Rockville Centre, North Hills and Farmingdale — all Nassau County communities with recent rises in apartment developments — posted Long Island’s largest population gains from 2015 to 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday.
Rockville Centre gained 391 people, the greatest numerical increase on the Island. The South Shore village’s total estimated population was 24,571 in July 2016, up from 24,180 the year before, an increase of 1.62 percent.
The village with the next-highest numerical increase, North Hills, also had the highest percentage increase in population. North Hills saw its estimated population rise to 5,814 in 2016 from 5,542 in 2015, a gain of 272 people, or 4.91 percent.
Farmingdale had an increase of 172 people, or 1.98 percent, to 8,857 in 2016, up from 8,685 in the prior year.
Of the Island’s 97 villages and two cities in the bureau’s data, the remainder that had population gains saw increases of fewer than 100 people. Most of those rose by only two dozen to three dozen residents.
The biggest numerical gainer in Suffolk County, for example, was Amityville, where the population rose by 60 people to a total of 9,494 in 2016.
Lindenhurst, in Suffolk, had the biggest numerical loss of population, at 141 people, or 0.52 percent, according to the bureau’s estimates. Lindenhurst’s 2016 population was put at 27,074, down from 27,215.
The gains and drops tracked with the Census Bureau’s latest estimates of county populations.
That data, released in March, showed Nassau’s population increased by 1,798 people and Suffolk’s declined by 5,320 from 2015 to 2016. Nassau’s estimated total 2016 population was 1,361,500 and Suffolk’s was 1,492,583.
Experts have noted that Suffolk County has had greater “out-migration” of its population to other parts of the nation than Nassau, which may benefit from its proximity to New York City as some city residents move to the suburbs.
The estimates for cities, villages and towns, “start with county population, then they distribute that over lower levels of geographies using estimates of housing units,” said Jan Vink, a researcher with Cornell University’s Program on Applied Demographics, an affiliate of the Federal-State Cooperative on Population Estimates.
“The change in these local communities is very much tied to changes in housing units,” Vink said.
“You also have to be aware of changes in group quarters,” such as nursing homes, he added. For example, if a nursing home closed, “you would immediately see that in those small area estimates.”
New apartment developments have gone up in all three of the Long Island villages with the largest population gains.
Rockville Centre has new housing near its downtown, such as the 349-unit Avalon Rockville Centre complex, with phase II under construction. In North Hills, a Ritz-Carlton condominium complex opened last year, with its first 124 units. And in Farmingdale, about 200 apartments have opened near the train station since 2014.
Nationally, New York City remained the nation’s most populous city, with 8.5 million people, and had the fourth-largest numerical increase from 2015 to 2016, gaining 21,171 people.
However, large cities in the South and West dominated the list of the 15 fastest-growing cities between 2015 and 2016. New York State, like other Northeastern states, is continuing to lose population to other parts of the nation, an out-migration that has increased as the economy has improved, experts have said.
According to Census Bureau estimates released in December, New York State’s population dipped by nearly 1,900 people to 19,745,289 for 2016, a decline of 0.01 percent.
Population gains: LI’s top three
These three Nassau County villages had the largest population gains on Long Island from 2015 to 2016.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau