California; Hayward — A recent survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute sheds light on the distinct characteristics and perspectives of Gen Z adults, born between 1997 and 2012, in the United States. Notably, Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history, and approximately 40.8 million Gen Zers are expected to be eligible to vote in the 2024 elections.
The survey reveals a set of progressive tendencies among Gen Z, with 43% identifying as liberal, making them more left-leaning than older generations, according to Axios. In terms of political affiliation, Gen Z adults are notably less likely to be Republicans, with only 21% identifying as such, while 36% align with the Democratic Party. Around 30% consider themselves independents, reflecting a reluctance to adhere to specific party labels.
Religiously, Gen Z is witnessing a shift away from established Christianity, with 33% identifying as religiously unaffiliated or "nones." This trend contrasts with older generations, particularly baby boomers, who are more likely to identify as white Christians.
The survey also highlights Gen Z's inclination towards LGBTQIA+ identification, with 28% identifying as LGBTQIA+. This percentage is significantly higher than in older generations, such as Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation.
Notably, Gen Z women exhibit a higher likelihood of identifying as Democrats rather than Republicans. PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman suggested that Gen Z resists easy categorization and is less inclined to align with a particular political party.
However, despite their progressive leanings, a poll from the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School indicated a potential decrease in voter turnout among young Americans in the 2024 elections compared to the record-setting turnout in 2020. Some left-leaning Gen Z voters express possible abstention, citing concerns over President Joe Biden's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In terms of generational change, a significant portion of Gen Z, especially Democrats, believes that solving the country's major problems requires a shift in political leadership, with 58% agreeing that "we won't be able to solve the country's big problems until the older generation no longer holds power."
The survey was conducted by PRRI with 6,014 participants, including an oversample of teens aged 13 to 17 and adults aged 18 to 25, across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Noumaan Faiz, (he/him) is a journalist and entertainer from Hayward, CA who covers culture and entertainment.
Edited by Nykeya Woods