The study showed that 79% of those moving on Long...

The study showed that 79% of those moving on Long Island were heading out of the region — the highest percentage of any of the state's 10 metropolitan statistical areas.  Credit: AP/CHARLIE NEIBERGALL

The notion that people are leaving Long Island — or New York as a whole — isn’t new. But the pandemic highlighted concerns over just how many residents the state is losing. Recent data, however, tells a more nuanced story.

New York holds the distinction of being the state with the third-largest exodus, as 63% of New Yorkers making moves were flocking out of the state, according to a study by United Van Lines released this month, which looked at its own customers’ moving habits. More than half of the customers cited either job or retirement reasons as factors in their decisions to leave the Empire State.

But in this data set, Long Island held the distinction of having an even greater spread between those who left the region and those who moved into it. The study showed that 79% of those moving were heading out of the region — the highest percentage of any of the state’s 10 metropolitan statistical areas.

Interestingly, despite the pandemic and all of the talk of people flocking to the Island, that data hasn’t shifted much over the years, according to an examination of six years of United Van Lines statistics.

However, an examination of United States Postal Service change of address data tells a bit of a different story. When looking at all change of address requests — whether business or residential, temporary or permanent, there was a clear shift in 2020, when more people changed their addresses to Nassau or Suffolk County locations than away from Long Island addresses. USPS showed a total of 213,491 changes of addresses from Nassau or Suffolk counties, and 221,837 changes to Nassau or Suffolk counties in 2020.

But by 2021, the data showed, there was a return to the pre-pandemic norms and there was a marked decline in the number of shifts to the Island, with 214,988 changes of address from Long Island, and 201,896 changes of address to the region.

In a report released late last year analyzing similar data, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer showed that the city had regained about three-quarters of the population it had lost during the early months of the pandemic.

The Long Island data set analyzed by The Point includes business moves, along with individual moves and full family moves. So, it accounts for a single person — like a college student — leaving home and changing his or her address, in addition to full household moves or business comings and goings.

The Postal Service data drills down by ZIP code. Some areas, like Bay Shore, Brentwood, Hempstead, Uniondale and Westbury, showed hundreds more changes of address from the community than to the community in each of the last three years, including during the height of the pandemic. Others, particularly on the East End, showed significant jumps in the number of changes of address to the neighborhood in 2020, while in both 2019 and 2021, departures outweighed entrances, but often not at nearly the same rate.

Take Sag Harbor. In 2020, there were 1,032 more address changes to the East End community than away from it. In 2019, the "from’s" outpaced the "to’s" — by just two address changes, while in 2021, there were 31 more address changes away from the neighborhood.

Then there are the steady success stories. In Garden City, for instance, changes of address to the area outpaced those from the area by 71 in 2019, by 201 in 2020, and by 235 in 2021. Jericho, Manhasset and Plainview showed similar steady trends.