Long Island Index archive 2003-2018

For 15 years (2003-2018) the Long Island Index – created and published by the Rauch Foundation – served as the regional index for Long Island. It provided reliable objective data on the region’s condition, presented comparisons with nearby suburban areas, and highlighted challenges identified by the data. In April 2018, the Rauch Foundation and Newsday announced the launch of nextLI, a digital community and toolbox to succeed the Long Island Index as the regional index. nextLI will carry on the tradition of producing and publishing high-caliber research and information that is essential to understanding Long Island’s regional challenges, while creating an innovative digital platform for civic engagement.

2018Long Island Indicators since the turn of the millennium

The 2018 report revisited economic indicators and found that Long Island in 2018 looks much as it did a generation ago. Its attractive neighborhoods of single-family homes were built mostly during Long Island’s growth spurt from the 1940s to the 1970s. The island’s beaches remain among the most beautiful on the East Coast. The network of highways was largely completed in the 1970s, and the rail lines decades earlier. Yet the demographics, economy and outlook for Nassau and Suffolk are far different. The population is far more diverse. Health care has replaced manufacturing as the dominant industry. Growth has slowed to a crawl. Upward mobility is no longer a given. The survey findings highlighted residents’ concerns for future growth of the region.

2017Accessory apartments and The Nassau Hub

In 2017, the Index examined the region’s accessory apartments laws and the lessons learned across Long Island about that type of housing. Later in the year, the Index took a look at the redevelopment of the Nassau Coliseum as an exciting first step in transforming that area into an 21st century innovative biotech hub.

2016Long Island’s needs for multifamily housing

In 2016, the Index found that while Long Island is building more rentals, co-ops, condos and other multifamily homes than it has in past decades, there is still an enormous gap between what is being produced and what the region needs. The Index mapped 1,456 rental buildings and 882 coops and condos across both counties to see the stock that exists here and created a case study to explore what it takes to build on Long Island. A survey was also conducted that asked residents’ ongoing concerns about local life with a special focus on the local housing supply and its affordability.

2015Long Island's transformation

In 2015 the Index took a look back at the demographic changes that have occurred on Long Island over the past 40 years. The Index launched new interactive maps highlighting this historic data. The Index report tackled the economic stagnation facing Long Island and showed that if the trends of the past 20 years continue into the future, Long Island will have greatly reduced potential. But, investments in the biomedical industry and multifamily housing could produce the kind of growth that would allow Long Island to thrive. Continuing their work on understanding Long Island’s complex system of school districts, the Index reported on the racial and funding inequalities across districts.

2014Moving a region forward

The 2014 Long Island Index asked four nationally recognized architectural firms to help us imagine what might be possible for four Long Island communities. The ParkingPLUS Design Challenge revealed new concepts of parking design to both rethink and enliven our downtowns. Later that year the Index published an in-depth study on how building the Third Track on the Main Line of the LIRR would have a transformational impact on the region along with a high return on investment.

2013Building regional leadership for the innovation economy

The 2013 Index report focused again on our economy and looks at the Long Island Rail Road’s untapped potential to transform the economies of Nassau and Suffolk by growing the number of high-salary Manhattan commuters living on Long Island and by creating new job centers and housing developments near LIRR stations. Focusing on the potential to rethink how we build in our downtowns and the fact that there are more than 4,000 acres of surface parking lots within a half-mile of our downtown centers.

2012The Long Island Innovation Index

2012’s report looked at Long Island’s economy and our potential to become an innovative powerhouse. Citing the large number of scientific labs and universities, the report found that Long Island can transform itself much as San Diego has done over the past 20 years. A separate report provided an update on the key Long Island indicators that the Index had been tracking since its inception. When a new school year started, the Index took a look at racial segregation between the districts and found an alarming growth over the previous ten years. Later that year the Index published a new series of maps defining the boundaries for all of Long Island’s service providers whether the service was provided by a special district or managed by village, town or county government. A short report summarized the work and detailed the hundreds of districts across nine types of service.

2011Creating Alliances among Long Island’s 665 government entities

In 2011, the Index focused on Long Island’s development review process and zoning regulations and asked how these needed to change if we were going to make the best use of our downtown assets. During the fall, the Index surveyed hundreds of residents to ask about their overall satisfaction with life on Long Island and their openness to change particularly in their downtowns.

2010Analyzing the downtowns

Our 2010 report revisited one of Long Island’s greatest assets — our downtowns. Analyzing how much available land might be available within a 1/2 mile of our downtown centers, the Index calculated that on the 8,300 available acres there is the potential to build 90,000 new housing units. This is only possible, however, if we consider alternative housing options—town houses, apartments, low-rise buildings and the like.

2009Separate and unequal school districts on Long Island

The 2009 Index focused on education and specifically, the structural inefficiencies and inequalities and mismatch in funding versus student needs. Among the anomalies the Index reported, in districts where student needs are greatest, per-pupil spending is the least. By contrast, in districts where large sums are spent, academic achievement is no higher than in mid-range schools. The Index also explored child care and outdoor space available for the Island’s children.

2008Creating affordable housing

The 2008 Index focus was on downtown development and how these areas could be a source for new affordable housing. Successful regions recognize and utilize their assets. Long Island’s more than 100 downtowns are a valuable asset, but for the past 50 years the majority of them have been neglected and underutilized. The Index survey reported on the willingness of Long Islanders to live, work, and shop in downtown locations.

2007Socio-economic disparities

The 2007 Index report paid particular attention to how several indicators, particularly the economy, housing, education and health, impacted different socio-economic groups within the region. Looking to go beyond averages, the Index survey queried residents about their experience of the changing economic opportunities in the region. Doing a deeper dive on the issue of Long Island’s multiple special districts, the Index compared costs for fire districts and public schools on Long Island and in Northern Virginia to understand how vastly different costs could be when governance was controlled by very few entities as in Virginia compared to multiple entities on Long Island.

2006Examining and comparing our region

The 2006 Index emphasized Long Island as a region: comparable to others, similar to some, unique in many ways. The report looked at where we are succeeding competitively and particularly, where we still face significant challenges. Housing costs and taxes, in particular, stood out as onerous issues.

2005Land use on Long Island

The 2005 Index sought to emphasize the interrelatedness among indicators. In particular, a special snalysis examined land use on Long Island, describing the many ways that land use impacts housing, employment, transportation, the environment and even the very character of our communities. A survey conducted that year polled residents on their attitudes regarding these key issues.

2004Measuring Long Island's progress and stagnation

The first Long Island Index was launched on February 12, 2004 and had a substantial impact on public dialogue. By year’s end, the Index had been cited in over one hundred newspaper articles, three radio shows and 11 television programs, as well as by numerous public officials and civic leaders.