The number of millennials living on Long Island has shown a modest resurgence, rising 7.6 percent from 2010 and 2015 after a precipitous drop in the age group over two decades, according to a Long Island Association report based upon U.S. Census Bureau population estimates.
Millennials, identified in the report as those ages 20 to 34, are “critically important” to the Island, said Kevin Law, president and chief executive of the LIA, the region’s largest business group.
“They make up a significant component of our workforce,” Law said. “They’re hopefully buying homes here and then having their own families, which starts the cycle all over again.”
The number of millennials rose from 478,988 in 2010 to 515,391 in 2015. The age cohort had declined significantly — 23.5 percent — from 626,374 in 1990 to 478,988 by 2010, the LIA report found.
Law noted that the Island has fewer 20- to 34-year-olds now than it did in 1990.
“It’s very important that this segment of the population grows,” Law said. “We’re still 100,000 people less in this age category than we were in 1990, so we still have a lot of work to do.”
Authors of the report, one in a series since the association launched its research institute in 2014, speculated that the rise may be tied to increases in multiunit housing developments that attracted young adults and the maturation of children from the “mini baby boom” of the 1980s and early 1990s.
“It’s a generational change that’s going on,” William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., said of the rise of millennials nationwide. “It’s important to have a lot of them, because millennials are generally better educated than earlier generations . . . If you can attract them, they’re a great resource to a community.”
Kelley Coughlan, 30, who grew up in Port Jefferson, is one of them. “Always, in the back of my mind, I thought it would be really nice to return home,” she said.
After graduating from Middlebury College in Vermont, she worked for Bloomberg in Manhattan and lived there from 2009 to 2012, renting a one-bedroom apartment with two roommates.
She left New York for Massachusetts, earning a master’s in international business from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in 2014, she said.
“We had job and school opportunities in Boston and Long Island, and we decided on Long Island,” she said of her and her husband, who is pursuing graduate studies at Stony Brook University. “We’re water people.”
Coughlan, who works with her family’s firm, TRITEC Real Estate Co., said the couple rented places at first, but moved into a home they bought in Brookhaven hamlet this year.
Justin Miller, a certified public accountant at KPMG’s Melville office, said returning home to Long Island after graduating from Binghamton University was the goal.
“I had the option of working in New York City or Long Island,” said Miller, 32. “Just about everyone was going to New York City. I went to Long Island because I wasn’t one who wanted to rent . . . I wanted to buy something.”
He lived with his parents for several months after graduating and soon bought a two-bedroom condo in Holbrook in 2007. He married — he’s now the father of two young children — and he and his wife moved to Wantagh, in a home they bought to be closer to her teaching job.
“We are more expensive than other places,” Miller said, but noted the “wealth of opportunity” on the Island.
“The opportunity for a career is as good here as anywhere else,” he said. “That’s the number-one thing that keeps me here.”
Millennials on LI
The number of millennials, young adults ages 20 to 34, increased 7.6 percent on Long Island from 2010 to 2015.
The age group in 2015 was about 100,000 less than the 626,374 in 1990.
Source: Long Island Association Research Institute