Generation Z is the generation of digital natives born between the years 1995 and 2004. Its members make up roughly a fourth of the population of the U.S. and are on their way to become a third of the total U.S. population.

Understanding Generation Z

Generation Z or Gen Z is defined as the generation of adults born between the years 1995 and 2004. Also known as i-Generation or i-Gen, this generation of adults follow the preceding Millennials, who were born between early 1980s to mid-1990s. This generation consists a little over a fourth of the population of the U.S. and contributes nearly $44 billion to the American economy. It is estimated that by the year 2020, Generation Z will account for nearly one-third of the population of the U.S.

As of late, Millennials have taken the center stage as the ‘current generation’ in almost all sectors of society. Given the age the world is in right now, one can assume that Millennials have paved the ways and laid the foundations of the current society that we live in. But with the passing of the seasons, so does the time of Millennials. The more young and energetic group of individuals are gradually taking center stage in the society. Given that the Gen-Z is the succeeding generation to the Millennial, it goes without saying that it is well-suited to this ongoing Age of Information.

Despite both groups of individuals being right close to each other in the generational range, they have experienced life in a variety of different ways given the expansion and development of the digital revolution. This presents a handful of differences between these two generations, that distinctively set the members apart from one another. Looking at how these groups function in the society, the following are some of the noticeable traits that separate Gen-Z’ers from Millennials. 

Multi-taskers: Members of Gen-Z have varied interests and are able to easily switch focus from one area to another. They are able to handle multiple on going distractions and are able to work on multiple tasks at a given time. Of course, this does present the drawback of them being less focused on one specific task or activity compared to Millennials.

Go-getters: The trend of getting hands on experience is slowly catching on with Gen-Z members which have made them early-starters in whatever path they aspire to take in the future. Most Gen-Z’ers do not believe in the traditional idea of getting a job after attaining higher education which was a go-to formula for nearly all Millennials. Gen-Z’ers will opt for the non-traditional route anytime if they see the opportunity of learning something by themselves. This mentality also directs them toward a path of entrepreneurship and starting a business in the future.

High-expectations: A Gen-Z’er views himself or herself entirely differently than a Millennial. For example, while Millennials would stay loyal to a certain brand to products, despite its lack of poor service, Gen-Z’ers would do the completely opposite. They would move on to something else that gives them the service that they know they deserve. Things that were privilege to Millennials are now basic necessities to Gen-Z’ers, which has led them to have comparatively high expectations and standards.

Global individuality: It is true that Millennials were the first “Global” generation but as the internet expanded its reach, all Gen-Z’ers assimilated more appropriately to its definition. They were born as social individuals and over 90% of Gen-Z have a digital presence via social media sites. This has led them to have more interactions, and relations to their peers on a global scale. Studies have shown that around 58% of adults worldwide aged 35 and above agree that their children have much more in common with their global peers than with them.

Technology-addicted: The term i-Gen isn’t associated with Generation Z for no reason. These individuals have grown up alongside technology for as long as they can remember. Surveys have shown that almost a fourth of Gen-Z’ers are more likely to say that that are addicted to their digital devices such as smart-phones, tablets, computers etc., in comparison to Millennials. Growing up with technology and having a hard time looking away from the screens has mostly resulted in members of this generation to have difficulty in having face-to-face social interaction with people.

Looking at all the noticeable differences and traits of Gen-Z’ers, it is important to keep in mind that this generation will be the future group of individuals who will lead the world forward. Parents of this generation will definitely have challenges in raising them in comparison to parents who raised Millennials. Since these children will be very attracted to technology and will be highly dependent upon them, identifying the positive and negative aspects of the digital revolution will be one of the hardest challenges. Additionally, raising children of this generation to make them capable of balancing their social life and social-media life is also another trial in itself. 

Finally, members of Generation Z are those individuals who are now growing up to better grasp the environment around them so that they have the necessary skill set to lay the foundations for themselves and the future generations that will succeed them.