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Long Island Island in New York, United States For other uses, see Long Island (disambiguation). Long Island is a densely populated island in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, in the northeastern United States. At New York Harbor it is approximately 0.35 miles (0.56 km) from Manhattan Island and extends eastward over 100 miles (160 km) into the Atlantic Ocean. The island comprises four counties; Kings and Queens counties (the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, respectively) and Nassau County share the western third of the island, while Suffolk County occupies the eastern two thirds. More than half of New York City's residents live on Long Island, in Brooklyn and in Queens. However, people in the New York metropolitan area colloquially use the term Long Island (or the Island) to refer exclusively to Nassau and Suffolk counties, and conversely, employ the term the City to mean Manhattan alone. While the Nassau plus Suffolk definition of Long Island does not have any legal existence, it is recognized as a "region" by the state of New York.

Quick Facts: Native name: Paumanok, Geography ... Broadly speaking, "Long Island" may refer both to the main island and the surrounding outer barrier islands.To its west, Long Island is separated from Manhattan and the Bronx by the East River tidal estuary. North of the island is Long Island Sound, across which lie Westchester County, New York, and the state of Connecticut. Across the Block Island Sound to the northeast is the state of Rhode Island. Block Island—which is part of Rhode Island—and numerous smaller islands extend further into the Atlantic. To the extreme southwest, Long Island is separated from Staten Island and the state of New Jersey by Upper New York Bay, the Narrows, and Lower New York Bay.

Both the longest and the largest island in the contiguous United States, Long Island extends 118 miles (190 km) eastward from New York Harbor to Montauk Point, with a maximum north-to-south distance of 23 miles (37 km) between Long Island Sound and the Atlantic coast. With a land area of 1,401 square miles (3,630 km2), Long Island is the 11th-largest island in the United States and the 149th-largest island in the world—larger than the 1,214 square miles (3,140 km2) of the smallest U.S. state, Rhode Island.

With a census-estimated population of 7,869,820 in 2017, constituting nearly 40% of New York State's population, Long Island is the most populated island in any U.S. state or territory, and the 18th-most populous island in the world (ahead of Ireland, Jamaica, and Hokkaidō). Its population density is 5,595.1 inhabitants per square mile (2,160.3/km2). If Long Island geographically constituted an independent metropolitan statistical area, it would rank fourth most populous in the United States; while if it were a U.S. state, Long Island would rank thirteenth in population and first in population density. Long Island is culturally and ethnically diverse, featuring some of the wealthiest and most expensive neighborhoods in the Western Hemisphere near the shorelines as well as working-class areas in all four counties.

As a hub of commercial aviation, Long Island is home to two of the New York City metropolitan area's three busiest airports, JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, in addition to Islip MacArthur Airport; as well as two major air traffic control radar facilities, the New York TRACON and the New York ARTCC. Nine bridges and thirteen tunnels (including railroad tunnels) connect Brooklyn and Queens to the three other boroughs of New York City. Ferries connect Suffolk County northward across Long Island Sound to the state of Connecticut. The Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America and operates 24/7. Nassau County high school students often feature prominently as winners of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and similar STEM-based academic awards. Biotechnology companies and scientific research play a significant role in Long Island's economy, including research facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Stony Brook University, New York Institute of Technology, Plum Island Animal Disease Center, the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, the City University of New York, and Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

History Main article: History of Long Island Early history

Long Island Native American settlements By the year 1643, there were 13 indigenous tribes living on Long Island: Canarsie, Rockaway, Matinecock, Merrick, Massapequa, Nissequoge, Secatoag, Seatauket, Patchoag, Corchaug, Shinnecock, Manhasset and Montauk.

They used canoes as a source of transportation, and since they lived by the shores, they went fishing.[better source needed] The fishermen used bows, arrows, and hooks to catch seafood such as crabs, scallops, and lobster.[better source needed] The farmers used fish for fertilizer and planted vegetables such as corn, beans, and squash, which were popular among the indigenous people. They were exceptional farmers; they had a great understanding of how the weather and soil affected the crops.[better source needed] Many of them hunted animals, such as deer, raccoon, and turkey in the forest.

