Generation Z

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Generation Z (also iGen or Post-Millennials) are the cohort of people born after the Millennial Generation. There is disagreement on the name and exact range of birth dates. Some sources start this generation at the mid or late 1990s,[1][2] or from the mid 2000s[3][4] to the present day.


Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe wrote several books on the subject of generations and are widely credited with coining the term Millennials.[1] Howe has said "No one knows who will name the next generation after the Millennials".[1] In 2005, their company sponsored an online contest in which respondents voted overwhelmingly for the name Homeland Generation. That was not long after the September 11th terrorist attacks, and one fallout of the disaster was that Americans may have felt more safe staying at home.[5] Howe has described himself as "not totally wed" to the name and cautioned that "names are being invented by people who have a great press release. Everyone is looking for a hook."[1] Strauss and Howe defined the Homeland Generation as people born from the year 2005 onwards.[4]

In 2012, USA Today sponsored an online contest for readers to choose the name of the next generation after the Millennials. The name Generation Z was suggested, although journalist Bruce Horovitz thought that some might find the term "off-putting". Some other names that were proposed included: iGeneration, Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, and Plurals.[1][6] According to Horovitz, the generation begins roughly around 1995.[1] He also referenced the Strauss and Howe birth dates that begin in 2005.

In 2013, the Nickelodeon channel used the term post-millennials to describe its audience of "children born after 2005".[3]

iGeneration (or iGen) is a name that several individuals claim to have coined. Psychology professor and author Jean Twenge claims that the name iGen "just popped into her head" while she was driving near Silicon Valley, and that she had intended to use it as the title of her 2006 book Generation Me until it was overridden by her publisher. Demographer Cheryl Russell claims to have first used the term in 2009.[1]

Matt Carmichael, a past director of data strategy at Ad Age, said in 2012 "we think iGen is the name that best fits and will best lead to understanding of this generation".[1] In 2014, an NPR news intern noted that iGeneration "seems to be winning" as the name for the post-Millennials.[7] It has been described as "a wink and nod to Apple's iPod and iPhone",[1] while former Ad Age writer Matt Carmichael notes that the lowercase "i" in iGeneration "leaves room for interpretation" and "could be any number of things: It could be for interactive, it could be for international, it could be for something we haven't thought of yet." [7] In response to naming a generation after a branded product, Randy Apuzzo, technologist and CEO of, published an article titled "Always Connected: Generation Z, the Digitarians",[8] in which he calls the new generation 'Digitarians[8]' because they are the first generation that has been "always connected to the internet" and were raised with touch devices.

In Australia, a 2005 report from the McCrindle Research Center used 2001 as the starting point of this generation's birth years.[9] A later McCrindle report in 2009 gave a range of 1995-2009, starting with a recorded rise in birth rates, and fitting their newer definition of a generational span as 15 years.[10] Under this definition McCrindle uses birth rates to determine when a new generation emerges rather than or in addition to sociological changes and trends. Statistics Canada defines the generation as starting in 1993.[11]

Demographics in the United States[edit]

According to Forbes, in 2015 Generation Z made up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the baby boomers or millennials.[12] Frank N. Magid Associates estimates that in the United States, 55% of Generation Z are Caucasian, 24% are Hispanic, 14% are African-American, 4% are Asian, and 4% are mixed race or other.[2]


A 2013 survey by Ameritrade found that 46% of Generation Z in the United States (considered as those between the ages of 14 and 23) were concerned about student debt, while 36% were worried about being able to afford a college education at all.[13]

Statistics Canada has noted that the cohort is sometimes referred to as "the Internet generation," as it is the first generation to have been born after the invention of the Internet.[14] Forbes magazine suggested that by the time Generation Z entered the workplace, digital technology would be an aspect of almost all career paths.[13]

A Frank N. Magid Associates whitepaper stated that the cohort exhibits positive feelings about the increasing ethnic diversity in the U.S.,[2] and they are more likely than older generations to have social circles that include people from different ethnic groups, races and religions.[15] According to Magid, Generation Z are "the least likely to believe that there is such a thing as the American Dream," while Boomers and their Millennial children are "more likely to believe it."[1][15][16]

Speaking at an Australian marketing conference in 2009, Jeff Brookes of the teenage web forum Habbo thought that after growing up in a "digital playground", Generation Z were "completely used to advertising as part of life - and they like it". Habbo's research suggested that Generation Z were more altruistic and traditional than Millennials, and in Australia were proud of their country's multicultural status.[17]

Generation Z is known for their use of technology, which is why they are also given the nickname, "digital natives." Due to the advancements in technology, iGen is known for a lack of person-to-person communication; however, 53% of Generation Z prefers in-person communication over messaging or emailing.[18]

Technological Influences[edit]

With the web revolution that occurred in throughout the 1990’s, members of Generation Z have been exposed to an unprecedented amount of technology in their upbringing. As technology became more compact and affordable, the popularity of smartphones in the United States grew exponentially. To date, 90% of American Adults own a cell phone. [19] This phenomenon has come to grip Generation Z as well, with a reported 77% of teenagers aged 12-17 owning a cell phone.[20]

The prevalence of smartphones in American culture has impacted the way members of Generation Z interact with those around them. Teenagers often resort to smartphones as a primary use of communication, as 63% of teenagers saying they send and receive multiple text messages every day.[20] Aside from text messaging, members of this dew digital generation utilize a variety of smartphone applications to communicate.

