Leaving Long Island: Where and Why are People Moving?

Leaving Long Island can be a difficult decision for many people, as it is a place that holds a lot of memories and has a strong sense of community. However, sometimes life takes us in different directions and we need to move on. In this post, we discuss why people are leaving, where they are going, and how best to relocate off of Long Island.

Main reasons why people are leaving Long Island

High cost of living on Long Island, NY

The cost of living on Long Island is very high, with Long Island’s cost of living index at a whopping 140.1 compared to the national average of 100 (Council for Community and Economic Research). The main drivers of this higher cost of living are the high cost of housing and the high state and property taxes on Long Island. With median home prices ranging from $550,000 – $650,000, it is significantly higher than the national median of around $230,000. In addition to high housing costs, Long Island has some of the highest taxes in the country. Property taxes are particularly high on Long Island, with the average homeowner paying around $10,000 per year in property taxes. Sales taxes are also high, with a combined state and local sales tax rate of around 8.625%. Overall, the high cost of living on Long Island can make it challenging for some people to afford to live there, especially if they are on a fixed income or have limited financial resources.

Tired of the cold winters in New York

One reason why some people choose to leave Long Island is because of the cold winters. As you know, Long Island can experience harsh winter weather, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. For people who do not enjoy cold weather, the long, cold winters on Long Island can be a major deterrent. Many decide to move to a location with a warmer climate in order to avoid the harsh winters and improve their quality of life. Additionally, the cold weather can lead to increased heating costs which can also be a factor in people’s decision to leave, especially when combined with Long Island’s already expensive housing costs. Overall, for some people, the cold winters on Long Island are simply not worth the trade-off for living in such a beautiful area during the summer.

Constant traffic on Long Island

For many people, the heavy traffic on Long Island can be a major source of frustration. The island is home to a large and growing population, with almost 3 million people in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the roads and highways are often congested, even during off-peak hours. For people who are tired of long commute times and spending hours stuck in traffic, leaving Long Island in search of a location with less congested roads can be an attractive option. Additionally, the high cost of owning and operating a vehicle on Long Island, including fuel, insurance, and maintenance, can be a factor in people’s decision to leave. Some people might choose to move to a location with better public transportation options, or to a place where they can walk or bike to work or other destinations. Overall, for people who are fed up with the traffic on Long Island, the decision to leave and find a location with less congested roads can be a welcome change.

Family or Career reasons

Relocating for family or career reasons is another common reason for people to move. For people with young families or those with aging parents, moving to be closer to family members allows for the necessary support. Career-wise, people might choose to move in order to take advantage of new job opportunities or to advance their careers. While the tri-state area is a hub for many careers, now, with the ability to work remotely, more people are chosing to move to less expensive locations while being able to retain their old jobs, and often even their New York salary.

Where are the people from New York fleeing?

There is no single specific place where people from Long Island are moving. Some people choose to stay in the NYC metropolitan area, move upstate, or move to other parts of the tri-state area, such as New Jersey or Connecticut. Others choose to move further away. 

If you are considering a move, you are not alone, as New York has lost more residents than any other state between April 2020 and July 2021 according to recent US Census Bureau estimates. The state’s population decreased by over 319,000 people in this 12-month period. However, New York got particularly beaten up by COVID-19 so we’ll see if this trend continues in the upcoming years.

According to a 2019 report, also from the US Census Bureau, the top states New Yorkers relocated to were split. Many opted to stay in the Northeast while almost as many many choose to move to more affordable and warmer climates. Here are the top ranked states where our fellow New Yorkers fled:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Florida
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. California
  5. Connecticut
  6. North Carolina
  7. Texas
  8. Massachusetts
  9. Virginia
  10. Georgia

Logistics of moving off Long Island

When is the best time to relocate off of Long Island?

The best time to move from Long Island will depend on your personal circumstances and preferences. Here are a few things to consider when deciding when to move:

  • Weather: You might want to consider moving during a time when the weather is more pleasant. For example, moving during the spring or fall, when the weather is mild, might be more comfortable than moving during the hot summer or cold winter. Think about this – do you really want your moving company carrying all your items through the snow?
  • School: If you have children, you might want to consider moving during the summer, when school is not in session. This can make the transition easier for your children, as they won’t have to worry about switching schools mid-year.
  • Housing market: If you are going to be selling a house on Long Island and/or buying a home in your new location, pay attention to the real estate market which can vary throughout the year. If you are moving into a less expensive home, you are better off moving while the market is in its peak sellers’ season, whereas if you are moving to a more expensive home, you may be better off moving when the season favors the buyer.
  • Job: If you are moving for a job, you will need to consider the timing of your job start date and any other commitments you may have.

What to do before you leave Long Island?

If you are considering leaving Long Island, there are a few things you should consider. First, think about your reasons for leaving. Are you moving for a job opportunity or to be closer to family? Are you looking for a change of pace or a new adventure? Understanding your motivations for leaving can help you make a more informed decision.

Next, consider the logistics of your move. Do you have a job lined up in your new location? Have you found a place to live? Have you sold your house on Long Island? Have you taken care of all the necessary paperwork, such as transferring your driver’s license and registering to vote in your new location? Planning ahead and being organized can help make the transition smoother. It’s also important to think about the people you will be leaving behind. Saying goodbye to friends and family can be tough, but staying in touch through social media and regular visits can help maintain those relationships.


If you are a Long Islander, leaving Long Island can be a bit daunting, but it can also be an exciting opportunity for growth and new experiences. With careful planning and a positive attitude, you can make the most of your move and create a new life in your new location.