Anchor Staff Writer
For being a generation of so-called “snowflakes,” Generation Z has shown a resilience unlike any other throughout its formative years. Generation Z, described by the Oxford Dictionary, are those born between the late 1990s to early 21st century. This generation is often maligned like every peer group reaching its peak in population and power as a generation: Out of touch, lazy or overtly sensitive to the realities of life. In fact, this could not be farther from the truth. Generation Z is a faction that, despite the ever changing nature of the landscape around them, has shown a determination, momentum and intelligence that will lead the world to greater heights.
What defines Generation Z immediately before its tangible characteristics is the rapidly shifting society they have grown within. The lives of those born within these years in America have witnessed history unfold at a breakneck pace, surviving through a recession, a polarized electoral landscape, a world-stopping pandemic and a revitalized discourse on race, gender, and human rights often punctuated by protest. The dynamic nature of their environment as they have grown has had notable effects on those in Generation Z’s mental health. As a study by McKinsey indicated, one in four members of said group demonstrate elements of emotional distress. And another study conducted by Morning Consult has determined that Generation Z is expeditiously losing faith in traditional institutions. It has also shown a sharp rise in the age group’s members believing in their ability to shape their future for the better. Indeed, the dubbed “zoomer” generation has all of the cards in play to forge a greater future for those that will follow them.
Members of Generation Z are the most well-educated on record, with 57% of those born in the generation enrolled in a two-to-four year college. Despite the common stereotype of those being born in Generation Z as lacking recognition of society’s common sense truths, they have to the contrary shown themselves to be incredibly pragmatic and grounded in realism when surveying the world around them. Not only are they driven towards achieving their dream jobs and financial stability, but they are also the most supportive of worker’s unions across the board, prioritizing the wellbeing of themselves and their loved ones over corporate and political greed.
The undeniably greatest asset backing this generation, in truth, is their combined diversity and unity. Generation Z is the most racially diverse age group on record, as well as the most ethnically, sexually and religiously distinct. This factor has brought an unprecedented egalitarian worldview to our large scale population, as members have shown the greatest combined interests in feminism, human rights, LGBTQ+ rights and global issues such as climate change. Combined, these lay bare the truth of the power of the growing youth today.
As of this year, Generation Z makes up about 32% of the global population, overtaking millennials as the largest populated age group on Earth. In this statistic alone, there’s no doubt that this generation will leave an indelible mark on history, but only understanding this demographic will truly paint a portrait of the force backing them.
“Snowflakes” no more, Generation Z appreciates the prestige they now hold over international affairs and intends to use it. This is no greater visible than through the efforts of activists such as climate advocate Greta Thunberg, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas gun reform champions, and all of those who marched against systemic racism during the George Floyd protests. Undoubtedly, this is only the tip of the iceberg in regards to Generation Z’s weight in shaping our society.
Troubled times from a constantly reshaping global landscape may have acted as their binding chains. But working from the grassroots up, demanding both fair housing and working conditions to global equity for oppressed individuals everywhere, shows the youth of today have proven they have the fortitude to unburden their chains and shape humanity towards an extraordinary era.