Apr 20 2021
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a lonely and isolating year for young people. Our State of Mind trend research found that much of their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic—especially Gen Z. As they’ve felt cut off from their friends and social circles, YPulse found that Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to say that they’ve felt detached from personal relationships in the last year, and over half (53%) say they have felt lonelier because of COVID-19. Arguably during this time the communities they feel connected to have become more important than ever before.
YPulse’s research shows that the majority (69%) of young consumers feel the communities they are a part of are a big part of their identity. When we ask about the benefits that their communities give them, a sense of belonging, confidence / self-esteem, advice, and stress relief are their top responses. So where are they finding those benefits now? After a year that young consumers spent most of their time at home, our recent religion and spirituality report asked Gen Z and Millennials: “Outside of friends and family, where do you find your sense of community?” Their top responses show that they’re most likely to feel connected to communities that live in digital spaces.
Social media platforms, video games, and social media groups are the top places that young people are finding community overall—but Gen Z and Millennials’ top responses are not the same. Gen Z is most likely to say they find their sense of community in video games, while Millennials are most likely to say they find it on social media. YPulse’s Gaming trend report found that the majority of 13-39-year-olds play video games in some capacity, but Gen Z is more likely than Millennials to say they have hung out with friends in video games, with 66% who play reporting that they’ve used video games to hang out with friends. In the last year, games that double as social spaces have flourished, and Gen Z is growing up using games to create and connect with a community.
There are of course other differences between Gen Z and Millennials’ responses. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that school is one of the top answers for Gen Z, since that age demographic was still attending school, whether in-person or virtually, in the last year. Meanwhile, Millennials are more likely to say they find community through work, again because of their relative age.
But other differences are more indicative of some potential cultural differences between these generations: Gen Z is more likely to say that they find community in a fandom, indicating that this generation is more likely to connect through their passions around media.
These aren’t the only differences we found in the data. Young males are females are finding community in very different places as well:
Young males are far more likely to say they find community in video games than young females, with only 23% of 13-39-year-old females saying they find a sense of community there compared to 48% of 20-38-year-old males. Interestingly, males are also slightly more likely to say they find community in groups outside friends and family across the board, and young females are more likely to say they don’t feel connected to a community. It’s possible that young males are more easily finding connections through their existing hobbies and passions, while young females are more focused on their existing friend groups.
YPulse Business users can access the full Religion and Spirituality behavioral report and data here.
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