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Brief Published: 29 Feb 2016

Gen Z: Pragmatic & Entrepreneurial

More than three-quarters of Gen Z in the US believe the American dream is attainable

A study looking at the social and political attitudes of older members of Gen Z in the US (aged 14 to 17) has found them to have a pragmatic outlook.

Commissioned by the Center for Generational Kinetics, a US research firm specialising in millennials and Gen Z, the study suggests that the scepticism of Gen Z's Gen X parents has been a strong influence, as well as experiencing the effects of the 2008 financial crisis on their home lives.

  • Crisis Kids: Though too young to recall the 2008 crash, Gen Z experienced its effects – millennial siblings moving back home, parents searching for work and grandparents taking forced retirement. Less than a quarter of these crisis kids believe the economy is moving in the right direction, and almost 40% think the whole country is off track.
  • Political Mistrust: Only a quarter of Gen Z trust in elected officials, though this is still ahead of boomers (14%) and Gen X (15%).
  • Failing Diversity: Gen Z is the least likely of all generations to think that minorities have equal opportunities to succeed at work and business.

However, the study suggests that far from being pessimists, US Gen Zers are the strongest believers in self-made success. While they recognise the dire state of the economy, over three-quarters believe the American dream is attainable – higher than any other generation. This leads the study to suggest we are in for a wave of entrepreneurialism as Gen Z strike out and create their own job opportunities.

To find out how to appeal to a generation of pragmatists, see our Born on the Web Industry Trend and Marketing Imperfection, part of our Get Real Macro Trend.

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