My office released a report which found many troubling demographic trends. The study found that the Nassau County population has remained stagnant since 2000 and will decline by 3 percent over the next 10 years, while the ages 60 and over population will be increasing from about 22 percent of the total population today to more than 27 percent. More worrisome is that our young adults between the ages of 10- to 19 years-old and our children between 0 to 9 years are declining at alarming rates. This highlights that about 11 percent of our young adults go off to college and do not return for local careers, and our 0- to 9-year-old school-age children population will decline by more than 60,000 by 2024 compared to 2000. These trends will have serious negative consequences on our local economy, our schools, property taxes and housing values.
These trends should be a wakeup call to local civic, industry and political leaders to find policy solutions to reverse these trends. The study proposes a few innovative ideas to begin the conversation to reverse these trends. The vision is to harness our local natural advantages, including a highly educated workforce, excellent schools and universities, leading hospitals and proximity to New York City, to become the health care and medical research capital of the world. This vision adopts economic models successfully achieved in other fast growing regions in the nation, such as information technology in Silicon Valley, the financial industry in New York City and the government in Washington D.C.
Nassau County should become the destination where people want to come for the best medical treatment and where the next cures will be found for cancer, diabetes, dementia, Ebola and Alzheimer’s. In order to accomplish the vision, large investments will be required to attract the best minds in the health care industries. The investments should go toward building the best medical research centers in collaboration with our universities and medical centers all linked with ultra high–speed communications and state-of–the-art public transportation infrastructure with further linkage to New York City.
This will probably require updating the LIRR, extending the AirTrain JFK to MacArthur Airport and interconnect all major commericial, hospital and university locations on Long Island with monorail or light rail. Combined with Long Island’s excellent schools, Nassau County can again be the best place to live, have an exciting career and raise a family.