Long Island is an island in New York that reaches from New York Harbor into the Atlantic Ocean. Long Island is actually comprised of 4 counties, including 2 that form New York City boroughs Queens and Brooklyn. While all 4 counties are part of the New York metropolitan area, the name Long Island generally only refers to Suffolk and Nassau counties.
As of 2023, Long Island has an estimated population of 8.063 million, comprising over one-third of New York State's entire population. It is the most populated island in any U.S. territory or state and the 17th most populous island in the world, beating Ireland and Jamaica. If Long Island were a state, it would by the 13th most populous and first in terms of population density with 5,402 people per square mile, or 2,086 people per square kilometer. It is one of the most densely populated regions in the country. Long Island has 39% of the total population of the state of New York.
Suffolk County has twice the area of Nassau County and is much less densely populated. Suffolk County has a population density of 1,637 per square mile according to the 2020 census, while Nassau County's density is 4,897.45 people per square mile.
When the population of all 4 counties are combined, Long Island has a population greater than 38 states in the country. If it were a country, it would by the 96th most populated ahead of Israel.
Long Island is also the largest and longest island in the contiguous U.S, stretching 118 miles east from New York Harbor with a land area of 1,401 square miles. It is also home to LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport in Queens.
Whites are the largest racial group in Long Island and form a majority in Suffolk and Nassau counties. A 2002 study by nonprofit ERASE Racism found that these two counties are the most racially segregated suburbs in the country.
The largest religious group in the area is Catholic at 52%, followed by Jewish (16%) and Protestant (7%).
Long Island is home to a large Italian-American community with 26% of residents claiming Italian ancestry. There is also a fairly new Little India community in Nassau County. Chinatowns in Brooklyn and Queens have also led to a growing Asian population in Nassau County. There is also a Long Island Koreatown.
The racial and ethnic breakdown of Long Island:
Suburban development of Long Island really took off after World War II thanks to incentives under the GI Bill, and the population skyrocketed. Many second and third-generation descendants of immigrants moved to the area to settle, particularly descendants from 19th and early 20th century immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, black migrants from the south and, more recently, immigrants from Latin America. The area today has many ethnic Irish, Jews and Italians.
There are several notable cities and towns in Long Island.