The government that they set up was a participatory democracy and there was an alliance between the tribes. Each tribe had their own territory and chief that was respected by other tribes. Prior to European contact, the Lenape people (named the Delaware by Europeans) inhabited the western end of Long Island, and spoke the Munsee dialect of Lenape, one of the Algonquian language family. The Lenape (who were part of the Shinnecock Tribe) practiced record keeping and used wooden tablets, trees, and stones to keep record. They also used wampum belts to write down important messages. They also used their wampum to trade with the Europeans. The Lenape people, in specific, were seen as peacemakers by other indigenous tribes, although they would defend themselves if necessary. The Europeans admired their friendliness and their skills in mediation.

Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European to record an encounter with the Lenapes, after entering what is now New York Bay in 1524. The island's eastern portion was inhabited by speakers of the Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett language group of Algonquian languages; they were part of the Pequot and Narragansett peoples inhabiting the area that now includes Connecticut and Rhode Island.

In 1609, the English navigator Henry Hudson explored the harbor and purportedly landed at Coney Island. Dutch explorer Adriaen Block followed in 1615, and is credited as the first European to determine that both Manhattan and Long Island are islands.

In 1655, the European settlers purchased land from the Indigenous people. They split the land amongst themselves and continued to search the island for more land for settlement. Other parts of indigenous land were bought, areas that are now known as Brookhaven, Bellport, and South haven. These purchases occurred on June 10, 1664, the exchange was four coats and what is now $16.25. The indigenous people did not fully understand that the European claimed ownership of the land. They thought that the exchange was made for them to share the land.

The white settlers and the indigenous people lived amicably together for a while. However, some of the white settlers did not trust some of indigenous people. During King Philip's War in 1675, the English governor of New York ordered all canoes that were east of Hell Gate to be confiscated. This was done to prevent the Indigenous people from helping their allies in the mainland.

After the Dutch began to move into Manhattan many of the indigenous people moved to Pennsylvania and Delaware. They felt pressure to move as they did not fit in with the European culture or religion at the time. Many of them who stayed behind died from smallpox.

Native American land deeds recorded by the Dutch from 1636 state that the Indians referred to Long Island as Sewanhaka (Sewanhacky and Sewanhacking were other spellings in the transliteration of Lenape). Sewan was one of the terms for wampum (commemorative stringed shell beads, for a while also used as currency by colonists in trades with the Lenape), and is also translated as "loose" or "scattered", which may refer either to the wampum or to Long Island. The name "'t Lange Eylandt alias Matouwacs" appears in Dutch maps from the 1650s. Later, the English referred to the land as "Nassau Island", after the Dutch Prince William of Nassau, Prince of Orange (who later also ruled as King William III of England). It is unclear when the name "Nassau Island" was discontinued. Another indigenous name from colonial time, Paumanok, comes from the Native American name for Long Island and means "the island that pays tribute."


Three Lenape Indigenous Americans The very first European settlements on Long Island were by settlers from England and its colonies in present-day New England. Lion Gardiner settled nearby Gardiners Island. The first settlement on the geographic Long Island itself was on October 21, 1640, when Southold was established by the Rev. John Youngs and settlers from New Haven, Connecticut. Peter Hallock, one of the settlers, drew the long straw and was granted the honor to step ashore first. He is considered the first New World settler on Long Island. Southampton was settled in the same year. Hempstead followed in 1644, East Hampton in 1648, Huntington in 1653, Brookhaven in 1655, and Smithtown in 1665.


The Old House in Cutchogue, built 1649, is the oldest English-style house in the state. While the English eastern region of Long Island was first settled by the English, the western portion of Long Island was settled by the Dutch; until 1664, the jurisdiction of Long Island was split between the Dutch and English, roughly at the present border between Nassau County and Suffolk County. The Dutch founded six towns in present-day Brooklyn beginning in 1645. These included: Brooklyn, Gravesend, Flatlands, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and Bushwick. The Dutch had granted an English settlement in Hempstead, New York (now in Nassau County) in 1644, but after a boundary dispute they drove out English settlers from the Oyster Bay area. However, in 1664, the English returned to take over the Dutch colony of New Netherland, including Long Island.

