Yubo, a live social discovery app, recently surveyed Gen Z users’ preferences, outlook, and overall thoughts. The findings showcased optimism, and refreshing takes on the status quo!
In the 21st century’s second decade, Gen Z continues to make its mark upon the world. These teens and young adults, born from 1997 to 2012, currently comprise slightly over one-quarter of the world’s population. With two billion Gen Zers across the globe, they are currently the largest demographic group, and their numbers continue to grow.
Digitally native Gen Zers grew up with technology, giving them plenty of ways to explore and evaluate the world around them. Although Gen Z workers want to thrive in high-wage jobs, more than half of this cohort wants a satisfying work-life balance. In other words, Gen Zers don’t want to spend long hours tied to their jobs. Instead, they prefer to spend extra quality time with their family and friends.
Many Gen Zers are also passionate about social causes and the environment. Given a choice, they prefer to work for an employer who holds similar values. And when Gen Zers shop for products, over half of this cohort chooses socially responsible and/or eco-friendly brands.
Along with this decidedly positive view of the world, Gen Z has had its own front-row seat to considerable economic turmoil. An uncertain job market and spiraling home prices have made some Gen Zers question their financial prospects.
And then came the COVID-19 pandemic. This economic and social catastrophe shuttered countless workplaces and forced workers across the globe into mandatory lockdowns for months. Gen Zers were especially affected by the isolation, as they missed the social interactions that are crucial to their development and that often occur during a typical school day.
Finally, many Gen Zers continue to see their leaders’ and institutions’ functional and ethical turmoil. This has often led these young people to consider their priorities and evaluate how they fit into society.
Given these and other negative influences, it would not be surprising if Gen Zers had a pessimistic view of the world. And while they certainly have some downs, this cohort actually remains far more optimistic than many may expect given the social and economic challenges they’ve faced.
In 2022, live social discovery app Yubo surveyed more than seven thousand 13-to-25-year-old users. With 99% of Yubo’s users being Gen Z, the app is in a particularly unique position to access and understand this generation. The research uncovered some intriguing findings. Specifically, the Yubo user survey found that many teens and young adults are facing economic challenges and also have strong opinions on current issues.
At the same time, however, the survey found that Gen Zers highly value their online friendships. These digital interactions play a key role in their everyday lives. And finally, despite many obstacles, Gen Zers collectively think their future is bright.
In 2022, American consumers were thrown a number of financial curveballs. First, the country’s economy continued its slow recovery from pandemic-era business closures. In addition, inflation levels reached a 40-year high. This led to substantial price increases for groceries, fuel, and a wide variety of other products.
While Americans at most income levels felt the sting, Gen Zers were especially affected. In fact, nearly three-quarters of these young consumers are not able to meet their monthly bills on time and over half of the Gen Z cohort is living with their parents to put themselves in a better financial position.
Not surprisingly, Gen Zers are also finding it tougher to save in the current economy. With some longer-term investments based on compound interest, this means Gen Zers may not be laying the best foundation for a healthy financial future.
Even though many Gen Zers have not yet entered the workforce, they will soon be dealing with real-world economic pressures. Yubo’s survey highlighted three major areas affecting this generation, summarizing respondents’ opinions on each one.
Home purchase costs have dramatically escalated since 1980. The 2022 median home sale price is $428,700, which integrates results from low- and high-priced markets. This makes it more difficult for a Gen Zer to purchase a home compared to the previous two generations.
Interestingly, Yubo survey respondents are not discouraged by this news. Almost all United States-based users think they’ll find a way to purchase a house or apartment at some point. Yubo users in the UK and France share this same sentiment. For perspective, all three countries have extremely high costs of living compared to many other nations.
The Gen Z cohort ranges from young teenagers to young adults in their mid-20s. Almost half of this group has graduated high school, and they’re ready for college or the working world. This means they’ve likely been impacted by inflation, often in multiple ways.
In the Yubo user survey, over three-quarters of United States respondents said inflation has eaten into their personal budgets. In the UK and France, slightly smaller percentages have felt inflation’s impacts in their wallets.
For decades, young people have been encouraged to obtain a college degree, often as the pathway to the lifestyle they want. However, today, a four-year college degree costs (on average) almost $36,000 per year in the United States. Therefore, getting a college education represents a substantial outlay of time and money.
In Yubo’s survey, slightly over one-third of respondents felt a college degree is not a requirement for achieving the life they desire. For perspective, Gen Zers between 20 and 25 tended to say obtaining a college degree was the right choice. Survey respondents under 20 did not feel the same way.
Gen Zers have definite opinions on current political and social issues. For starters, over half of this group doesn’t believe governmental and other organizations make enough effort to solve pressing problems.
The pandemic magnified Gen Zers’ dissatisfaction, with many young people saying the government hadn’t done enough to protect the country. With this as a backdrop, over half of Gen Zers didn’t think they could trust the government after its performance during the pandemic.
Putting it in perspective, older Gen Zers are more likely to be distrustful of elections. They also have increasingly less confidence in their government and their political leaders. Taken together, these large-scale opinions could play a role in the 2024 presidential, House, and Senate elections.
Although most Gen Zers aren’t old enough to run for political office, they’re not shy about voicing their political opinions. In fact, says Yubo, Gen Z likely played a pivotal role in the 2022 midterm elections’ battleground states results.
Regardless of Gen Zers’ political affiliations, they certainly want the political landscape to change. In fact, 53 percent of United States survey respondents said they have little trust in their government leaders. Stated another way, the respondents said they don’t think the public officials have their constituents’ best interests at heart.
Gen Zers place a high priority on social and environmental issues. In fact, over three-quarters of Yubo’s survey respondents consider social justice movements and climate change very important issues. From the Yubo survey coordinators’ perspective, Gen Zers want a future that includes major progress on both issues.
For the past couple of decades, Internet users of all ages have used social media to communicate with family and friends. However, today, teens and young adults don’t just maintain their friendships online ─ that’s where they make these friendships too. Think of it as the modern version of pen pals from decades ago.
Today, teens and young adults regularly create online connections with people they’ve never met. These interactions often replace in-person meetings for multiple reasons. For starters, the young person may not live in big cities surrounded by thousand of young people in their age group.
Or, maybe they don’t mesh well with others in their grade or age group. Perhaps they’re more comfortable expressing themselves online and it is the only place where they can meet other people who share their same interests. Maybe they have other circumstances that make online friendships a better option. Regardless of the reason, young people often establish strong bonds with their online friends.
Yubo’s digitally native users literally grew up with social media. As a result, they can effortlessly forge online friendships while keeping their authenticity. This proved an invaluable skill during the many months they spent in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yubo’s survey found that 75 percent of United States users reported that they had made a close friend through an online platform. In fact, 59 percent of respondents said they actually feel more comfortable getting acquainted with other people online compared to in person.
Of course, Yubo’s popularity as a social discovery platform is proof enough that they value online friendships. In fact, these interactions can potentially add an entirely new dimension to interpersonal relationships and, unlike other generations befor them, for Gen Z making friends this way comes naturally.
While Gen Zers collectively face many economic challenges during the coming years and don’t trust their government institutions or political leaders, they still remain optimistic about their futures. While they continue to hope for change, these young people possess the drive and determination to transform their ideas into reality.