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Gen Z has 'realistic' outlook

News, 18 February 2016

AUSTIN, TX: US centennials have a dismal view of political leaders, the state of the economy, and the direction of the country, according to a new study, whose author suggests this is a "realistic" outlook.

In a white paper, Gen Z's Political and Civic Outlook, based on a survey of 1,000 people aged 14-69 with an additional over-sample of 250 14-17 year olds, The Center for Generational Kinetics reported that only around a quarter of Gen Z respondents trusted elected officials or considered the economy and country were heading in the right direction.

But more than three quarters believed the American Dream is attainable – higher than any other generation.

"The negative perspective of this emerging generation doesn't mean they're Debby Downers; it means they're being realistic," said Jason Dorsey, co-author of the report, who compared them to Baby Boomers: "They want to avoid debt at all costs, and they value workplace stability and opportunity."

The report noted that this age group was too young to remember the financial crisis of 2008, "but they most certainly watched older Millennial siblings move back home, watched parents search for jobs, and saw grandparents take forced, early retirement", all of which has influenced their outlook on life.

"Gen Z is developing a strong work ethic and an entrepreneurial spirit," said Dorsey. "They're determined to take charge of their future and are primed to create solutions for our country."

Despite most of this generation not yet being able to vote, almost half said voting was important – a "remarkable" figure according to the report, since they felt this way "even without the real-world experience that often lends value to the act of voting".

And while only 26% trusted elected officials, that was still a much higher proportion than for Baby Boomers (14%) or Gen X (15%) and on a par with Millennials (27%).

Data sourced from The Center for Generational Kinetics; additional content by Warc staff