The 1664 land patent granted to the Duke of York included all islands in Long Island Sound. The Duke of York held a grudge against Connecticut, as New Haven had hidden three of the judges (John Dixwell, Edward Whalley and William Goffe) who sentenced the Duke's father, King Charles I, to death in 1649. Settlers throughout Suffolk County pressed to stay part of Connecticut, but Governor Sir Edmund Andros threatened to eliminate the settlers' rights to land if they did not yield, which they did by 1676.

All of Long Island (as well as the islands between it and Connecticut) became part of the Province of New York within the Shire of York. Present-day Suffolk County was designated as the East Riding (of Yorkshire), present-day Brooklyn was part of the West Riding, and present-day Queens and Nassau were part of the larger North Riding. In 1683, Yorkshire was dissolved and the three original counties on Long Island were established: Kings, Queens, and Suffolk.

18th and 19th centuries Early in the American Revolutionary War, the island was captured by the British from General George Washington in the Battle of Long Island, a decisive battle after which Washington narrowly evacuated his troops from Brooklyn Heights under a dense fog. After the British victory on Long Island, many Patriots fled, leaving mostly Loyalists behind. The island was a British stronghold until the end of the war in 1783.

General Washington based his espionage activities on Long Island, due to the western part of the island's proximity to the British military headquarters in New York City. The Culper Spy Ring included agents operating between Setauket and Manhattan. This ring alerted Washington to valuable British secrets, including the treason of Benedict Arnold and a plan to use counterfeiting to induce economic sabotage.

Long Island's colonists served both Loyalist and Patriot causes, with many prominent families divided among both sides. During the occupation British troops used a number of civilian structures for defense and demanded to be quartered in the homes of civilians. A number of structures from this era remain. Among these are Raynham Hall, the Oyster Bay home of patriot spy Robert Townsend, and the Caroline Church in Setauket, which contains bullet holes from a skirmish known as the Battle of Setauket. Also in existence is a reconstruction of Brooklyn's Old Stone House, on the site of the Maryland 400's celebrated last stand during the Battle of Long Island.


The Brooklyn Bridge, the first of multiple crossings constructed across the East River, connects Long Island with Manhattan Island (background).

Oheka Castle, a Gold Coast estate, is the second-largest private residence in the country. In the 19th century, Long Island was still mainly rural and devoted to agriculture. The predecessor to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) began service in 1836 from the South Ferry in Brooklyn, through the remainder of Brooklyn, to Jamaica in Queens. The line was completed to the east end of Long Island in 1844 (as part of a plan for transportation to Boston). Competing railroads (soon absorbed by the LIRR) were built along the south shore to accommodate travellers from those more populated areas. For the century from 1830 until 1930, total population roughly doubled every twenty years, with more dense development in areas near Manhattan. Several cities were incorporated, such as the 'City of Brooklyn' in Kings County, and Long Island City in Queens.

Until the 1883 completion of the Brooklyn Bridge, the only means of travel between Long Island and the rest of the United States was by boat or ship. As other bridges and tunnels were constructed, areas of the island began to be developed as residential suburbs, first around the railroads that offered commuting into the city. On January 1, 1898, Kings County and portions of Queens were consolidated into the 'City of Greater New York', abolishing all cities and towns within them. The easternmost 280 square miles (730 km2) of Queens County, which were not part of the consolidation plan, separated from Queens in 1899 to form Nassau County.

At the close of the 19th century, wealthy industrialists who made vast fortunes during the Gilded Age began to construct large "baronial" country estates in Nassau County communities along the North Shore of Long Island, favoring the many properties with water views. Proximity to Manhattan attracted such men as J. P. Morgan, William K. Vanderbilt, and Charles Pratt, whose estates led to this area being nicknamed the Gold Coast. This period and the area was immortalized in fiction, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, which has also been adapted in films.

