Generation Z Profile – Part 1

Generation Z

Generation Z has begun to enter college and will soon be taking over colleges entirely. As this change happens, it’s important to consider the social and political views of Generation Z. Learn how they are similar and different from prior generations. According to a study published by Pew Research Center, Generation Z shares many views similar to that of the Millennial generation that immediately preceded them, meaning they are generally more liberal and open to diversity than generations prior.

Generation Z and Gender

One area where Generation Z may be becoming even more liberal than Millennials is on the issue of gender-neutral pronouns. An increasing number of Americans publicly identify as non-binary. This means they identify neither as a man nor a woman, and prefer to be referred to with gender-neutral pronouns such as “they” rather than “he” or “she.”

About half of Generation Z believes society is not yet accepting enough of non-binary people. Millennials are slightly less likely to agree.  All older generations studied (Gen X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation) believe even less. In fact, with each subsequently older generation, there is a noticeable drop in those who believe society is not yet accepting enough of non-binary people. On the flip side, subsequent older generations see similarly continuous increases in the belief that society is too accepting of non-binary people.

These statistics demonstrate a clear relationship between age and acceptance of non-binary people. The youngest generation being the most concerned with what they perceive as society’s lack of acceptance. Part of this stems from the direct knowledge and exposure to non-binary identities that people have. The survey showed 35% of Gen Z personally knows someone who does not identify as a man or a woman. Only 25% of Millennials know a non-binary person. The numbers continue to fall all the way down to just 7% of the Silent Generation.

College Marketing Ramifications

As half of Gen Z believes non-binary people are not accepted enough by society, they are also likely to support ideas that could potentially allow for them to be. Marketers who wish to reach this generation should be aware of this when dealing with issues related to gender. One major example is the case of gender options on forms, surveys, and online profiles. Nearly 6 in 10 members of Generation Z believe that these things should have gender options other than simply man or woman. About half of Millennials agree.

While it is not universal, more and more people of younger generations are beginning to adopt this view. Some may even come to expect it or negatively view a survey that does not provide the option. While a survey of senior citizens likely wouldn’t warrant it (just 32% of the Silent Generation believes forms should have other options), it is something marketers should be carefully thinking about when surveying today’s college students.

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