we bought our home ... the community is still one of the most affordable."

Affordability is the buzzword for up-and-coming Patchogue. "The taxes are pretty low, and the prices are affordable compared to the rest of Long Island," says Ed Shine, licensed sales agent for Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Medford.

With a "good, diverse school system and a terrific superintendent," Bay Shore is by the shore and on a main LIRR line, says Lawrence Levy, executive director of Hofstra University's National Center for Suburban Studies and a former Newsday columnist.

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