20th century Charles Lindbergh lifted off from Roosevelt Field with his Spirit of Saint Louis for his historic 1927 solo flight to Europe, one of the events that helped to establish Long Island as an early center of aviation during the 20th Century. Other famous aviators such as Wiley Post originated notable flights from Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, which became the first major airport serving New York City before it was superseded by the opening of La Guardia Airport in 1939. Long Island was also the site of Mitchel Air Force Base and was a major center of military aircraft production by companies such as Grumman and Fairchild Aircraft during World War II and for some decades afterward. Aircraft production on Long Island extended all the way into the Space Age – Grumman was one of the major contractors that helped to build the early lunar flight and space shuttle vehicles. Although the aircraft companies eventually ended their Long Island operations and the early airports were all later closed – Roosevelt Field, for instance, became the site of a major shopping mall – the Cradle of Aviation Museum on the site of the former Mitchel Field documents the Island's key role in the history of aviation.

From the 1920s to the 1940s, Long Island began the transformation from backwoods and farms as developers created numerous suburbs. Numerous branches of the LIRR already enabled commuting from the suburbs to Manhattan. Robert Moses engineered various automobile parkway projects to span the island, and developed beaches and state parks for the enjoyment of residents and visitors from the city. Gradually, development also followed these parkways, with various communities springing up along the more traveled routes.

After World War II, suburban development increased with incentives under the G.I. Bill, and Long Island's population skyrocketed, mostly in Nassau County and western Suffolk County. Second and third-generation children of immigrants moved out to eastern Long Island to settle in new housing developments built during the post-war boom. Levittown became noted as a suburb, where housing construction was simplified to be produced on a large scale. These provided opportunities for white World War II military veterans returning home to buy houses and start a family. In his 1966 book, My Private America (Moja prywatna Ameryka), Kazimierz Wierzyński, a Polish poet who could not go back to Poland after World War Two, describes Polish farmers living there, as "walking novels".

21st century By the start of the 21st century, a number of Long Island communities had converted their assets from industrial uses to post-industrial roles. Brooklyn reversed decades of population decline and factory closings to resurface as a globally renowned cultural and intellectual hotbed. Gentrification has affected much of Brooklyn and a portion of Queens, relocating a sizeable swath of New York City's population. On eastern Long Island, such villages as Port Jefferson, Patchogue, and Riverhead have been changed from inactive shipbuilding and mill towns into tourist-centric commercial centers with cultural attractions.

The descendants of late 19th and early 20th-century immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, and black migrants from the South, have been followed by more recent immigrants from Asia and Latin America. Long Island has many ethnic Irish, Jews, and Italians, as well as an increasing numbers of Asians and Hispanics, reflecting later migrations.

Geography Main article: Geography of Long Island

Montauk Point is at Long Island's rural eastern tip.

The four counties of Long Island include two independent counties (Nassau and Suffolk) and two New York City boroughs (Brooklyn and Queens).

Satellite imagery showing the New York metropolitan area at night. Long Island is highly developed and densely populated, extending approximately 120 miles (190 km) eastward from the central core of Manhattan. The westernmost end of Long Island contains the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn (Kings County) and Queens (Queens County). The central and eastern portions contain the suburban Nassau and Suffolk counties. However, colloquial usage of the term "Long Island" usually refers only to Nassau and Suffolk counties. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York has a district named "Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk Metro Division)." At least as late as 1911, locations in Queens were still commonly referred to as being on Long Island. Some institutions in the New York City section of the island use the island's names, like Long Island University and Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

In 1985, the United States Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Maine that Long Island is legally not an island, because New York State's boundaries contained its offshore soil and seabeds. Despite the legal decision the United States Board on Geographic Names still considers Long Island an island, because it is surrounded by water.

Nassau County is more densely developed than Suffolk County. While affluent overall, Nassau County has pockets of more pronounced wealth with estates covering greater acreage within the Gold Coast of the North Shore and the Five Towns area on the South Shore. South Shore communities are built along protected wetlands of the island and contain white sandy beaches of Outer Barrier Islands fronting on the Atlantic Ocean. Dutch and English settlers from the time before the American Revolutionary War, as well as communities of Native Americans, populated the island. The 19th century saw the infusion of the wealthiest Americans in the so-called Gold Coast of the North Shore, where wealthy Americans and Europeans in the Gilded Age built lavish country homes.

In its easternmost sections, Suffolk County remains semi-rural, as in Greenport on the North Fork and some of the periphery of the area prominently known as The Hamptons, although summer tourism swells the population in those areas. The North Fork peninsula of Suffolk County's East End has developed a burgeoning wine region. In addition, the South Fork peninsula is known for beach communities, including the Hamptons, and for the Montauk Point Lighthouse at the eastern tip of the island. The Pine Barrens is a preserved pine forest encompassing much of eastern Suffolk County.


The intersection of Long Island, Manhattan, and the continental mainland

The bluffs of the North Shore Geology A detailed geomorphological study of Long Island provides evidence of glacial history of the kame and terminal moraines of the island which were formed by the advance and retreat of two ice sheets. Long Island, as part of the Outer Lands region, is formed largely of two spines of glacial moraine, with a large, sandy outwash plain beyond. These moraines consist of gravel and loose rock left behind during the two most recent pulses of Wisconsin glaciation during the ice ages some 21,000 years ago (19,000 BC). The northern moraine, which directly abuts the North Shore of Long Island at points, is known as the Harbor Hill moraine. The more southerly moraine, known as the Ronkonkoma moraine, forms the "backbone" of Long Island; it runs primarily through the very center of Long Island, roughly coinciding with the length of the Long Island Expressway.

The land to the south of this moraine to the South Shore is the outwash plain of the last glacier. One part of the outwash plain was known as the Hempstead Plains, and this land contained one of the few natural prairies to exist east of the Appalachian Mountains. The glaciers melted and receded to the north, resulting in the difference between the topography of the North Shore beaches and the South Shore beaches. The North Shore beaches are rocky from the remaining glacial debris, while the South Shore's are crisp, clear, outwash sand. Jayne's Hill, at 401 feet (122 m), within Suffolk County near its border with Nassau County, is the highest hill along either moraine; another well-known summit is Bald Hill in Brookhaven Town, not far from its geographical center at Middle Island. The glaciers also formed Lake Ronkonkoma in Suffolk County and Lake Success in Nassau County, each a deep kettle lake.

Countyscapes Under the Köppen climate classification, Long Island lies in a transition zone between a humid subtropical climate (Cfa/Do) and a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa). The climate features hot, usually humid summers with occasional thunderstorms, mild spring and fall weather, and cold winters with a mix of snow and rain and stormier conditions. Spring can be cool due to the relatively cooler temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and occasional blocking. Thunderstorms rarely form directly over Long Island, but can form over inland areas and then move eastward. Some storms may weaken as they approach Long Island due to the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean also brings afternoon sea breezes to the immediate South Shore areas (within 1 mile (1.6 km)) that temper the heat in the warmer months. The temperatures south of Sunrise Highway (RT27) tend to be significantly cooler than the rest of Long Island in the spring and summer months because of the relatively cooler temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean. Long Island has a moderately sunny climate, averaging 2,400 to 2,800 hours of sunshine annually.


