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The Issues Millennials & Gen Z Are Most Passionate About—& Those They Think Are Getting Worse

As the political landscape changes rapidly, we checked in with Millennials and Gen Z to see what causes they’re passionate about now—and what issues they believe are getting worse in the U.S….

On Tuesday, Millennials and Gen Z celebrated their country—but they’re wary (to put it lightly) about the current state of the nation. There’s no need for us to outline the current turbulent state of politics—everyone with a computer, TV, or Twitter account is well-aware of the tensions and controversies surrounding the White House and Washington. But we can tell you how the political landscape is impacting young consumers. Several months into the new presidency, we decided to check in with Millennials and Gen Z to find out that causes they’re currently passionate about, and which they believe are getting better or worse in the U.S. While our survey found that 75% of 13-34-year-olds in the U.S. say they’re proud to be an American, and 70% consider themselves to be patriotic, there are clear signs that they’re anxious about the direction the country is taking. Only 32% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the better,” while a full 75% agreed with the statement, “I think America is changing for the worse.” That’s a significant number. Millennials were slightly more likely than Gen Z to agree that the country is changing for the worse, at 72% and 76% respectfully. Interestingly, though there were also slight differences between the number who agreed with the statement by region (young consumers in the Midwest were slightly less likely to agree, at 72%, and those in the West were more likely to agree, at 77%) the majority of all regions were on the same page.

In January 2017, we asked 13-34-year-olds to tell us the causes/issues that they’re passionate about. But with the political landscape changing rapidly, and considering their feelings about that change, we decided to ask them again. Choosing from an extensive list including healthcare reform, gun control, animal welfare, drug legalization, and much more, we had them choose the social issues they’re passionate about—and found the list has shifted in the last few months. Here are the top ranking 15 now:  

The Top Issues They’re Passionate About


  1. Abortion / Birth Control         
  2. Human Rights
  3. 1st Amendment Rights / Censorship / Religious Freedom  
  4. Civil Rights     
  5. Violence Against Women
  6. Racial / Ethnic Discrimination and Violence 
  7. Gender Equality
  8. Global Warming        
  9. Animal Welfare         
  10. Poverty / Homelessness/Hunger       
  11. LGBTQ Rights / Same Sex Marriage 
  12. Bullying          
  13. Jobs / Unemployment           
  14. Immigration / Refugee         
  15. Environment / Conservation Issues    

Abortion/Birth Control is the current top issue that Millennials and Gen Z are passionate about, rising from fourth place on the list back in January. Human Rights, the current number two issue, also saw an increase, as did Violence Against Women, and Racial/Ethnic Discrimination and Violence.

We also revisited some specific hot button issues we asked about in a previous survey to see if they believe they are getting better or worse in the U.S. Here’s what we found: 

In the year since we first asked this question, the number of young consumers who believe that religious discrimination, racism, sexism, and homophobia are getting worse in the U.S. has increased across the board. Over half now believe that religious discrimination is getting worse, and half believe that racism is getting worse. With these shifts in mind, it’s no surprise that 89% tell us they worry about the future of America. 

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.