Generation Z is the demographic cohort following Generation Y, also known as the Millennials or the Millennial Generation; other names suggested for the cohort include iGeneration (iGen), Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives and Plurals.
The dates given for Generation Z range from the mid-1990s through the second decade of this century, although precise years vary according to the source. At over two billion individuals, Generation Z is the most populous generational cohort of all time.
In common with Millennials, Generation Z is comfortable with technologies that are fairly recent for older generations, and Gen Z has grown up in the current environment of ubiquitous mobile communications. The younger members of the cohort may not remember any other environment. As of 2015, 77 percent aged 12-to-17 in the United States owned cell phones. Not surprisingly, texting is the cohort’s preferred communication mode, followed by social media interaction.
Other characteristics of Generation Z as a cohort within the U.S., in contrast with earlier generations:
- More racial diversity.
- Less traditional (nuclear) family backgrounds, more single-parent and same-sex parent families.
- More likely to have friends from various ethnic, religious and racial groups.
- More risk-adverse.
- Less confident in the current economic system.
- More inclined to entrepreneurialism.
- More religious.
- Spend more time online.
- Use phones more than television for entertainment.
In the workplace, Generation Z expects greater flexibility and the capacity to work remotely, collaboratively and seamlessly across their various devices. Making a meaningful contribution to the world is also important to the cohort. Gen Z individuals expect to have their input welcomed and respected, and are less tolerant of authoritarian environments such as a hierarchical corporate culture.
Generation X was named to represent an unknown factor, and Y and Z were selected as the letters following X. One suggested name for the cohort following Gen Z is Generation Alpha.
See Thomas Koulopoulos' presentation, Gen Z and predicting the future of behavior and technology: