Brookhaven, Suffolk’s largest town, lost 1,057 residents between July 2017 and July 2018 — more than 40 percent of the 2,478 people who packed up and left the county in that time period — while Nassau gained a modest 679 residents, according to the latest U.S. Census population estimate.
Brookhaven’s population declined for the second year in a row, as it dropped by 591 residents the previous year.
The Town of Islip was the second biggest loser in Suffolk with 552 fewer people calling it home, while Babylon, Huntington, Smithtown — the other western Suffolk towns — lost 453, 420 and 241 people, respectively, a combined loss of 2,723 residents, according to the population estimate for cities and towns.
Meanwhile, their eastern Suffolk counterparts, except Riverhead which lost 15 people, grew by 252 people, with Southampton leading the way claiming 175 of those newcomers.
All three Nassau towns gained people, with Oyster Bay jumping by 543 residents, Hempstead — the nation’s most populous town increasing by 20 residents from 768,083 to 768,103 — and North Hempstead growing by 210 people.
Overall, Long Island’s population shrank by 1,799 people from 2,841,235 to 2,839,436, consistent with the national trend of southern and western states hosting the fastest-growing cities and villages, while the northern and eastern states post declines yet again, the estimate showed.
“There’s a general trend in the country of people moving to smaller places,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington.
He added that even though the southern states seemed to have made the largest gains, the “big cities are growing less,” said Frey, who noted that New York City lost 39,000 people.
A year earlier, in 2016-2017, but Long Island’s population dropped by 2,032 from 2,843,267 to 2,841,235.
The trends upward in Nassau and downward in Suffolk in this year’s estimate are reflected incrementally at the village and city level, where Lindenhurst Village lost 71 people or 0.26 percent, accounting for the biggest percentage loss in a large village.
But outliers in the report that buck the trend in their respective counties include Hempstead Village, which led the Nassau villages in losing 118 residents or 0.21 percent, and Port Jefferson Village, which gained 316 people, or 4.03 percent and grew by both the largest percentage and raw number of all villages on Long Island.
North Hills Village, which now is home to 5,987 residents, gained 229 people or 3.98 percent, the biggest single jump in percentage and number for any village in Nassau. On the other hand, Nassau’s two cities, Glen Cove and Long Beach, lost 49 and 45 residents, respectively, a 0.18 percent drop for Glen Cove and a 0.13 percent decline for Long Beach.