Cumulus congestus clouds over Long Island on a summer afternoon

Clear skies in autumn over the Great Peconic Bay, with the Atlantic Ocean as its primary inflow, separating the North Fork and South Fork at the East End of Long Island Due to its coastal location, Long Island winter temperatures are milder than most of the state. The coldest month is January, when average temperatures range from 25 to 45 °F (−4 to 7 °C), and the warmest month is July, when average temperatures range from 74 to 85 °F (23 to 29 °C). Temperatures seldom fall below −5 °F (−21 °C) or rise above 100 °F (38 °C). Coldest temp ever recorded on Long Island was −23 °F (−31 °C) on January 22, 1961. Long Island temperatures vary from west to east, with the western part (Nassau County, Queens, and Brooklyn) generally 2 to 3 degrees F (1 to 2 degrees C) warmer than the east (Suffolk County). This is due to several factors: the western part is closer to the mainland and more densely developed, causing the "urban heat island" effect, and Long Island's land mass veers northward as one travels east. Also, daytime high temperatures on the eastern part of Long Island are cooler on most occasions, due to the moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. On dry nights with no clouds or wind, the Central Part of Suffolk County and Pine Barrens forest of eastern Suffolk County can be almost 5 to 10 F (3 to 5 C) cooler than the rest of the island, due to radiational cooling. Average dew points, a measure of atmospheric moisture, typically lie in the 60–70 °F (16–21 °C) range during July and August.


Stripped Rockaway Beach Boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 Precipitation is distributed uniformly throughout the year, with approximately 3–4 inches (76–102 mm) on average during each month. Average yearly snowfall totals range from approximately 20 to 35 inches (51 to 89 cm), with the north shore and western parts averaging more than the immediate south shore (South of Sunrise Hwy) and the east end. In any given winter, however, some parts of the island can see up to 50 inches (130 cm) of snow or more. There are also milder winters, in which much of the island see less than 10 inches (25 cm) of snow.

On August 13, 2014, flash flooding occurred in western-central Suffolk County after a record-setting rainfall deposited more than three months' worth of precipitation on the area within a few hours.

Long Island is somewhat vulnerable to tropical cyclones. While it lies north of where most tropical cyclones turn eastward and out to sea (most landfalls on the East Coast of the USA occur from North Carolina southward), several tropical cyclones have struck Long Island, including a devastating Category 3, the 1938 New England Hurricane (also known as the "Long Island Express"), and another Category 3, Hurricane Carol in 1954. Other 20th-century storms that made landfall on Long Island at hurricane intensity include the Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, Hurricane Donna in 1960, Hurricane Belle in 1976, and Hurricane Gloria in 1985. Also, the eyewall of Hurricane Bob in 1991 brushed the eastern tip. In August 2011, portions of Long Island were evacuated in preparation for Hurricane Irene, a Category 1 hurricane which weakened to a tropical storm before it reached Long Island.

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to low-lying coastal areas of Nassau and Suffolk counties, Brooklyn, and Queens, destroying or severely damaging thousands of area homes and other structures by ocean and bay storm surges. Hundreds of thousands of residents were left without electric power for periods of time ranging up to several weeks while the damage was being repaired. The slow-moving "Superstorm Sandy" (so-nicknamed because it merged with a nor'easter before it made landfall) caused 90% of Long Island households to lose power and an estimated $18 billion in damages in Nassau and Suffolk counties alone. The storm also had a devastating impact on coastal communities in the Brooklyn and Queens portions of the island, including Coney Island in Brooklyn and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, although estimates of monetary damages there are usually calculated as part of the overall losses suffered in New York City as a whole. When allowance is made for inflation, the extent of Sandy's damages is second only to that of those caused by the 1938 Long Island Express. Although a lower central pressure was recorded in Sandy, the National Hurricane Center estimates that the 1938 hurricane had a lower pressure at landfall.[full citation needed] Hurricane Sandy and its profound impacts have prompted the discussion of constructing seawalls and other coastal barriers around the shorelines of Long Island and New York City to minimize the risk of destructive consequences from another such event in the future.

