Taking a Stance: Examining Millennial and Gen-Z Political Views

By the midterm elections this November, Americans born after 2000 will be eligible to vote for the first time. As gen-Z comes into political maturity, it’s important not only for politicians, but also corporations, to understand where these newly-independent consumers stand on a host of socio-political issues.

In our latest study, we explore a wide range of issues across generational segments including:

  • Sexual identity
  • Gender roles
  • Diversity
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Immigration
  • Gun control
  • Environment

Gen-Z Leans “Conservative”, but Decidedly Undecided

While both of the younger generations are more liberal than gen-X and boomers+, gen-Z has a much smaller liberal wing (25%) than millennials (39%). What’s more significant, though, is that a third of gen-Z is undecided in its political affiliation. We predict, however, that as they enter the political arena, they’ll look more like millennials than the more conservative older generations.

Gen-Z Shedding Gender and Sexual Norms

Only 66% of gen-Z and 75% of millennials identify as “100% completely straight,” as compared to 86-7% of gen-X and boomer+. When it comes to gender roles, over half of gen-Z think they’re outdated, while only 45% of millennials share that position.

Over 2/3 of both younger generations supports same-sex marriage, compared to roughly half for the older segments. These trends suggest that gen-Z, raised in a more accepting atmosphere of LGBTQ+  community and upwardly-mobile women, has significantly more liberal perceptions on gender and sexual politics.

Gen-Z More Accepting of a Diverse America

Gen-Z’s demographics continue the trend of a diversifying America, with only 52% identifying as “white.” A more interesting trend, though, is the changing approval of marriage crossing racial/ethnic boundaries. About 75% of gen-Z and 70% of millennials would reportedly be happy with their children marrying someone of a different race or ethnicity, as compared to only 53% of gen-X and 46% of boomers+.

Interestingly, this support peaks for millennials born in 1991-1996 (77%) and gen-Z born in 1997-1999 (79%). So, it’s possible the current political climate could be influencing the youngest Americans.

Agreement Across Generations on Climate Change

The least controversial of the issues we covered is actually one of the most divisive questions at the national level: whether human activity is changing the Earth’s climate. Over 70% of all generational segments indicated they agreed with the scientific consensus that global temperature increases have been caused in part by human activity. Millennials were by far the most likely to agree at 77%.  Gen-Z technically had the lowest rate at 72%, but this mainly suggests that millennials are distinct here for their overwhelming support.

Despite gen-Z’s slight conservative leaning, we predict based on our analysis that a substantial share of ‘undecideds’ will swing liberal in the near future. While the political implication of this shift is unclear, one thing is certain: these progressive attitudes will carry over into gen-Z consumer behavior. Generation-conscious marketing will have to take these emergent political leanings into account when determining brand direction.

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