Many demographic researchers use the name Gen Z for the current generation of adolescents and young adults. Gen Z, as defined by the Pew Research Center, encompasses people born between 1997 and 2012. Due to the effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, Gen Zers have a more uncertain future outlook than the members of previous generations.
Young people born between 1997 and 2012 are classified as Generation Z because they are two generations after Gen X (those born between 1965 and 1980). Generation Y is an alternative name for Millennials (1980-1996). Since the letter Z comes after Y, the generation after Gen Y is known as Gen Z. Other colloquial names for this generation are Zoomers, centennials, Homelanders, iGeneration, and post-millennials.
In recent years, Gen Z has become increasingly popular in culture and journalism. Even reputable sources like Merriam-Webster and Oxford, as well as the Urban Dictionary, now use this name for the generation after Millennials. Google Trends data also indicate that "Generation Z" is the most searched term for information. Although there is no scientific method to determine when a name becomes widely accepted, it is evident that Gen Z is gaining momentum.
Most people lump Gen Z together with Millennials in the same vague category of “young people.” However, there are many intricacies that distinguish the two generations’ mindsets and lifestyles. Here are some of the main differences between these groups.
Millennials grew up in a time when social media platforms weren’t a thing yet and witnessed the development of computer technology, while Gen Zs have been immersed in technology since birth. This difference has both positive and negative aspects. Gen Zs show impressive tech skills from a young age. However, this generation’s early exposure to smartphones and social media results in issues with socialization and shortened attention span.
Due to their privilege of growing up in simpler and more prosperous times with the support of their Gen X parents, Millennials generally have a more positive worldview. On the other hand, Gen Zs tend to be more realistic as a result of the instability they faced during their upbringing.
Millennials experienced the rise of digital technology during their formative years, leading them to embrace early social media platforms and share their thoughts, opinions, and nearly every personal detail of their lives with the public. In contrast, Gen Zs prioritize privacy and are cautious about what they disclose online, prioritizing their safety and security.
Since rents used to be lower and property was more accessible, Millennials’ upbringing and mindset focus on self-reliance. However, Gen Zs are living in turbulent times where rents are skyrocketing and buying property seems like an unlikely prospect, so many of them stay in their parents’ homes even after finishing university. As a result, many members of this generation struggle to attain self-sufficiency and figure out what they really want in life.
Millennials were once known as the most diverse generation in the Western world. However, Generation Z, although slightly more diverse, is far more enthusiastic about diversity and inclusion. As a result, there is a greater need for representation and diversity in various areas of life, including the workplace and media. This generation’s passion for diversity has resulted in a rise in the employment of people from ethnic and religious minority groups.
The demographic group succeeding Generation Z is known as Generation Alpha or Gen Alpha for short. Scientists and popular media refer to the early 2010s as the starting birth years of Generation Alpha and the early-to-mid 2020s as their ending birth years. Named after the first letter of the Greek alphabet, they are the first generation to live entirely in the 21st century and the third millennium.
As Gen Z's trailblazers move towards the post-education phase of their lives, they're entering a whole new world of financial responsibility. Retirement planning, college debt, and building a solid financial foundation for the future are just a few of the challenges they'll face. But with a solid financial plan in place, they can conquer these obstacles and pave the way for a bright financial future.