More information: Climate data for Suffolk County, NY (Suffolk County, NY) 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1949–present, Month ... More information: Climate data for LaGuardia Airport, New York (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1939–present), Month ... More information: Climate data for JFK Airport, New York (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1948–present), Month ... More information: Climate data for Montauk, New York (1981–2010 normals, extremes 1998-present), Month ... Additional islands Main article: Outer barrier Several smaller islands, though geographically distinct, are in proximity to Long Island and are often grouped with it. These islands include Fire Island, the largest of the outer barrier islands that parallels the southern shore of Long Island for approximately 31 miles (50 km); Plum Island, which was home to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, a biological weapons research facility; as well as Robins Island, Gardiners Island, Fishers Island, Long Beach Barrier Island, Jones Beach Island, Great Gull Island, Little Gull Island, and Shelter Island.

Demographics


One of numerous Chinatowns in Brooklyn (above) and Chinatowns in Queens (below). Chinese Americans constitute the fastest-growing nationality on Long Island (numbering half a million), and in New York State, with large-scale Chinese immigration continuing into Long Island and the New York City region, home to the largest metropolitan Chinese population outside of Asia. The Long Island Koreatown sprawls eastward of the Flushing Chinatown in Queens and into Nassau County. More information: Census, Pop. ...

A mansion on Long Island's wealthy Gold Coast, which along with The Hamptons and Brooklyn's western waterfront (facing Manhattan) provides Long Island with some of the most expensive residential real estate in the Western Hemisphere. Long Island is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States. At the 2010 U.S. census, the total population of all four counties of Long Island was 7,568,304, which was 39% of the population of the State of New York. As of 2017, the proportion of New York City residents living on Long Island had risen to 58%, given the 5,007,353 residents living in Brooklyn or Queens. Furthermore, the proportion of New York State's population residing on Long Island has also been increasing, with Long Island's Census-estimated population increasing 4.0% since 2010, to 7,869,820 in 2017, representing 39.6% of New York State's Census-estimated 2017 population of 19,849,399 and with a population density of 5,617.3 inhabitants per square mile (2,168.9/km2) on Long Island. Long Island's population is greater than 37 of the 50 U.S. states.

At the 2010 census, the combined population of Nassau and Suffolk counties was 2,832,882 people; Suffolk County's share being 1,493,350 and Nassau County's 1,339,532. Nassau County had a larger population for decades, but Suffolk County surpassed it in the 1990 census as growth and development continued to spread eastward. As Suffolk County has more than three times the land area of Nassau County, the latter still has a much higher population density and is growing faster in the 21st century, given its proximity to New York City. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2008 American Community Survey, Nassau and Suffolk counties had the 10th and 26th highest median household incomes in the nation, respectively.

Population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau Census 2010 show that whites are the largest racial group in all four counties, and are in the majority in Nassau and Suffolk counties. In 2002, The New York Times cited a study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined that Nassau and Suffolk counties constitute the most racially segregated suburbs in the United States.

In contrast, Queens is the most ethnically diverse county in the United States and the most diverse urban area in the world.

According to a 2000 report on religion, which asked congregations to respond, Catholics are the largest religious group on Long Island, with non-affiliated in second place. Catholics make up 52% of the population of Nassau and Suffolk, versus 22% for the country as a whole, with Jews at 16% and 7%, respectively, versus 1.7% nationwide. Only a small percentage of Protestants responded, 7% and 8% respectively, for Nassau and Suffolk counties. This is in contrast with 23% for the entire country on the same survey, and 50% on self-identification surveys.

A growing population of nearly half a million Chinese Americans now live on Long Island. Rapidly expanding Chinatowns have developed in Brooklyn (布魯克林) and Queens, with Chinese immigrants also moving into Nassau County, as did earlier European immigrants, such as the Irish and Italians. The busy intersection of Main Street, Kissena Boulevard, and 41st Avenue defines the center of Downtown Flushing and the Flushing Chinatown, known as the "Chinese Times Square" or the "Chinese Manhattan". The segment of Main Street between Kissena Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, punctuated by the Long Island Rail Road trestle overpass, represents the cultural heart of the Flushing Chinatown. Housing over 30,000 individuals born in China alone, the largest by this metric outside Asia, Flushing has become home to the largest and one of the fastest-growing Chinatowns in the world as the heart of over 250,000 ethnic Chinese in Queens, representing the largest Chinese population of any U.S. municipality other than New York City in total. Conversely, the Flushing Chinatown has also become the epicenter of organized prostitution in the United States, importing women from China, Korea, Thailand, and Eastern Europe to sustain the underground North American sex trade. Flushing is undergoing rapid gentrification with investment by Chinese transnational entities,

