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Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, iGen, or Centennials, are generational cohort born roughly between 1997-2013.

Like every other generation, Gen Z characteristics, worldviews, and values have been affected by the cultural, social, and economic circumstances they were raised in.

Gen Z have lived through some formative events in their lifetime: The Great Recession (2007-2009) watching their parents lose jobs or struggle financially; the wage stagnation and a decade-long financial recovery between 2009-2016; rising housing and education costs; and most recently COVID-19 pandemic followed by the cost-of-living crisis, and large scale wars in Europe (Ukraine), and Israel and Palestine.

Mainstream media has drawn a picture of Generation Z  as anxious easily offended woke social justice worriers. In this article, we’ll give a more unbiased view of Generation Z characteristics and facts backed by industry-leading research only.


20% of the population is Generation Z (UK & US data)

There are approximately 12.7 million Gen Z (18.8% of the population) living in the UK (as of 2021 data). Gen Z is the 4th largest generation in the UK (Statista).

In the USA, there are 68.6 million of Gen Z (20.5% of the population), making them the 3rd largest generation after Millennials and Baby Boomers (Statista).

33% of UK Gen Z is employed (6% of the total UK population)

As of 2022, out of 12.7 million Gen Z in the UK, 4.3 million (33%) are employed (Statista).

To compare approximately 12.2 million Millennials are employed, followed by 11.4 million Gen X, and 3.71 of Baby Boomers.

(Please note that the actual number of Gen Z in the workforce is likely to be higher as many are self-employed or registered as a business, which the data above didn’t capture.)

The % of Gen Z workforce is set to quickly increase in the next 5 years as more teenagers are reaching the working age (as of 2024, Gen Z are 11-27 years old).

38% of US Gen Z is in the workforce (8% of the total USA population)

As of 2023 1/3 of US Gen Z (that’s 26 million) are in the workforce (either part-time, full-time, or self-employed) while 51% are still students (Global Web Index).

Generation Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US history 

Gen Z will be the last generation in US history to be majority white.

As of 2019, 50.9% of Generation Z is White, 25% Hispanic/Latino, 13.8% is Black, 5.3% Asian, and 2% Amer­i­can Indi­an or Alas­ka Natives (USA Census Bureau).

In the USA, Generation Z are more likely to be the children of immigrants: 22% of Gen Zers have at least one immigrant parent (compared with 14% of Millennials) (Pew Research Centre).

In the UK, 75% of Gen Z are White, 12% Asian, 6% Black, 5% Mixed, and 3% belong to another ethnic group (Statista).

Generation Z is on track to become the most educated generation in US history

59% of Gen Z continue their education in college or university (for comparison, 53% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z enrolled in one) (Pew Research Centre).

Gen Z is less likely to drop out of high school than Millennials.

Gen Z is also more likely to have a college-educated parent than previous generations.

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20.8% of US Generation Z identify as LGBTQ+

Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood  (born from 1997 to 2003) identify as LGBTQ+. That is nearly double the proportion of Millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations (Gallup).

In other words, 1 in 5 don’t identify as “completely heterosexual” or binary.

Generation Z is more gender-neutral

Gen Z also feels familiar and comfortable using gender-neutral pronouns.

About 59% Gen Z say forms or online profiles should include additional gender options other than “man” or “woman”, compared with half of Millennials (Pew Research Centre).

Gen Z is driving the global gender conversations. Including gender roles, gender symbols, and gender-neutral language.

Traditional gender roles are increasingly less relevant – especially among Gen Z .

Generation Z struggles with mental health and anxiety

In 2021 13% of 10-19-year-olds around the world have been diagnosed with mental health disorders (World Health Organization).

Depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds.

According to the British National Health Service, 18% of children aged 7-16 years and 22% of young people aged 17-24 years had a probable mental disorder (NHS).

While the number of children receiving medical attention for mental health problems has gone up, this is not necessarily an epidemic as the number of self-reports went up even faster owing to the reduction of stigma. Gen Z is more open about discussing mental health issues and seeking help when needed.

In the USA, 45% of Gen Z say they’re prone to anxiety compared to 25% of Baby Boomers (Global Web Index).

Geographically, the US, UK, and Filipino Gen Zers are the most anxious, while Denmark and the Netherlands have the least stressed.

