Are white people leaving Long Island?

Short answer

Looks like it

The Census just released the 2014 to 2018 American Community Survey five-year estimates in December of 2019. We use the this series of data a great deal here as it allows us to look at Long Island by city and town instead of just at the county level.

With this new data we explored a question on lots of Long Island minds – how has has the ethnic and racial makeup of LI’s towns and cities changed?

Using two sets of five-year estimates, the 2009 to 2013 estimates with the 2014 to 2018 estimates, gave us higher precision and more data on towns and cities to portray trend changes.

It showed across most towns and cities, white people are leaving LI.

Both the number of white people and the overall percentage of white people have declined for 12 out of the 17 towns, cities and reservations here.

The City of Long Beach and East Hampton Town saw a slight increase in white population, and an overall increase in percentage of white people as well.

This seems to align with CityLab’s article about the changing demographics of America’s suburbs late last year, where they discussed the “racial and ethnic transformation of suburbia.”

Check back again tomorrow for more demographic trends on Long Island.

Shelter Island, Poospatuck reservation and Shinnecock reservation have low populations, which made the Census data unreliable.

How are you defining race?

Name County Percent change (white) Percent change (all)
Babylon Suffolk County -9.71% -1.05%
Brookhaven Suffolk County -4.65% -0.45%
East Hampton Suffolk County 6.23% 1.43%
Glen Cove Nassau County -5.17% 0.66%
Hempstead Nassau County -6.11% 0.80%
Huntington Suffolk County -3.80% -0.38%
Islip Suffolk County -4.16% -0.91%
Long Beach Nassau County 3.66% 0.31%
North Hempstead Nassau County -6.63% 1.41%
Oyster Bay Nassau County -2.74% 1.10%
Riverhead Suffolk County -3.35% 0.33%
Smithtown Suffolk County -3.69% -0.87%
Southampton Suffolk County -1.91% 1.39%
Southold Suffolk County -1.97% 0.51%

How are you defining race?

Race and ethnicity is complicated. Oftentimes, people conflate race and ethnicity in day-to-day conversations and discussions, but the Census uses very specific definitions for these two concepts.

We highly recommend reading their explanation of it. We will be using their definition and concept for this series of comparison posts.

The confusion typically arises when people ask why Hispanic or Latino is not a “race” option in the Census or when reading through Census analysis or data.

The Census defines Hispanic or Latino as an ethnic origin – meaning a person can be Hispanic (ethnicity) and White (race), for example.

Where did you get your data from?

For this series of posts, we are using the Census 2018 B03002 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year detailed table, which we then consolidate the categories to match the C03002 simplified table.