Long Island— the United States’ first suburb—is by many measures an economically prosperous place. However, opportunity is not spread equally on Long Island. Long-standing discrimination and residential segregation created and maintains racial disparities, with black Long Islanders experiencing more limited access to employment, lower incomes, and greater financial insecurity.
This report surveys the landscape of Long Island and provides insight into the policies and efforts currently underway to support the economic advancement of black residents, identifies both programmatic and geographic gaps in assistance, and highlights promising practices from elsewhere in New York and across the country that could be adopted on Long Island. The report also includes statistical analyses that give context to the current state of racial and economic disparities on Long Island.
With a focus on efforts to improve employment outcomes, strengthen financial well-being, and support pathways to entrepreneurship, our research found several challenges inhibiting economic equity for black residents:
- Perceptions of Long Island as a broadly prosperous place, which obscure racial disparities and reduce the urgency for targeted inventions,
- Underdeveloped capacity in the nonprofit sector, especially for efforts related to employment and entrepreneurship,
- Geographic issues (e.g. suburbanization, multiple jurisdictions, distance) hindering cross-program collaboration and duplication.
We also identify key opportunities to advance racial equity, including:
- Using existing funding to strengthen connections between training programs, job placement programs, and employers
- Expanding and replicating promising and successful efforts, such as financial coaching and adopting workforce system integration efforts used by National Fund for Workforce Solutions regional collaboratives.