Earlier this year, Market Research Foundation identified and began tracking a trend that appears to be accelerating worldwide: the increasing conservative views of the youngest generation, “Generation Z”. Who are Generation Z? Like millennials or Baby Boomers, they’re an age cohort who, while diverse, tend to share certain traits and values based on the world they grew up in. Generation Z is loosely defined as individuals born between 1995 and 2004, with the youngest members starting high school and the oldest members entering the workforce fresh out of college.
For years while millennials held the youth vote, young voters played an instrumental role in shifting the nation to the Left, but Generation Z is reversing that shift, and it isn’t just in the United States either.
A recent survey of 3,388 young adults between the ages of 18 and 23 in G20 countries including the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico, and India, shows Generation Z is politically aware and economically conservative. The report, conducted by IFAC to better understand the political and career attitudes of young people, reads:
“The issues that they (Generation Z) want their governments to focus on demonstrate a concern for the economy and their job prospects, as well as a preference for conservatism when it comes to the trade-offs involved in government policy.”
Throughout the survey, desires to address economic issues, make a meaningful impact in the world, and focus nationally as opposed to globally, are evident:
- 51% of Gen Z’ers globally favor a nationalist approach to public policy, while 32% favor globalism and international collaboration.
- Globally, Gen Z prefers nationalism to globalism by a margin of 18%.
- In the United States, 52% prefer nationalism by a 24% margin.
- Gen Z’ers in the US and India put the ability to make a meaningful impact through their work ahead of salary and benefits in choosing a career.
This new survey supports data from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation that showed a majority of Generation Z identified as Republican in 2016. Well and good, but what is the actual impact of Generation Z? The answer is, it could be massive. First, there are a lot of them, and second, they’ll be around a while.
Young adults born after 1995 outnumber every other living age cohort in the nation at 25 percent of the population. They outnumber Baby Boomers and Millennials combined. Generation Z will also have an average of 60+ years of political activism and economic contribution ahead of them that will drive the direction of the country across a range of issues. The ideology of the up-and-coming generation will shape the direction of the US on issues like foreign trade and intervention, nationalism versus globalism, tax policy and monetary policy, and free speech and civil liberties. It is vital that researchers concerned with the political and economic future of the country realize the impact of the next generation, and work to understand and speak to their concerns.