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Long Island

Census: Percentage of minority residents grows on Long Island

As the white population has decreased, the number of Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans has increased since 2010 in Nassau and Suffolk.

An aerial view of a Nassau County neighborhood

An aerial view of a Nassau County neighborhood from 2015. Photo Credit: Kevin Coughlin

The population of minority groups on Long Island grew while the number of non-Hispanic whites fell between 2010 and 2017, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Long Island’s Hispanic population has grown by more than 18 percent since 2010, its Asian population rose by more than 25 percent and its African-American population rose by 8.1 percent between 2010 and 2017. Its non-Hispanic white population shrunk by 6.3 percent.

There were 196,860 Hispanics in Nassau County in 2010, representing about 14.7 percent of the county’s population. By July 2017, the figure in Nassau had risen to 234,880, or 17.1 percent, the report said.

In Suffolk County, the Hispanic population in 2010 was 247,950, or 16.6 percent of the population. Last year, the 291,779 Hispanic residents made up 19.5 percent of Suffolk.

The number of non-Hispanic white people on Long Island fell in both counties. In 2010, non-Hispanic whites in Nassau numbered 879,631, or 65.55 percent of the county’s population. By 2017, there were 819,674 non-Hispanic whites, or 59.85 percent of the population. In Suffolk, the non-Hispanic white population in 2010 was 1,070,878, or 71.65 percent. In 2017, the figure dropped to 1,007,991, or 67.52 percent of the county’s population.

The Hispanic population in the United States was 18.1 percent last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“In general, [it’s a] continuation of the trends we were seeing most of the decade. New York is getting more diverse,” said Jan Vink, extension associate at the Program on Applied of Demographics at Cornell University.

Asians represented 7.84 percent of Nassau’s population in 2010 and 9.96 percent in 2017, according to U.S. Census figures. The figure in Suffolk rose from 3.45 percent to 4.07 percent over the same period.

Nassau’s overall population in 2017 was 1,369,514, while Suffolk’s was 1,492,953.

In Nassau County, the African-American population was 144,027, or 10.73 percent of the total, in 2010. In 2017, that number in Nassau rose to 158,324, or 11.56 percent.

In Suffolk County, the African-American population was 103,232, or 6.91 percent. That number rose to 108,973, or 7.3 percent.

“It’s clearly white decline and gain for minorities, and I think that’s the way it is for major metropolitan areas,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.

The Census Bureau’s report also focused on the median age in various communities in the United States. Almost 17 percent of U.S. counties saw a decline in the median age from April 2010 and July 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But the median age, nationwide, rose from 37.2 to 38 from 2010 to 2017, according to the agency.

The median age increased slightly in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In 2017, both counties had a median age of 41.6. In 2010, Suffolk had a median age of 39.8, while Nassau’s was 41.1.

“Baby boomers, and millennials alike, are responsible for this trend in increased aging,” Molly Cromwell, a demographer at the U.S. Census Bureau, said in a statement. “Boomers continue to age and are slowly outnumbering children as the birth rate has declined steadily over the last decade.”

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