More recently, a Little India community has emerged in Hicksville, Nassau County, spreading eastward from the more established Little India enclaves in Queens. Rapidly growing Chinatowns have developed in Brooklyn and Queens, as did earlier European immigrants, such as the Irish and Italians. As of 2019, the Asian population in Nassau County had grown by 39% since 2010 to an estimated 145,191 individuals, including approximately 50,000 Indian Americans and 40,000 Chinese Americans, as Nassau County has become the leading suburban destination in the U.S. for Chinese immigrants. Likewise, the Long Island Koreatown originated in Flushing, Queens, and is expanding eastward along Northern Boulevard and into Nassau County.

Long Island is home to two Native American reservations, Poospatuck Reservation, and Shinnecock Reservation, both in Suffolk County. Numerous island place names are Native American in origin.

A 2010 article in The New York Times stated that the expansion of the immigrant workforce on Long Island has not displaced any jobs from other Long Island residents. Half of the immigrants on Long Island hold white-collar positions.

The counties of Nassau and Suffolk have been long renowned for their affluence. Long Island is home to some of the wealthiest communities in the United States, including The Hamptons, on the East End of the South Shore of Suffolk County; the Gold Coast, in the vicinity of the island's North Shore, along Long Island Sound; and increasingly, the western shoreline of Brooklyn, facing Manhattan. In 2016, according to Business Insider, the 11962 zip code encompassing Sagaponack, within Southampton, was listed as the most expensive in the U.S., with a median home sale price of $8.5 million.

More information: County, Population2010census ...

Cathedral Basilica of St. James, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, one of the largest in North America.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents in Brooklyn. Brooklyn has the largest Jewish community in the United States and growing from approximately 600,000 individuals, about 23% overall, as of 2010.

Buddhist temple in Flushing, Queens. Long Island is home to a large and growing Buddhist population.

Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam, in Queens, the oldest Hindu temple in the United States.

Mosque in Queens serves Long Island's Muslim population. Economy Main article: Economy of Long Island Further information: Biotech and pharmaceutical companies on Long Island and Tech companies on Long Island

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on the North Shore of Nassau County is an internationally renowned biomedical research facility and home to eight scientists awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is a major US Department of Energy research institution. Long Island has played a prominent role in scientific research and in engineering. It is the home of the Brookhaven National Laboratory in nuclear physics and Department of Energy research. Long Island is also home to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, which was directed for 35 years by James D. Watson (who, along with Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin, discovered the double helix structure of DNA). Companies such as Sperry Rand, Computer Associates (headquartered in Islandia), Zebra Technologies (now occupying the former headquarters of Symbol Technologies, and a former Grumman plant in Holtsville), have made Long Island a center for the computer industry. Stony Brook University and New York Institute of Technology conduct advanced medical and technological research.

Long Island is home to the East Coast's largest industrial park, the Hauppauge Industrial Park, hosting over 1,300 companies which employ more than 71,000 individuals. Companies in the park and abroad are represented by the Hauppauge Industrial Association. As many as 20% of Long Islanders commute to jobs in Manhattan. The island's eastern end is still partly agricultural. Development of vineyards on the North Fork has spawned a major viticultural industry, replacing potato fields. Pumpkin farms have been added to traditional truck farming. Farms allow fresh fruit picking by Long Islanders for much of the year. Fishing continues to be an important industry, especially at Huntington, Northport, Montauk, and other coastal communities of the East End and South Shore.

From about 1930 to about 1990, Long Island was considered one of the aerospace manufacturing centers of the United States, with companies such as Grumman Aircraft, Republic, Fairchild, and Curtiss having their headquarters and factories on Long Island. These operations have largely been phased out or significantly diminished.

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