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Things you may not know about Generation Z; born between 1998 to 2010 (Part seven of a seven-part series)


By Michelle Post

Generation Z was the youngest generation until recently when Generation Alpha was named. Generation Z represents 23 million Americans. There are several discussions about the birth years for this generation. Most studies agree this generation started in the late 90s, but disagree when the generation birth year ended. For our purposes, the ending birth years will be 2010.

As with Generation Y (millennials), Generation Z has many names. For example: Homeland Generation, Gen Z, Post-Millennials, iGeneration, iGen, Centennials, The Founders, and Plurals. Generation Zs are the children of Generation X. This generation is known for being born “chipped in,” which means they have had technology since birth. In fact, according to a study done by the University of Maryland, 79 percent display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices.

Here are just a few of the significant events that have occurred from the birth years of Generation Z: killing spree at Columbine High School, 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast, U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates on re-entry, the major social media networks were started, the iPhone was released, Harry Potter books have everyone reading, election of the first African-American President and Google redefines the internet. So many more local, national and global events have taken place, each leaving its indelible mark on Generation Z.

What are Generation Z’s characteristics regarding (1) core values; (2) family; (3) money; (4) technology; and (5) work? Generation Z’s core values are comprised of doing social good, being conservative, value diversity, creativity, individuality and education. Most of Generation Z is not old enough to get married. However, they value authenticity in family relationships, and it is their second highest pursuit. Only happiness comes before family. Forty percent of Generation Z said they are not driven by money; however, the other 60 percent said a lot of money is a sign of success. Growing up watching Generation Y struggle through the recession, Generation Z is more conservative and strategic with their money.

Generation Z is entrepreneurial. They want to make a difference in this world, not just show up and sit in a cubical. The company they work for needs to be “real.” They seek companies that support a cause and are affecting society for the good. This generation does not like to be micro-managed. Technology is a must for this generation. Fifty-three percent would give up eating out before they give up their technology. Generation Z is cynical, private, hyper-aware and multitasking.

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