Generation Z, also called Gen Z or Zoomers, comes after Millennials and before Generation Alpha. Most of them are the children of Generation X. This generation’s birth years range from the late 1990s to 2012. Generation Z grew up with the internet, smartphones and social media. They are referred to as the hyper-connected generation.
Different researchers use different dates to describe the birth range of this generation, but if we stick with 1997 – 2012, then the youngest is 8 years old in 2020 and the oldest 23.
Why are they called Generation Z?
The term follows naturally onto the names for the two previous generations, namely generation X and generation Y. Generation Y later became known as the millennials, a term which is now more in use. It is thought that the terms Gen X and Gen Z will also eventually be replaced as a clearer picture or each generation emerges over the years.
Qualities of Generation Z
Zoomers practically grew up with smartphones in their hands. They have no conception of a world without smartphones and the internet. This makes them technologically advanced from an early age. Many are so used to texting as a means of communication that they often prefer it to in-person interactions.
They are constantly digitally connected. A 2019 marketing study found that more than half of this generation spends an average of 10 hours a day on digital content using multiple devices.
Gen Z is independent and self-reliant. They don’t rely on the adults in their lives to help – they have the internet for that. Uncle Google can tell them all they need to know. This generation, being really tech-savvy, can figure out from a very young age how to make money online, which can also give them early financial independence. Many of them now in high school plan to become entrepreneurs and make money online.
Care about the environment
Zoomers are informed about environmental issues and cares deeply about the environment. Research has shown the Gen Z wants to work for organizations that are socially and environmentally responsible.
Gen Z is aware of the devastation wreaked on the environment and wants to stop the man-made causes of it. They follow eco-conscious practices and support environmental issues.
It’s no wonder that one of today’s foremost environmental activists comes from their ranks. Greta Thunberg (January 3, 2003) is a Swedish climate change activist. When she was 15, she made impassioned speeches outside the Swedish parliament. She has led a global to stop climate change and addressed the United Nations (UN) leaders at the September 23, 2019 UN Climate Summit.
Diversity is not an issue with zoomers
Generation Z is accepting of differences whether race, sexual orientation or religion. They accept people for who they are and insist that people should be themselves, whatever that may be. They are familiar with sexual fluidity - even very young members of this generation. They speak openly about the LGBT community as part of their reality and research has found that less than half of them strongly identify as completely heterosexual.
They will fight for justice
This generation is well-informed. They know about the many injustices in this world and the people that suffer as a result of it. They are aware of issues like human trafficking, poverty, refugees, violence against women and children, unemployment, etc. They are determined to bring about positive change and will rally behind a cause that they believe in.
Generation Z is pragmatic
Where millennials want a job that’s fulfilling, generation Z just wants the job to give them a reasonable income. Generation Z sees a job as a way to earn an income and will choose a job that pays well over one that they like.
Experts say this focus on financial security can be traced back to the Great Recession when Gen X as youngsters may have suffered with their parents through difficult financial times.
Gen Z is highly competitive
This group grew up in an immensely competitive educational environment with constant testing, and constantly being judged on the sport field or on stage. For them to compete is natural and to win means everything. This has translated into a competition for everything from getting into the best schools to landing the best jobs.
They are used to and demand immediate feedback in order to know where they stand.
They have no religion
Gen Z is growing up without religion and doesn’t identify with any religion. This shift started with millennials who in the United Kingdom as well as in the United States identify as having no religion. This doesn’t mean that they are godless or atheists; it simply means that they are not religious.
According to research, many believe in God or are open to some sort of spirituality.
Interesting facts about generation Z
They are saving the world
Generation Z has activists worldwide: Greta Thunberg from Sweden, Amika George from the United Kingdom; David Hogg from the States; Joshua Wong from Hong Kong; Hadiqa Bashir from Pakistan and Elle van der Burg from South Africa.
Greta Thunberg is continuing her fight against the use of fossil fuels and demands for action on climate change unabatedly. A rally she organized was attended by 15,000 people in Bristol earlier this year.
Amika George’s campaign for free period products for girls and women looks like an effort to help poor families out. While that is true, her aim goes much deeper and much wider. Thousands of girls miss out on school every month because their families are too poor to afford sanitary towels. If these girls can get access to free period products, having a period once a month won’t cost them their education.
David Hogg became a gun control activist after surviving a mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSD) in Florida on February 14, 2018.
He, with other students at MSD founded the advocacy group Never Again MSD. They have also organized protests, marches and boycotts.
Joshua Wong is a Hong Kong student activist and politician who has lead numerous demonstrations for democracy. He was jailed for two months for his role in leading the 2014 ‘Umbrella Movement’ sit-in protests. He was included in TIME magazine's Most Influential Teens of 2014 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.
Hadiqa Bashir fights against child marriage in her village. She goes from door to door to tell families not to marry their daughters off and to allow them to go to school and get an education instead.
She has campaigned for the legal age for marriage to be increased to 18 and for proper fines to be instated for marrying a child off. She calls her campaign Girls United for Human Rights. She has received several awards for her work.
Elle van der Burg is a model and an outspoken activist for transgender people. She wants the world to understand that transgender and sexuality are not the same thing. She is campaigning for open and meaningful conversations about gender and sexuality.
Generation Z has not been around for long yet so it’s hard to have an overall view of them or to get an inkling of the effect they will have on society in the long run. For now, we can observe that they are smart, bold and enterprising. They are well-informed and prepared to fight for what they believe in. It’s my guess they haven’t arrived a moment too soon.