In recent weeks, teens and even tweens have grabbed the nation’s attention with their relentless focus on effecting meaningful change on school safety and gun control laws. When discussing these young people, media and politicians have struggled with what to label this vast generation that came of age in a post-9/11 world. Most have defined them primarily by the generations that came before them (“Post Millennial,” or “Generation Z”), while others have lumped them in with their older brothers and sisters by referring to them as “Millennials” (something that extends that generation into its third decade of birth). Regardless of what history decides to label this generation, it’s very clear based on their attitudes and behaviors that they are not Millennials, and that everyone from political leaders to marketers will need to prepare for the unique ways they will be reshaping the world in the years to come.
Reshaping the world is something many of them fully intend to do – whether all of their elders approve or not. According to a poll released in late March, a vast majority of young people aged 18-24 (89%) think they can change the world – or are already doing so, even as adults over 50 say in the same poll that young people make them pessimistic about the future.
GfK has been paying close attention to the ways that this age group, whose eldest members are just entering their 20s, differs from past generations. GfK Consumer Life research shows they are ambitious, highly stressed (70% say they feel stressed fairly or quite often – 2.5 x the proportion of Millennials who felt the same way ten years ago), and concerned about the future – characteristics that were not associated with fun-loving, “live for today” Millennials when they were the same age. They have big dreams

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