Gen Z suffers from sleep deprivation

29% of 18-24 year olds experience insomnia nightly (Helsestart).

Sleep is directly related to mental health and it’s on the rise thanks to a combination of poor sleep hygiene (having one’s sleep disrupted by noise, light, and electronic devices), caffeine intake, beds that are too warm, a mismatch between biologically preferred sleep schedules at around puberty and social demands, insomnia, growing homework load, and having too many extracurricular activities.

A study by Glasgow University found that the number of schoolchildren in Scotland reporting sleep difficulties increased from 23% in 2014 to 30% in 2018. 37% of teenagers were deemed to have low mood (33% males and 41% females), and 14% were at risk of depression (11% males and 17% females).

Generation Z is the loneliest generation

A staggering 79% of USA Gen Z reported feeling lonely, compared to 71% of Millennials and 50% of Boomers (Statista).

The endless doom-scrolling online and comparison on social media can add to the feelings of iso­la­tion and depres­sion.

More time spent on social media and Net­flix means less time spent cul­ti­vat­ing mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ships.

Generation Z is more diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders

In many countries, Gen Z youth are more likely to be diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and psychiatric disorders than older generations (Wikipedia).

It’s unclear whether the rise in diagnoses of such disorders is caused by greater awareness, or if Gen Z brains are indeed different.

About 10% of the human population have specific learning disabilities. Such disabilities include dyscalculia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (Wikipedia).

Some other cognitive abilities, such as simple reaction time, color acuity, working memory, the complexity of vocabulary usage, and three-dimensional visuospatial reasoning have shown signs of secular decline throughout the decades.


Generation Z are the true digital natives

Unlike Millennials, who were the 1st generation that grew up with the Internet at home, Generation Z is the 1st generation that was born after the mass adoption of the Internet. Meaning, they can’t imagine the world without it.

Gen Z is worried about how much they spend time online.

As of 2022, the total online time amounts to 7 hours and 38 minutes every day with social media taking 40% of this time (Global Web Index).

Generation Z uses their smartphones for a variety of purposes, including working, shopping, finding information, reading news, dating, entertainment, and making friends.

Generation Z is obsessed with social media

97% of Gen Z use some form of social media (only 2% UK, 1% US responded that they did not use social media at all) (Pion – formerly Voxburner)

As of 2022, 38% of US Gen Z spent more than 4 hours on social media platforms daily (Statista) with YouTube being the most used social media platform (87% UK, 88% US) (Pion), followed by TikTok and Instagram.

Gen Z consumes twice as much video content as Millennials, which explains their affinity for video and visual platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.

Social media is Gen Z’s primary outlet for self-expression, following like-minded/interesting people, seeking recommendations, and staying informed about current events or things they care about.

What stands out compared to other generations is Gen Z’s love of memes and viral videos – over half say they consume this kind of content every month, far ahead of any other kind of content we track (Global Web Index).

58% of Gen Zs say they want to see funny or light-hearted content from the social media accounts they follow. 52% look for content they find inspirational, and 51% seek content that provides helpful information (Global Web Index).

Generation Z are socially conscious activists

84% (UK) and 80% (US) are willing to campaign (anywhere from signing an online petition to attending a protest) for change on critical social issues (systemic racism, abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights, the environment, and gender equality) (Pion).

They are more likely to engage in activism through social media and participate in movements for change than other generations.

Gen Z is worried about climate change

Conversations around sustainability are rising around the world, mainly thanks to the push by Gen Z.

It’s mostly people under 25 who think it is not too late for action on climate change worldwide (Statista).

These include circular economy, renewable energy, global warming, and recycling.

Growing concerns about climate change have spurred more young people to believe that reducing our carbon emissions to net zero is paramount.

That’s a big change from just a few years ago and has to do with an increasing visceral awareness of climate change; the steady drumbeat of news about increasing droughts, floods, heat, wildfires, and melting glacial ice can change minds.

Generation Z subcultures are primarily centered around aesthetics

Originally, subcultures were a group of people within a society who differentiate themselves from the norms and values of the mainstream. For Gen Z, subcultures are primarily aesthetic, nostalgic, and even ironic.

