Research is still in its beta stage for the upcoming generation that right now is being unimaginatively called “Generation Z,” but what research there is points to a generational divide between them and millennials that might be even more pronounced than the one between millennials and Gen X-ers.
Generation Z—loosely defined as those born after 1995— are the world’s first true digital natives, less concerned with image than previous generations, and more concerned with healthy living and making good decisions. They don’t smoke, drink or fight as much, they’re less interested in risky sexual behaviors and, according to some studies, are twice as interested in social justice as millennials. Early research also indicates they value diversity (racial, sexual and even generational) more.
Research is still in its infancy, so it’s too early to make any sweeping conclusions (not that some aren’t trying. The Financial Times ran an article titled “Generation Z, the world’s savior?”) but if the Internet can be safely understood to be the most important development of the past century, and Generation Z are the first demographic with an innate understanding of the online world, than Gen Z’s impact could very well be pronounced.