While the smartphone's impact on older members of Generation Z is apparent, its influence over children is present from an early age. As smartphone's capabilities grew, so to did its market for applications of all kinds. It is believe that an estimated 10% of the 1.2 million applications in Apple's app store are geared towards education.[21] This translates to roughly 150,000 applications aimed towards educating children about anything from colors and shapes to college level sciences.[21] Opinions about the appropriateness of smartphones as a learning tool are skewed.

On one hand, some educators state that smartphone are beneficial to children because it offers information in a format that they are used to and believe to be fun. Smartphone apps provide a more interactive experience than many traditional learning methods, and could make young children more involved in the learning experience.[21] Because smartphones are becoming so prevalent in society, there is also a reason to believe it is important for children to understand how to properly utilize this technology. Additionally, because each child may use different applications in different ways, smartphones offer a learning tool that could compliment the learning styles of a variety of individual students.

Though many believe smartphones to be a revolutionary tool capable of changing the way children learn, others are weary of the possible negative implications that could come with it. It is believed that exposure to smartphones to such a large extent could create a dependence on the technology that could over stimulate children and carry on into their later years.[22] Because overuse of smartphones among teenagers is already a prevalent issue, the degree with which children use smartphones is a factor that many believe should be managed. It has also been found that use of smartphones could hinder a child's emotional development. Because smartphones are often used as a method used to calm young children, it is possible that children will not develop their own methods of self regulation[22].

Because of the adoption of smartphone technology occurs at such a young age, members of Generation Z are given a unique perspective in which almost all the information in the world is made available to them at the touch of a finger. To these new members of society, performing research involves conducting an internet search, making physical databases outdated. For them, changing pages involves swiping a finger, not folding a physical piece of paper. Good or bad, members of the digital generation view the world through the lens of personal technology, with the smartphone being their primary resource.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Horovitz, Bruce (May 4, 2012). "After Gen X, Millennials, what should next generation be?". USA Today. Retrieved November 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Frank N. Magid Associates. "The First Generation of the Twenty First Century." April 30, 2012
  3. ^ a b Jeanine Poggi (26 February 2013). "Nickelodeon Targets 'Post-Millennials' in Upfront". Advertising Age. Retrieved 21 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Howe, Neil (October 27, 2014). "Introducing the Homeland Generation (Part 1 of 2)". Forbes. Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Howe, Neil; Strauss, William (2008). Millennials & K-12 Schools. LifeCourse Associates. pp. 109–111. ISBN 0971260656. 
  6. ^ Junco, Reynol; Mastrodicasa, Jeanna (2007). Connecting to the Net.Generation: What higher education professionals need to know about today’s students. NASPA. ISBN 9780931654480. 
  7. ^ a b Samantha Raphelson (6 October 2014). "From GIs To Gen Z (Or Is It iGen?): How Generations Get Nicknames". NPR. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Randy Apuzzo (1 August 2015). "Always Connected: Generation Z, the Digitarians". Randy Apuzzo. Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  9. ^ McCrindle, Mark (18 July 2005). "Superannuation and the Under 40s: Summary Report: Research Report on the Attitudes and Views of Generations X and Y on Superannuation" (PDF). McCrindle Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-21. Retrieved 6 April 2014. Generation X comprises those aged between 24 and 40... Generation Y 1982-2000...Generation Z 2001+ (page 5) 
  10. ^ Generations Defined. Mark McCrindle
  11. ^ "The Generation Z effect". The Globe and Mail. 
  12. ^ Dill, Kathryn (6 November 2015). "7 Things Employers Should Know About The Gen Z Workforce". Forbes. Retrieved 12 November 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Henderson, J Maureen (31 July 2013). "Move Over, Millennials: Why 20-Somethings Should Fear Teens". Forbes. Retrieved 5 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Generations in Canada". 
  15. ^ a b Hais, Michael and Morley Winograd. "A New Generation Debuts: Plurals." Huffington Post, May 7, 2012
  16. ^ DeBord, Mathew. "A new generation gets a name: Plurals." DeBord Report. April 30, 2012
  17. ^ "Watch out for Generation Z". Campaign Brief Australia. Retrieved 2015-11-13. 
  18. ^ "15 Aspects That Highlight How Generation Z Is Different From Millennials". 
  19. ^ "Mobile Technology Fact Sheet". Pew Research Center. 
  20. ^ a b "Lookout". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  21. ^ a b c "Should CellPhones Be Allowed in School?". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  22. ^ a b "Mobile and interactive media use by young children: The good, the bad and the unknown". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2015-12-01. 

Further reading[edit]