Today’s subcultures are fluid and fragmented, i.e. you can experiment with a ‘dark academia’ aesthetic if you want to give off that Ivy League student vibe without actually having to be one.

Cottagecore became an aesthetic subculture of Generation Z on various social media networks in the wake of the mass lockdowns imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19. It is a form of escapism and aspirational nostalgia.

Gen Z finds its subcultures mainly online ridden with irony and self-consciousness due to the awareness of incessant peer surveillance.

Generation Z is better at delaying gratification

Young people today are better at delaying gratification than their counterparts, despite concerns to the contrary opinion.

A 2020 report by psychologist John Protzko analyzed over 30 studies and found that children have become better at delaying gratification over the past 50 years (Science Direct).

Researchers test this ability using the Marshmallow Test. Children are offered treats: if they are willing to wait, they get two; if not, they only get one.

The ability to delay gratification is associated with positive life outcomes, such as better academic performance, lower rates of substance use, and healthier body weights.

Possible reasons for improvements in delaying gratification include higher standards of living, better-educated parents, improved nutrition, higher preschool attendance rates, more test awareness, and environmental or genetic changes.

Generation Z drinks less alcohol

Young people aged 16 to 24 years in the UK are less likely to drink than any other age group (Office of National Statistics).

Gen Z is generally drinking less alcohol than older generations, a reflection of their attitudes towards health and wellness.

Among the reasons given for drinking less alcohol, wellness motivations, such as avoiding hangovers and long-term health effects were common.

58% (UK, US) expressed that they would go teetotal for health and wellness reasons. 55% (UK, US) of young people have avoided drinking alcohol in the past due to safety concerns (Pion).

14% (UK) and 15% (US) of Gen Zers have quit drinking alcohol altogether.

17% of 19-25-year-olds in the UK and 20% of 22-25-year-olds in the US have never consumed alcohol at all

Generation Z is pro-government

Gen Z is more likely than older generations to look to the government to solve big societal and environmental problems (like systemic racism, abortion access, LGBTQ+ rights, the environment, and gender equality), rather than businesses and individuals.

70% of Gen Zers say the government should do more to solve problems. A somewhat smaller share of Millennials (64%) say the government should do more to solve problems, and this view is even less prevalent among older generations (53% of Gen Xers, 49% of Boomers, and 39% of Silents) (Pew Research Centre).

49% of UK Gen Z and 44% of US Gen Z think that older Gen Zers and younger Millennials (25-33 year-olds) in positions of power are best placed to facilitate change in the world (Pion).

Big societal problems are more political than personal for Gen Z. This suggests that for Gen Z real change requires top-down action.

Generation Z is financially pragmatic

Generation Z is acutely aware of financial realities, which is unsurprising given they grew up after the 2008 recession and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gen Z is more likely to save money and be financially cautious (World Economic Forum).

They are price-conscious shoppers, influenced by deals, quality, and value for money.

The current inflation and rising living costs play a significant role in reinforcing these concerns.

Gen Z drives cryptocurrency trend

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency powered by blockchain technology, whereby transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralised system.

Worldwide 25% of Millennials and 17% of Gen Z consumers own Bitcoin or some other form of crypto in 2023 (Statista).

Considering that most Gen Z is still young and in education, they are probably the generation most invested in cryptocurrency.


Generation Z is politically progressive and left-leaning

Most gen­er­a­tions tend to be more liberal and left-lean­ing than the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, and Gen Z is no excep­tion.

Gen Z was most likely to support the Labour Party in the UK, the Democrats in the US, AND the Greens or Free Democratic Party in Germany in recent elections. The age divide between left-wing and right-wing has particularly grown in the last decade (Wikipedia).

Gen Z is the least like­ly gen­er­a­tion to approve of Pres­i­dent Trump’s lead­er­ship, and they are the most like­ly gen­er­a­tion to see the advance­ment of LGBTQ rights as a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment.

Even among Repub­li­cans, Gen Zers take a more pro­gres­sive stance on social issues. They agree that Blacks are treat­ed more unfair­ly in their coun­try, they believe the gov­ern­ment should play a greater role in solv­ing prob­lems and they are more like­ly to attribute cli­mate change to human activ­i­ty, as opposed to nat­ur­al patterns (Pew Research Centre).

