A Window Into Today's Teens

Jim Liebelt | Senior Editor of Publications for HomeWord | Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Window Into Today's Teens

Much has been documented about the Millennial generation - and in recent years - the focus of research into values, attitudes and behaviors has been focused on them. Starting when they were entering their teens, efforts have been made to dissect and explore Millennials from all angles.

But a new generation of teens is emerging (Generation Z), and while many are still wrangling with who ought to be included under the Gen Z umbrella, one thing appears to be agreed upon by culture researchers is that these teens will carve out their own unique characteristics and have their own distinctive values, attitudes and behaviors.

Note: A transition period between generations exists and members of both the previous generation and the emerging generation will always contain some characteristics that are similar. The transition years can make it a challenge to differentiate between the two, especially in the early years. One example: I was born in the waning years of the Boomer generation - and so I recognize characteristics in myself, some of which resonate more closely with Boomers and others that resonate more closely with Gen X.

Given that a new generation is emerging (Gen Z), it is time for research to start turning the lens of examination on them. One recent survey by Northeastern University of 1,015  teens 16-19 attempts to get that ball rolling. It provides us with a window into Generation Z. Here are some findings that begins to build our understanding of today's teens:

• Two in three teens are concerned about the costs of going to college.

• One in four believe no amount of student debt to attend college is acceptable.

• Two in three fear they might not be able to find a job after college.

• Four in ten expect to be self-employed during their adult career.

• More than 60% believe the income gap in the United states is harmful to their generation.

• When it comes to immigration, more than half believe that anyone should have a right to become a U.S. citizen no matter how they enter the country.

• Half receive their news online. Only two in ten get news from watching television.

• Over two in three (69%) prefer to interact with friends in person over connecting online, with only 15% preferring online.

• Seven in ten would not use electronic methods (online, phones, texting, etc.)  to ask someone out.

• Almost eight in ten have bank accounts.

• Teens appear evenly split about how they prefer to make purchases, with about four preferring to make purchases online, and another four in ten preferring to shop in-person at brick-and-mortar stores.

Source: BloombergView