Generation Z (Gen Z) is home to stressed social media enthusiasts. Born after 1996 and forming around 20 percent of the total U.S. population in 2019, Gen Z is the most diverse generation yet. With this diversity comes a new mindset.
Twenty percent of Gen Z are stressed about their financial future, making for the most comparatively worried generation. A possible reason for this lies in their greater emphasis on the value of education. Forty-one percent of the demographic think college is important compared to 32 percent of millennials. With inflation-adjusted college tuition rates increasing by 16 percent from 2010–11 to 2020–21 and 73 percent of Gen Z predicted to graduate with student debt, Gen Z may feel more pressured to start making money earlier to cover as much of the cost they can themselves. Twenty-four percent plan to pay for college through personal savings, 38 percent plan to work during college, and 76 percent already earn money with part-time jobs. Joining the workforce, Gen Z expresses their attitude towards preparation and success, where approximately one-third define themselves as the hardest-working generation, less than one-half attribute their workforce preparedness to high school or college, and more than one-half are optimistic about their future work. Almost half plan to become entrepreneurs, and when looking for a job, most prioritize good benefits, good pay, and inspiring work over work-place appreciation.
Nine in ten GenZers are stressed about the planet’s future, with the environment being their leading worry, and 26 percent of GenZers cited it as the most pressing issue they want companies to address. Their top four ‘news-worthy issues’ entail job creation, racial equality, sexual harassment, and women’s equality. Ninety percent of GenZers report they use social media to learn about and participate in these issues, and eighty percent think social media advocacy can truly affect these issues. The leading social media platforms 13–17 year-olds use are YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Taking action, Gen Z falls not only to social media but also to companies. Every nine in ten people of this demographic believes companies should take into account environmental and social issues, and seventy percent say they want a more activist government. GenZers themselves take action by advocating for social-conscious companies, buying products from those companies, and learning how they can make a lasting impact. Two great disparities between previous generations and GenZers also include thrift shopping and plant-based meal preferences as a result of their environmental worries. A projected 37 percent of young U.S. spenders bought second-hand clothing in 2019, and four percent of GenZers are vegan compared to the one percent of vegan millennials. In comparison to previous generations, GenZ is much more involved in issues and engages in these issues in different ways than previous generations.
Gen Z fuels their values such as education and environmentalism through investing time and money in jobs, social media, and companies. Their impact on the rapidly changing world is still being measured, but their trends in shopping, media, and engagement have clearly left a mark. With their unique technological upbringing and resulting activist and entrepreneurial attitude, highlighted by climate change activist Greta Thunberg and Discord networking server Gen Z Mafia, their impact on the fight against rising issues, such as environmental and social justice, holds potential.