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For far too long we have belabored the strengths and weaknesses of the Millennials (aka, Generation Y), but what about their successors, Generation Z? This is the Generation born between the late 1990s and the middle of this decade. This is a generation who is now getting ready to graduate from High School and enter college, but what can we expect from them?
Whereas the Baby Boomers were responsible for the Millennials, Generation X begat Gen Z, and hopefully, they will do a better job than the Boomers who, frankly, dropped the ball along the way.
Generation Z has no recollection of Bill Clinton or the scandals surrounding him or George W. Bush for that matter. They were also too young to truly remember 9/11. They primarily remember Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. More recently, they have heard about North Korea, Iran, and Cuba, but have no recollection of the events surrounding them, such as the Korean Armistice, the American hostages in Iran under President Carter, or the Cuban Missile Crisis and Bay of Pigs under President Kennedy. They have also heard of numerous terrorist attacks and school shootings. In terms of academics, they have grown up in an age of testing and technology. Just about all of them are intimate with smartphones, social media, eCommerce, and other features of the Internet, much more so than the Millennials.
In school, they have excelled in the areas of math, science, and foreign language (primarily Spanish). Unfortunately, they are weak in terms of their knowledge of government, history, and speech. Their sense of socialization is different than their predecessors, as the media has been highly influential in their lives since infancy. I am also concerned about their interest in reading as paper books, newspapers, and magazines are disappearing. They may not be too informed about current events or history, but they are perhaps the most educated generation to date.
Whereas prior generations were hungry and understood the value of a dollar and an education, it is yet unclear the priorities Generation Z possesses. The recent shootings in Parkland, Florida triggered an outburst of outrage, but it is uncertain how much of this was sincere, and how much was orchestrated by politicians. Nevertheless, it was the first such political reaction by high-schoolers since the 1970s.
The proof in the pudding will be in November which represents the generation's first opportunity to vote in a major American election. If the turnout is low, we will know we have produced another generation of apathetic voters, but I am not yet convinced it will turn out this way.
I have been reading there are significant differences between the Millennials and Generation Z. From what I've heard, Gen Z looks upon the Millennials as irresponsible and foolish. Whereas the Millennials have shown signs of embracing liberal doctrine, Gen Z is more conservative in nature.
According to a 2015 report from Goldman Sachs, "Gen-Z is more conservative, more money-oriented, and more entrepreneurial than the millennials were."
This was echoed by another report in 2016, "My College Options and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) today presented the results of a new national survey of approximately 50,000 'Generation Z' high school students (ages 14-18) attitudes on the 2016 presidential election which found that the majority identify as Republicans—in sharp contrast to Millennials—and overall would vote for Donald Trump."
If this is true, it is likely Generation Z will become more politically and economically influential than the Millennials.
Maybe Generation Z represents a correction in society, just as we experience in the stock market. Whereas the Millennials may have gone too far left, it appears Generation Z is turning to the right instead.
Keep the Faith!
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Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.