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Long Island's population rises slightly

Long Island showed another year of modest population growth from 2013 to 2014 in U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday, with experts saying international migration and more births than deaths allowed the region to overcome the loss of those who moved to other parts of the nation.

Nassau County gained an estimated 3,528 people between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, for an estimated 2014 population of 1,358,627, the bureau said. Suffolk County's population remained essentially flat, rising by an estimated 15 people to 1,502,968 in 2014 over the county's 2013 revised population estimate of 1,502,953.

"Nassau County still has a little bit more people moving in than moving out," said Jan Vink, a researcher with Cornell University's Program on Applied Demographics, an affiliate of the Federal-State Cooperative on Population Estimates. "And Suffolk County had more people moving out than moving in."

In New York City, the census estimates showed three boroughs were in the top 50 counties nationally with the largest numeric increases from 2013 to 2014. Brooklyn gained about 19,000 people, Queens added about 18,000 and the Bronx about 11,000.

The overall picture for New York State, however, is one of slow growth, Vink said. "All over New York, growth is slowing down or decreasing," he said, citing central New York in particular.

In December, when the agency released 2014 estimates for states that were taken in July, Florida supplanted New York State as the nation's third most populous state. The estimated population for New York State was 19.7 million and Florida's was 19.9 million.

The Census Bureau said that, while about half of Florida's counties had more deaths than births, those losses were overcome by people moving to the Sunshine State from other parts of the nation and from abroad.

Looking at changes on Long Island, Ben Bolender, chief of the bureau's population estimates branch, said international migration and the "natural increase" of births over deaths "together are counterbalancing the net movement of people to other parts of the country."

The new figures show the loss of people to other parts of the nation -- nearly 3,600 people in Nassau and just over 7,300 in Suffolk in 2014 -- is far lower than in recent years, Bolender said. Losses in each county ranged from 12,000 to 17,000 people yearly from 2005 through 2007.

Bolender said the phenomenon of people leaving the Island for other parts of the country has occurred over at least a "decade and a half." Some experts have said the outflow slowed because the recession's lingering effects kept some people from moving.

Vink cautioned against focusing heavily on the one-year changes, citing revisions the bureau makes as final data come in.

Bolender said revisions to estimates can result from changes in geographical boundaries, changes in methodology, and updates to vital statistics because of a "two-year lag" in getting final data. There is a one-year lag in international migration data, based on answers to the bureau's American Community Survey, he said, while domestic migration data come from the Internal Revenue Service and are current.

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