One of the earliest political movements primarily driven by Generation Z was the School Strike for Climate in the late 2010s. The movement saw millions of young people around the world, inspired by the activities of Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, protest for greater action on climate change.

Most white members of Generation Z are non-religious

As of 2021, more than 50% of twentysomethings in the UK are not religious, compared with under 37% a decade earlier (Office for National Statistics).

Globally, religion is in decline in the Euro-American countries but is growing in the rest of the world (Wikipedia).

Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion in the world (Pew Research Centre).

Gen Z values wellness (aka mind-body health)

Alternative lifestyles and stress-reduction techniques emerge as a priority for optimal health. Alternative wellness approaches such as botanicals, acupuncture, meditation, energy healing, nature therapy, and yoga are very popular with Gen Z.

People are increasingly striving to nurture their whole selves. Much of that change came from the extreme stresses brought on by the pandemic.


Generation Z values stable income and financial security

Having witnessed economic downturns, Gen Z value job security and are more pragmatic about their career choices compared to Millennials.

Gen Z has a high preference for regular employment rather than freelance or part-time work, which may come as a surprise compared to the attitude of Millennials (McKinsey & Company).

More members of Generation Z are choosing STEM careers

The preference for ‘secure’ degrees matches Gen Zs attitudes towards stability and financial security.

Since 2011, there has been an unprecedented growth in students opting to take on STEM  (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) subjects. This includes a 400% increase in acceptances for students wishing to go on to study Artificial Intelligence courses at university.

Acceptances into computer science courses have risen by almost 50% (from 20,420 in 2011 to 30,090 in 2020); and acceptances to engineering courses are up 21% (from 25,995 in 2011 to 31,545 in 2020). This is driven by an increase in demand from UK 18-year-olds (UK Government).

A recent study showed that 56% of Gen Z teens believe a skills-based education (e.g., trade skills, nursing, STEM, etc.) makes sense in today’s world. So, rather than waiting for a 4-year degree to start earning an income, they can train in a 2-12 months program, start a paying job, and work for a company offering tuition reimbursement for 4-year degrees and opportunities for promotion.

This generation of self-learners is more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than in traditional learning institutions, with nano degrees and micro-credentials gaining popularity.

Gen Z values work-life balance more than a high salary

 Gen Z prioritizes flexibility and work-life balance over high salaries.

Generation Z values higher salaries less than every other generation.

32% of Gen Zs say that a good work-life balance is a top reason they work for their current employer with learning and development opportunities (29%), high salary (24%), positive workplace culture (23%), and career advancement opportunities (23%) are important too (Deloitte).

Thanks to the global pandemic, Gen Z can demand greater flexibility in how they want to work with 3 in 4 Gen Zs prefer hybrid or remote work arrangements (Deloitte).

41% (UK) and 40% (US) are not willing to work beyond their regular working hours if there is an important deadline and are comfortable doing above the bare minimum at work (Pion).

Gen Z wants hybrid work

As of 2022, 45% of Generation Z employees preferred hybrid work while 29 percent preferred for work to be fully remote (Statista).

Many Gen Z agree that autonomy is priceless.

For white-collar workers, the workplace is no longer just a sea of grey cubicles in a corporate office. Work happens wherever people are given the space to be productive.

The future is hybrid, and work-life integration and balance are paramount.

Generation Z are entrepreneurial hustlers

Many Gen Z individuals have been earning money online from an early age through a variety of activities, the most notable being content creation for brands.

They are self-starters with a strong entrepreneurial spirit who value independence.

62% of Gen Zers say they have started—or intend to start—their own business (Microsoft).

Gen Z aspire to become digital creators or influencers

As of 2020, Gen Z influencers make up 34% of all influencers worldwide (Statista).

Becoming a digital creator or influencer is an attractive career choice. Different research shows that anything from 25%-56% of Gen Z would like to be influencers and consider it a reputable career choice.

Creator culture continues to flourish, as more people can transform a hobby into an economically viable full-time role.

Generation Z is individualistic and prefers to work independently

Gen Z is more individualistic, with a stronger sense of personal expression than previous generations.

Gen Z prefers individual tasks over team-based activities (Deloitte).

71% of Generation Z said they believe the phrase If you want it done right, then do it yourself.(Nice).

