Younger Long Islanders are the most optimistic about the region’s post-pandemic economic future, even as many have had to make life changes to adapt, according to data from Newsday nextLI’s COVID-19 impact study presented during an online forum Monday.
Some 46% of those ages 18 to 39 polled in late June and early July said they were optimistic about Long Island’s economic future, even though 65% reported some sort of change in their employment status. That compared with 41% of those in their 40s who said they were optimistic about the economy, 33% of those in their 50s and just 31% of those age 60 or older.
The hourlong forum titled “COVID-19 and Long Island’s Next Generation” was moderated by Coralie Saint-Louis, nextLI’s outreach and engagement manager, and focused on how the virus would change life for millennials and members of Generation Z.
“I think a lot of young Long Islanders, they’ve been able to make ends meet because we’re a generation of hustlers,” she said.
Nicole Ki, who is a Newsday nextLI data intern, said the data show young Long Islanders haven’t been impacted by the pandemic in the same way as older Long Islanders.
“The data seems pretty promising for a younger group of passionate Long Islanders who have felt the disruptions of COVID-19,” Ki said during the 2 p.m. online event which also featured Dan Lloyd, president of nonprofit advocacy group Minority Millennials, Inc., Nassau County Leg. Josh Lafazan, an independent from Woodbury and Jimmy Coughlan, development analyst for Tritec Real Estate. “They’re quickly adjusting to them and are ready to get back to a new normal.”
Of those polled, about half of young people said they would likely continue to work remotely, buy more sustainable products, travel less for work and take a more active role in their community. The survey showed 73% said they would commit to saving more money for future work interruptions and young people were also the most willing to relocate to a more affordable section of the Island.
Age influences the pandemic’s impacts, but so does race, said Lloyd. He noted that millennials of color are likely to work in the industries harder hit by the virus, like hospitality, and many may have to step in when a family bread winner lost a job.
“I think it depends on who you ask and what kind of financial place they were before this pandemic,” he said.