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Understanding Gen Z – 2021: An Inside Perspective

Updated: Apr 1

Generation Z, or those born between 1996 and 2009, now makes up almost 30% of the world’s population. With this high statistic comes impacts on daily life like voting, retail, and trends. Therefore, as Gen Z comes of age it’s essential for marketers and the workforce to figure us out.

As a member of Gen Z myself, there is a lot of insight and personal experience I can share with those in need of a better understanding.

I was born in April of 2001, a life changing year for all. I have grown into adulthood with music, phone calls, and the internet directly at my fingertips. With that access came an interconnectivity arguably not experienced by youth of other generations. No longer did we need to rely solely on the news for information about the world. With the rise of social media websites, came the ability to get your story out there and be given a voice to those that didn’t before.

Thus, the effort to give a voice to minorities is very important to Generation Z and me. For instance, today the interconnectivity we’ve grown up with lead to the rise of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. We understood the need for reform and continue to take a stand in support of minorities who have been disproportionately mistreated and denied fair treatment. In June of 2020, it was found that based on a study of 39,000 young Americans 90% of them support the BLM movement. The poll also found that Gen Zers were using social media to express support for Black Lives Matter. 73% of the respondents said they are using Instagram to express their support, while 26% are using TikTok, 25% are using Twitter, and only 13% are using Facebook.

With the rise in empathy and understanding for those struggling, advocacy rose to a major goal for Generation Zers. We are focused on getting legislation passed for the fair treatment for minorities, while also solving climate change, wealth inequality, and gender inequality. No stress, right?

It’s no surprise that with these values and concerns, Gen Z’s votes skew to the left as that is where their policy agendas align. Gen Z made up 37% of the electorate in the 2020 election, and NBC exit polls found that 65% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 voted for Biden- 11% more than any other age group. This no doubt played a massive role in the turnout of the United States election of Joe Biden.

My generation doesn’t have a whole lot of issues with standing up to authority in the form of tweets, protests, or public humiliation; but god forbid you ask us to order a pizza or tell waiters our Starbucks drink doesn’t have the whipped cream we ordered.

With this in mind, 2020 was a crazy time for us. With the rise in popularity of a new video sharing social media app called TikTok, came a new platform for Gen Z. There, information and trends spread incredibly fast. Especially due to the coronavirus.

The required quarantine to prevent the spread of the virus, or as I like to call it, “corona-cation”, gave us the perfect chance to look for other creative outlets, or a microphone for issues not covered by the mainstream media. We got to stay indoors and be our introverted, internet savvy selves, wreaking havoc on the world. Some examples of Gen Z using Tiktok to mobilize that gained publicity are a musical based on the Disney Pixar animated movie Ratatouille, the messing with political campaign rallies, the trolling of racist hashtags with k-pop idols and pancakes.

Another major activist movement that has received a lot of media attention is going on right now and it is the effort to stop the auctioning of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. If you have a minute, see information and sign the letter here to protect the land from harm.

Overall, I think this year was a major wake up call for politicians. Especially when it came to the 2020 election. When watching a debate, attending a rally, or visiting a campaign website, it’s now incredibly easy to fact check claims made by either party. With a simple internet search presenting the statistics in question (from a credible source of course). Even social media sites like Twitter and Instagram now fact check political posts to prevent the spread of misinformation or slander, benefiting the candidate that focuses on real statistics.

As you can probably tell, I am working to major in Government and International Politics. However, because of the stress that came with online classes, and the toll it took on my mental health I have decided to postpone my sophomore year until I can go back to campus in August of 2021. And I’m not the only one who had difficulties adjusting to the routine and style of online classes.

It was found in a national, random-sample survey by Digital Promise, an education research organization, that with more than 1,000 college students participating, only 19 percent of students said they were very satisfied with their online course experience.

With these dramatically low numbers, questions need to be asked about the quality of the education students are putting their time and money into right now.

In the meantime, I am excited to be working at XYZ University as a Generation Z researcher and writer!

With the inauguration coming up, we are heading towards an exciting time for Gen Z and the world. Please tune in to my upcoming advocacy series covering the youth vote, trends, and so much more!

Anna Sladek

Contact us at Sarah Sladek & Co to learn more about how to engage with Generation Z.


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