When given the option to arrange a group of desks, Millennials would opt for a collaborative arrangement and assemble the desks into a circle. Generation Z will be more competitive with their colleagues and will harness a do-it-yourself mentality at work.


Generation Z are price-conscious consumers

Gen Z spends less generally.

40% of Gen Z households are in the low-income bracket – and 25% more likely to be so than the average consumer (Global Web Index).

Because of this, they prioritize value and affordability when purchasing online, making sales and discounts particularly appealing.

However, they are willing to pay extra for convenience and good customer service. 58% of Generation Z is willing to pay more than $5 for one-hour delivery (Accenture).

Generation Z is less likely to impulse-buy

Gen Zers are more cautious with their purchase decisions and less likely to make impulse purchases than older generations (eMarketer).

50% of Gen Z said they make a purchase when they need something, and 33% look for good deals and buy when there are sales.

Approximately 2/3 of respondents said that they are willing to wait for sales and deals before a purchase, demonstrating patience (Statista).

Generation Z buys to express not to impress

Gen Z is an informed and analytical consumer. They assess and evaluate a broad range of information before purchases.

About 65% of Gen Z try to learn the origins of anything they buy—where it is made, what it is made from, and how it is made (McKinsey & Company).

This is because they consider their pur­chas­ing deci­sions an expres­sion of their val­ues and iden­ti­ty—as opposed, for example, to buying or wearing brands to fit in with the norms of groups.

They are drawn to sus­tain­able prod­ucts and brands that share their values.

70% of A-class (more disposable income) and 58% of C-class (less disposable income) consumers are willing to pay a premium for products from brands that embrace causes those consumers identify with (McKinsey & Company).

Generation Z are ethical and eco-friendly consumers

For Gen Z, consumption is a matter of ethical concern.

Gen Z is adopting more sustainable behaviors than any other group: 50% reduced how much they buy, and 45% stopped purchasing certain brands because of sustainability or ethics concerns (Deloitte).

73% of Gen Z reported trying to purchase from companies they consider ethical (McKinsey & Company).

Climate awareness is clearly on rise due to these trends:

* Electric vehicle sales have grown

* Consumer electronics companies extend smartphone lifecycles, and support trade-ins, and recycling.

* Upcycling, in which unwanted or waste materials are transformed into new goods

* More consumers view secondhand goods as desirable, a trend aligned with the rise of the circular economy. 81% (UK) and 80% (US) of young people already buy second-hand clothing. 72% (UK) and 66% (US) of them already buy second-hand homewares or furniture, too (Pion).

Generation Z consumes to access not own

Consumption is about access rather than ownership for Gen Z (McKinsey & Company).

Access-based consumption allows individuals to experience the newest trends and products without the burdens of ownership or commitment to a specific style or brand.

Gen Zers stream films, share cars, rent luxury clothing, and other ad-hoc items.

Generation Z is influenced by friends & family and online reviews

Young people in the UK (55%) and US (54%) are most influenced to buy a product by recommendations from friends & family, as opposed to whether it is trending on social media or promoted by a celebrity or influencer (Pion).

Word-of-mouth including online user reviews are among the most influential drivers of purchases for Gen Z.

41% of Gen Zers will read at least 5 online reviews before making a purchase (The Center for Generational Kinetics).

Gen Z discovers new products on social media

Social media plays an important role in the discovery of products, particularly when it comes to beauty, clothing, health, and personal care products(eMarketer).

TikTok (73%) and Instagram (69.7%) are the two most popular platforms for Gen Z to discover new brands or products. Engaging with creator/influencer videos is the most common product discovery method among Gen Z shoppers.

Gen Z is more influenced by genuinfluencers than celebrities/influencers

In the US, Gen Z’s interest in celebrity news and influencers dropped by 26% and 15% respectively since 2020 (Global Web Index).

At the same time, the portion of US Gen Z who say they want their lifestyles to impress others or who say they’re influenced by what’s cool or trendy have also declined.

63% of GenZers want to see “real people” instead of celebrities in advertising (Global News Wire).

They are more interested in the “genuinfluencer” – someone who have earned Gen Z trust online because they share authentic details of their lives rather than just link to products to buy. They don’t shy away from important topics and spread information to their followers about big issues like mental health, social inequality, and racial injustice.