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

“There are alleys with street art that I've walked out of my way to take pictures of to share on Snapchat/Facebook.”
—Female, 32, IL

Mattel’s new toy franchise Enchantimals is inspired by Instagram and Snapchat filters. The new line of 14 dolls are all half-animal—think the bunny and deer filters—and each “shares a ritual trait with her animal friend.” Their origin and the YouTube series starring the girls are no doubt a part of Mattel’s “five-pillar strategic plan” to be a more digital brand. Appealing to Millennial parents and their kids has been a tough sell for Mattel, but they’re making moves like changing up Barbie’s body type and asking kids to pick the next big toy on TV to keep up with the next generation. (Kidscreen)

Harry Potter fans, raise your butterbeers up, because this franchise and its fandom will never die. Two more books from the Harry Potter universe are hitting shelves this fall—though they aren’t actually written by J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter: A History of Magic and Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic are instead both written by the British Library, to coincide with an exhibition dedicated to celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the first book. The two new works will include “exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive,” to delight serious fans of the series. (USA Today, New York Times)

Restaurants are being designed with Instagrammability in mind. From unicorn foods to neon signs and tile floors with hidden messages, restaurateurs aren’t just tolerating Instagrammers, they’re intentionally acting as “Instagram bait” to earn some free press. And it doesn’t end at Instagrammable design touches. Many restaurants stress having perfect lighting, and one even provides “Instagram packs” at customer request, consisting of “a portable LED light, multi-device charger, clip-on wide-angle lens, tripod, and a selfie stick.” (The Verge, Grub Street)

Some student loan debt is getting “wiped away” in court because of missing paperwork. Students defaulting on their private loans are getting taken to court by aggressive creditors, but as it turns out, many don’t have the required documents to make them pay up. National Collegiate is at the center of many of these trials—one lawyer in Iowa represented 30 cases brought on by them, and 27 were dismissed because of “critical omissions or flaws” in the paperwork. Some Millennials prioritizing paying back debt might just catch a lucky break. (New York Times)

Millennials want older generations to know why they stand by political correctness. While some may despair the overly PC state of the world, many young consumers see political correctness as protection from prejudice, and a show of respect. What some may view as an over-sensitivity epidemic, many Millennials see as “being morally minded.” Ypulse’s PC Police trend tackled this topic, and found half of 13-33-year-olds would describe political correctness as treating others with respect, and 66% agree that political correctness is one way to make culture kinder and more inclusive. (Business Insider)

 “I’m too lazy to exercise on purpose. Too much work…If I can't get it with my dog, my job, or my nightlife, it ain't happening.”
—Female, 23, CA

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