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Which Social Causes & Issues are Gen Z and Millennials Most Passionate About in 2023?

These are the top social causes and issues Gen Z and Millennials are feeling passionate about now, compared to six months ago… 


  • Mental health remains the top cause that Gen Z and Millennials are passionate about
  • The economy is a rising concern for young consumers, and with it, their passion for issues of poverty, homelessness, and hunger have grown
  • Education and animal rights are new to their top 10, but the issues that have fallen below are still highly important to these gens

Each time YPulse asks Gen Z and Millennials which social causes / issues they’re passionate about, their answers fluctuate, reflecting the current state of the world around them. Six months ago, abortion and birth control was on the top of their minds, rising to second on their list. A year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic was still a top three issue for these gens. But now, their priorities have shifted again, and YPulse data shows they’re passionate about a few new causes and issues, as well as feeling more strongly about some they’ve thought about for a long time—leaving others to fall down the rankings. In our most recent Causes / Charity & Activism report, we ask 13-39-year-olds which social causes / issues they’re most passionate about, from a list of 32 options, and these are their top 10, compared to their answers in August of 2022 to show what issues have become a bigger priority:  

Table showing the top 10 social causes / issues Gen Z and Millennials are passionate about, in August 2022 and January 2023

Mental health help / care is still their top priority 

Of the top five social causes / issues Gen Z and Millennials are passionate about, three have remained the same: mental health help / care, racism, and abortion / birth control. A year ago, mental health help / care was eighth on their ranking, but last year we saw it rise to the top spot, and now it remains thec ause they’re most likely to say they’re passionate about. YPulse’s recent Mental Health report shows half of young people say they’ve felt mentally exhausted in the last year and 43% say they’ve felt emotionally drained. And their concerns about the world around them are contributing in no small part: 74% of young people agree that they feel anxious about the future, and 72% agree they often worry about things they cannot control.  

They want others to know they’re not alone in these feelings, too, and 78% agree: “I want to live in a world where people openly talk about their mental health.” And even as they’ve led the mainstreaming of mental health conversations themselves, young consumers do want to see brands involved in this cause. In fact, YPulse data shows 61% of young consumers would rather brands to teach them about mental / emotional wellness than physical wellness, and 59% say “Any brand can be talking about wellness.” So when brands think about doing social good, they should know that incorporating messaging about valuing mental health can be a part of it that Gen Z and Millennials will connect with.  

As economic concerns grow, so too does their awareness for poverty / homelessness / hunger 

Six months ago, the economy was not quite as pressing an issue for young consumers as it is now. But as inflation has continued to push the prices for necessities up, YPulse data shows that the number of young consumers who feel we’re currently in a recession has not been going down. In fact, 43% say we are currently in a recession, consistent with the 43% who said so in August. Now, after months of not feeling there’s been improvement, their increased worry has led the economy to become the fifth on the top ranking of social causes / issues they’re passionate about. It is also the biggest issue they say their generation is facing. And as they’ve become more aware of economic struggles across the country, and the world, their passion for causes like poverty, homelessness, and hunger has also grown. Poverty has been a top 10 social issue for these gens for several years now, but its move into the third highest shows an increasing concern.  

Animal rights and education are new to their top causes  

Education was the sixth top social cause / issue they were passionate about in 2021, and this year it’s back in the top 10 ranking. YPulse further specifies issues of education to include student debt, teacher’s pay, and cost of college, among other related concerns. Our data shows Gen Z is more likely to say this is an issue they’re passionate about right now (28%) than Millennials (22%), likely because the majority are currently in the education system, whereas few Millennials are still in school. But the issues of the cost of higher education and student debt is plaguing both gens, whether they’re looking at the future of the price tag on a degree or still paying off their debts; YPulse data shows 21% of Millennials and 15% of Gen Z have student loan / tuition debt.  

Animal rights, on the other hand, is entirely new to their rankings, as it was only added to our survey options this year—but it’s clearly a passion point for these gens. And since August, gender equality and sexual harassment / abuse have risen back into the top 10 causes they’re passionate about. In their place, social issues like LGBTQ+ discrimination / rights, marijuana legalization, climate change, and civil rights have fallen below. This is not to say young consumers are not still passionate about these causes, though. In fact, climate change / environmental efforts, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ+ discrimination / rights, and civil rights make up the top 16, alongside cyberbullying and the COVID-19 pandemic. These gens are juggling lots of causes they’re passionate about, trying to show support for as many as they can at once, but ultimately most likely to say they’re passionate about those that feel most timely.