Each generation has at least one big event…a life-changing, read it in the history books, type of event. And, while all members of living generations at the time experience this event, they do so differently based on their stage of life. This is Part 1 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
With the pandemic response in the U.S., there have been varying opinions and approaches of leaders between the federal and local levels. Will Generation Z see a differentiation between local and national leaders? Will their perceptions of leadership change and/or be reinforced by those leaders’ responses? This is Part 2 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
In an attempt to address and mitigate the pandemic, along with the measures put in place to slow the spread, nearly the entire global economy is at a standstill. Generation Z’s concerns around finances and worry about economic instability are certainly pronounced now as they witness individuals clamoring for any financial relief they can get. This is Part 3 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
Much has been researched and discussed about young people’s mental health. This isn’t surprising given their high rates of anxiety and depression and extremely high levels of stress, worry, and concern among Generation Z. How might what is occurring with both the pandemic and the response impact Generation Z now and in the future? This is Part 4 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
Although we might be feeling a sense of isolation, the reality is that we are still far more interdependent than we may realize. This era seems to be marked by two distinct examples of interdependence: panic buying and volunteerism, and for both, their effects are far-reaching. How will these behaviors affect the perceptions of Generation Z today and in years to come? This is Part 5 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
Those in Generation Z may have an overdrive of connection at home and little social interaction with their friends, classmates, or others not living with them. So, how is this affecting Generation Z today and how might it shape the way they engage with others as they grow older? This is Part 6 of a series of 6 articles on Generation Z and COVID-19.
While flattening the curve will require effort from everyone, each generation has strengths that can help guide them through this pandemic. From relationships and learning to entertainment and giving back, how Generation Z navigates the world might provide ideas and inspiration to the rest of us in dealing with this crisis.
Given our strong beliefs in the importance of voting, we set out to uncover what might help get Gen Z to the polls; not to vote for a particular candidate, but to conscientiously vote at all. We conducted our study and put together the Gen Z Voices on Voting Report, capturing the political sentiment of this generation.
Whether they are referred to as “covidiots” or “virus rebels”, people are ignoring shelter-in-place orders, requests to stay home, social distancing norms, and thus proceeding with their lives as they normally would. In particular, there has been a great deal of attention focused on the irresponsibility of young people who are dismissing concerns that even if asymptomatic, they could spread the virus to others…But virus rebels are not just Gen Zers.
The cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19 precautions have had direct and rippling effects on nearly every industry, age group, gender, race, and religion. But there is an entire generation of young people who have grown up looking forward to or dreaming about once-in-a-lifetime meaningful moments and milestones that won’t take place this year or won’t take place in the ways they traditionally have. Lead author: Meghan Grace.
Every generation is unique and is situated in a contextual era that can help explain the behavior of its members. So, if we can get a better understanding of who Generation Z is today, we may be able to uncover what could get them to the polls. Through our two national research studies of Generation Z college students, we were able to discover barriers that may prevent voting and offer ideas to increase political participation.
I am fascinated with Generation Z (those born 1995-2010) and have studied them, worked with them, taught them, and written about them. And, I get to parent one, a first grader born in 2009. The world is a vastly different place today than it was during my childhood. And, as my daughter ages, she will grow further and further away from the world I grew up in. To veer a bit from the more serious and thoughtful writing I do on Generation Z, I thought I would share my thoughts on how the world is different today than it was when I, a Gen Xer, was growing up. In no specific order, these are the things, good and bad, that my Generation Z daughter will likely never experience.
Sustainable energy, economic stability, educational access, incurable diseases, and terrorism…seemingly insurmountable global issues facing our world today. But, it is not just the mere presence of these problems that will impel those in Generation Z to address them. It is their social change mindset, sense of responsibility, and passion, characteristics that likely explain why 40% of Generation Z college students plan to invent something that will change the world. So, who are these Generation Z individuals when it comes to inventing?
One identity present in a Generation Z era is that of the artist. There are many individuals who are highly talented artists that if given the chance could embark on an artistic journey unparalleled to singing in the shower or doing watercolors on the patio. In addition to the “get your talent discovered” TV shows, technology and social media has made it easier than ever to turn that artistic hobby into a professional opportunity.
With an abundance of individuals operating as independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, and even people who have sole proprietorships on the side of their full-time jobs, it is no surprise that nearly 75% of those in Generation Z plan to work for themselves. And, they have a variety of options to do so.
As we can all imagine, youth care about making friends, getting picked for sports teams, and the many other timeless issues that every generation faces merely by being young. But, each generation is defined by the worldviews of those in it. And Gen Zers are no different. Because they will vote in their first presidential election this November, their perspectives will have an opportunity to fundamentally shape the political landscape. Who Generation Z is and what they care about should be of paramount importance to the candidates. So, how might Generation Z’s perspectives relate to key election issues and ultimately influence their voting?
When I was a young adult, I was in college counting down the days until my birthday. I couldn’t tell you who the Speaker of the House was, current world events, or even issues facing my own campus. But, Generation Z is in the know. Our study revealed that more than half believe they are well versed in nearly all major current issues and keep up regularly on what is going on in the world.
It seems like just yesterday that we were introduced to those elusive Millennials. They have come to college, gone into the workforce, and many are now well into their careers. Every time we turn around, there is an article on Millennials. For example, Google the word, Millennials, and you will find more than 18 million hits. But, we have crossed over a threshold in which a new generation has come into adulthood, and it seems like there is less buzz about them. They have been called Generation iY, Digital Natives, and even iGen, a take on Apple products. But, more often they are referred to as Generation Z. So, who is Generation Z?