A new study from the Public Religion Research Institute explores Gen Z’s political and cultural values compared to other generations’ in America. Using a national survey and focus group research, the study reveals plenty about the generation’s makeup, including the fun fact that in any given lineup of Gen Z adults, you’re more likely to find a queer person than a Republican.
The study found that 28% of Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ, compared to only 16% of millennials, 7% of Generation X, 4% of baby boomers, and 4% of the Silent Generation. That number doesn’t account for Gen Z teens ages 13-17, who weren’t asked about their sexual orientation, so Gen Z’s true proportion of queer people could be even higher.
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In terms of politics, only 21% of Gen Z adults identify as Republicans. That’s the same amount as millennials (also 21%) but less than Gen X (28%), baby boomers (32%), and the Silent Generation (31%).
But Gen Z also has less faith in the party system as a whole: More than half of Gen Z teens (51%) don’t identify with either major political party, compared to 43% of Gen Z adults. When Gen Z adult focus group participants were asked for their thoughts on politics, they weren’t very complimentary.
“I think what happens is politicians or people, they try to make it seem like they’re doing what’s best for you, and then people feed into that to get them voted on. Then, when they get into office, they do what’s best for them and not what’s best for everybody else,” said one participant.
“I think that our votes actually don’t necessarily matter,” said another. “I think the government has its own agenda and I think it’s going to basically do anything to carry out that agenda.”
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The study also assessed Gen Z’s religious affiliations. Gen Z adults are the least likely demographic to identify as white Christians at only 27%, compared to a national average of 40%. Only 45% of Gen Z adults considered religion to be important to their lives.
“For the most part, it’s hard to trust religious institutions nowadays,” said one Gen Z adult. “Religion has shown itself to be about control over others and it’s really hard to trust them. I’m not saying there are not good religious institutions out there that are actually there to help and be of service for people, but I think there’s just a lot of people using that institution as a way to get what they want.”
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