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Citing High Costs & Long Commutes, Suffolk County Residents Flock To Warmer Climates

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- There's a slight population shift taking place in our backyard.

Last year, more than 11,000 Long Island residents said they were fed up with taxes, the commute and expensive housing, and left for warmer climates. CBS2's Jennifer McLogan spoke with homeowners in Huntington about the effects of "domestic migration."

"The taxes are too high. My husband commutes to the city everyday. It's a grueling commute. I used to do it before I had my child," Kerri Tavani said.

According to new population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Nassau County saw a slight uptick. It's closer to New York City, so the commute is considered slightly easier.

Meanwhile, 11,278 people left Suffolk County for other parts of the country. Though Suffolk still has more births than deaths, numbers of births are decreasing.

"It raises some important questions, and the biggest is whether this represents a peaking of Long Island and other older suburbs, or whether it's a pause brought on by the Great Recession," Lawrence Levy, Dean of Hofstra's National Center for Suburban Studies, said.

McLogan asked residents about the Suffolk population shift.

"Higher taxes," one person said.

"It's very segregated," another added.

"It's very pricey around here," a man said.

"It's absolutely hard for young people," another said.

"The high taxes," a woman said.

She also met with Vision Long Island's Eric Alexander in a village that straddles Suffolk and Nassau -- Farmingdale, which is enjoying a new formula for success.

"You want to have housing options, you want to have transportation options, and really a thriving downtown," he said.

Farmingdale built affordable housing on Main Street near commuter trains. Business owners were drawn there, and the local economy was jump-started. Right now, 40 other villages on Long Island are considering copying the formula.

So where are Suffolk residents migrating? Southern and western sunbelt states are reaping the gains. Why there? Most say the weather.

Long Island's population is now slightly less than three million.

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