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…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I honestly wouldn't like to communicate with brands, unless it is to solve problems their brand is causing.”—Female, 27, MI

Why don’t people seem to care as much about fake followers on Instagram as on other platforms? Because while Facebook and Twitter are bashed for feeds full of fake news, no one holds Instagram to the same standard. The image-centric platform is inherently “a hyperreality,” where no one’s candid shot is truly spontaneous, and photo-shop freely fills feeds. Where does it get tricky? With Influencers, who are expected to garner true engagements for brands. (Real Life)

Influencer marketing faced another tricky situation this week when PopSugar replaced influencers’ affiliate links with their own. RewardStyle and its Instagram product LikeToKnow.it’s network of content creators’ photos and sometimes entire feeds “were copied to the site via “thousands of ‘falsified vanity pages’ containing millions of images belonging to the network’s content creators.” The group is planning on seeking a class-action lawsuit on their intellectual property and for the lost revenue that PopSugar made each time a customer clicked to purchase. (Racked)

Colleges are giving out more merit-based aid to win over top students. Tuition discount rates have risen to a record 49.1% for first-time, full-time freshman attending private universities, up over 10% from ten years prior—according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. By using data-driven analysis to calculate just how much aid is likely to lure a top student in, colleges are seeing success upping their prestige. However, the practice has also “created a closing of the doors for low-income students,” according to one policy analyst. (WSJ)

Apple is betting that young consumers could bring back magazines via a magazine subscription service. The tech company took a gamble by buying Texture, a subscription service for over 200 titles that’s been dubbed the “Netflix of Magazine Publishing.” The app aggregates articles into a single browsing experience, rather than being separated by title, and pays the included publications. Apple has announced plans to integrate the service into their Apple News app, the latest incarnation of their less-than-successful Newsstand app. (Bloomberg)

Function of Beauty is customizing hair care, blending up shampoo and conditioner for each customer based off a five-question quiz. Beauty companies big and small have hopped on the Customization Nation trend, and Function of Beauty takes that to the next level with their hyper-personalized hair care set. They're customizing everything from the fragrance to the chemical components, and even going so far as to print the purchaser’s name on each product. The founder explains, "Every single person is unique and different...why negate that instead of catering to it?" (Paper)

“[Allison Raskin] is open about her struggles with mental health, and she is also funny.”—Female, 19, CA

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