Editorial: Baby Busters

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Research institute Long Island Association (LIA) recently released a study revealing that between 2000 and 2016, the total number of annual births on the Island fell from 37,226 to 29,888—a drop of almost 20 percent.

The study further states Long Island’s general fertility rate—the annual rate at which women are having children—dropped 11 percent, the steepest drop in the entire country over that same period of time. LIA also found that as in the rest of the nation, Long Islanders are waiting longer to have children than in the past. All of the age groups under age 35 saw a drop in their percentage of total births from 2000 to 2016, while those age groups 35 and over saw an increase in their percentage of total births.

The implications of this baby shortfall, at least according to LIA, are that the Island’s workforce and consumer markets will eventually decline, negatively impacting the regional economy as new births are necessary to replenish the population of buyers and sellers. Fewer births also mean fewer schoolchildren, harshing the growth of learning institutions from kindergarten through college.

Serious question: Is anyone surprised? The cost of living here forces young adults to flee to cheaper pastures while the ones who do remain are deciding not to have that second or third child because of the crushing debt associated with childrearing on this island.

Over the years, Long Island has morphed into a place where you do not want to raise your children because the best places to live are not financially viable and the worst places to live are either too dangerous or have school districts that are flat out ignored by anyone with the power to improve circumstances. Meanwhile, Long Island’s version of a middle class is nothing more than a senior community living in country club-like housing complexes—and they aren’t having more babies any time soon.

Chances are the birthrate will continue to drop until the Island’s population is entirely made up of town employees with sweetheart deals, senior living community developers and Long Island Association researchers.

—Steve Mosco

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear from you! Send a letter to the editor at smosco@antonmediagroup.com.

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