The report uses data from nearly 1,000 interviews with Gen Z adults 18-21 year-olds and explores how Gen Z adults view American culture and commerce. In addition to the latest report, Morning Consult is conducting more than 250,000 interviews on adult Gen Z adults every year, providing deep, measurable insights into the emerging, influential generation.
PERSONAL VALUE & LIFE OUTLOOK
Gen Z's are more likely to define themselves by what they do, have aspirations to be famous: By and large, Gen Z adults hold similar values to older Americans, placing a premium on honesty, reliability, and commitment. However, the places where Gen Z adults differ from older generations have a clear trend: they are more likely to put stock in individualistic values, and less likely to say hierarchical values are important.
- Making money and having a successful career are the two most universally important life goals for Gen Z adults - more than pursuing friends, family, or hobbies. They are also notably more likely than older generations to value doing what it takes to get ahead in life
- A quarter of Gen Z adults have aspirations to be famous: 23% say being famous is important to them - eight points higher than millennials and 15 points higher than Gen X
TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS & POWER
Gen Z are skeptical about American power and institutions: Gen Z adults are politically disengaged and widely distrustful of institutions and powerful interests:
- 78% say there is a lot of corruption in America
- 8% have a lot of trust in people in power to do the right thing
- 53% agree that people who work hard and play by the rules generally get ahead - 8 points lower than all adults
- 44% say they have strong political opinions, 20 points lower than all older adults
- Capitalism vs. Socialism: Reversing a trend of declining generational trust, Gen Z adults put slightly more faith in capitalism than millennials. They have an equally rosy view of socialism
- Gen Z adults are far less America-centric than older Americans. They are less likely to say that being an American is important to their identity, and more skeptical that the U.S. sets a good example for the rest of the world
Gen Z is more liberal and invested in social justice: Compared to older generations, Gen Z adults are the most liberal and are particularly invested in social justice issues. Gen Z adults are 20 points less likely to be conservative than other generations.
- Health care, civil rights, and the cost of education are the most important issues for Gen Z adults
- Just 20% of Gen Z adults have a favorable opinion of President Trump while 64% have an unfavorable one
Gen Z worldview shaped by mass shootings, Trump, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement: #BlackLivesMatter, mass shootings and the election of President Trump have shaped Gen Z adults' worldview the most:
- The Potency of #BlackLivesMatter: No recent political event has registered more with Gen Z adults, relative to older generations, than the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 52% say the #BlackLivesMatter movement had a major impact on their worldview, and another 27% say it has had a minor impact
- For certain Gen Z adults demographics, it's even higher: 62% of women, 64% of Democrats, and 64% of African-Americans say the movement had a major impact
Gen Z adults have a news diet entirely unlike any other generation: Roughly half of Gen Z adults (49%) get most of their news from social media, compared to 17% for all other adults. Twelve percent of Gen Z gets most of their news on television, compared to 42% of all other adults.
- TV news consumption lower for Gen Z adults than older generations: For example, Gen Z adults are over 10 points less likely to watch traditional broadcast networks (CBS, NBC, ABC) than older generations
- Digital-first publications are popular: Gen Z adults are most likely to use digital-first news publications such as Buzzfeed, Daily Mail, Vox, and NY Magazine on a weekly basis, relative to older Americans
Jeffree Star, Kardashians, Tati Westbrook are among the most influential celebrity endorsements: Jeffree Star, the Kardashians family, Beyonce, Lebron James, Rihanna and Tati Westbrook are among the most influential celebrities for Gen Z adults when it comes to product endorsements.
- Gen Z adults shopping habits: In-store shopping is still the most popular option for the youngest consumers (48%), particularly women (55%)
- Over half of Gen Z adults (53%) say there are brands they are loyal to, compared to 61% of all other adults
- Price and quality and the most important factors driving brand loyalty
- Beware the memes: More than a third of Gen Z adults say they've mocked brands online in the past year for political reasons
- Liberals are more likely to boycott: Thirty-nine percent of self-described Gen Z liberals say they've stopped paying for a company's products because of a political stance in the past year, compared to 20 percent of moderates and 22 percent of conservatives