Generation Z is a tech-savvy multicultural generation that is highly global, both in population and perspective. Also known as “iGeneration” or “Generation Zed”, today’s cohort of confident and curious “screen addicts” are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, consumers, peace negotiators, global leaders, game-changers and major contributors to social causes.
My eldest child obtained their first smart phone in 2012 at age 11 which radically changed the social dynamics for kids as well as parenting. This is the reason I created this blog. With an MBA, a professional background in consumer research, two frequently screening Tweens, (Yes, with cyber-bullying) and an inquisitive mind, I wanted to explore how smart phones are affecting our kids and share my conversations, observations, research, facts and insights about Gen Z with fellow parents and marketers.
But first, let’s get the various floating facts straight. Here are three defining attributes that make Gen Z so unique:
GEN Z POPULATION IS VERY GLOBAL. THERE ARE 2 BILLION WORLDWIDE UNDER 21, 70 MILLION UNDER 21 IN THE US, AND 23 MILLION AGE 8-21 IN THE US.
- According to the US Census Bureau 2018, the total global pop is 7,500 million while US pop is 327 million. In the US, 27% (68 million) are age 0-21, born 1996-2018, comprising over 20% of the global pop age 0-21. This is the statistic widely publicized across reports. Note that 68 million includes EVERYONE under 21. As of 2018, just 34% (23 million/68 million) are age 8-22 as of 2018, born 1996-2010.
- The majority of Gen Z resides in under-developed or developing countries. The top 10 countries account for 57% of the Gen Z population. The Gen Z population is relatively low in mature markets such as Europe. (Sapient study)Among the top 10 countries, all but the US are developing or under-developed countries. Countries with the largest Gen Z populations include India, China and Nigeria.
- In the US, Gen Z is much more diverse and multicultural than social media, images, ads and marketers convey. According to Mediakix, over 50.2% of children in the US are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group by 2020. Gen Z truly embraces diversity: they are inclusive, treating everyone equally, a role model for us all.
GEN Z WAS BORN FROM 1996 TO 2010. AS OF 2018, GEN Z RANGES IN AGE FROM 8-22. SO WHY 1996-2010?
- Generation Z follows Generation Y / Millennials who, as offspring of the Baby Boomers, were born 1980 to 1995. Today Millennials are 22 to 37 years old. Gen X, born 1965 to 1980, began having babies in 1996, the year technology and the Internet entered our homes.
- In 1996, technology emerged into the hands of the masses, with the debut of the PC and introduction of email beyond corporate walls. Technology brought us screens with continuous news, unfiltered news and images from around the world. Born after 1996 means a child witnessed, experienced or grieved through 9/11, faced hard economic times in the 2008 recession, and experience school shootings and global disasters what seems like a weekly basis.
- By 2006, more adults and their children began getting smart phones. This continuous access at a young age has shaped Gen Z’s identity: practical, ambitious, altruistic and perhaps, scared.
- Why 2010? In 2010, the US economy deeply felt the implications of the 2008 recession, encouraging Gen X to have fewer children. Simultaneously, Millenials began to have children – the youngest Millennial was 30 years old in 2010. Plus, an infant vs. a college graduate needs to be treated very differently, which I one reason I bookend the Generation Z in 2010.
- The generation after Gen Z is called Generation Alpha (age 0-7) who are being raised by Gen Y whose parenting style is very different than Gen X. Generation Alpha is literally born with a silver screen, and not a silver spoon! Have you seen iPhones clipped to the hoods of baby carriages?
GEN Z’s FORMATIVE YEARS SHAPE WHO THEY ARE TODAY. GEN X PARENTS RAISED THEIR CHILDREN TO BE INDEPENDENT, HARD WORKING AND CARING.
- The majority of Gen Zs are the children of Gen X (born 1965-1980) who promoted self-education and independence. While Gen X was labeled latchkey kids and rebellious teenagers (The Breakfast Club), Gen X parents are doing an impressive job raising responsible and motivated Gen Zs. Gen X parents work hard and give their offspring a lot more attention than they received as children.
- Gen X, and truly all parents of Gen Z, are the first generation of parents to raise children in a tech-driven society. Just as Gen Z are pioneers of a new kind of society, parents of Gen Z are pioneer parents, navigating unprecedented territories dominated by technology and social media. How is this affecting Generation Z?