Gen Z & Politics: Political Engagement & Views of the Next Generation

Appinio Research · 22.06.2023 · 8min read

Gen Z mass protesting with a megaphone on San Francisco Bridge

As the world evolves, so does the political landscape, and the emergence of Generation Z, brings forth a new wave of political engagement and fresh perspectives. 

In this article, the second of a three-part series on Gen Z, we will delve into the intriguing dynamics of Gen Z's political views, engagement, and participation

From their early exposure to political issues to their active role in grassroots activism and social movements, we'll explore the factors shaping Gen Z's political leanings and the impact they have on the ever-evolving political landscape. So, join us as we unravel the intriguing world of Gen Z in politics and gain insights into the political views, affiliations, and potential of this dynamic generation.

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Understanding Gen Z

Born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, Generation Z already makes up around 20.66% of the US population, and they are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in American history.

Many have just started getting into politics only recently, therefore understanding the key defining characteristics and values of Gen Z is crucial to comprehending their political views and engagement. 

Gen Z is known for their strong belief in social justice, equality, and inclusivity, moreover, their political leanings are greatly influenced by technological advancements and the widespread use of social media platforms. 

Gen Z's political awareness and activism are fueled by their ability to connect, organize, and express their views online, amplifying their voices and facilitating collective action. 

As Generation Z continues to grow in influence and reshape the political landscape, embracing their unique perspectives and harnessing their passion for positive change will be essential for a more inclusive and responsive political future.

Is Gen Z interested in politics?

Insights from the recent Teengeist report provide valuable insights into Generation Z's political engagement. 





The findings reveal that slightly over half of Gen Z (54%) express a moderate to high interest in political matters, indicating a notable portion of the generation that actively engages with politics. However, a significant proportion appears to be less interested or invested in political affairs. 


Furthermore, only 29% consider their involvement in politics to be of significant importance


The reasons behind the lower percentage of Gen Z considering their involvement in politics as important can be complex and multifaceted, shaped by a combination of societal, cultural, and personal factors, but we could attempt to understand this low involvement.


  1. Politics doesn’t care about the issues Gen Z have at heart

    One first possible reason is the perceived disconnect between political institutions and the issues that matter most to Gen Z

They may feel that traditional political systems are slow to address urgent concerns such as climate change, social justice, and equality. This disillusionment with the political system and a perceived lack of responsiveness from politicians can lead to a diminished sense of importance in engaging with politics.


  1. A constant stream of (bad) news

    Secondly, the overwhelming amount of information available in the digital age can be overwhelming and potentially disheartening. 

Gen Z is exposed to a constant stream of news, social media discussions, and diverse opinions, which can lead to a sense of information overload.
Furthermore, news is mainly negatively connotated, as shown by 2001 research paper “Bad is stronger than good”, so it’s no wonder Gen Z is left feeling discouraged and disheartened when they are constantly bombarded with everything that’s wrong in the world.


  1. Politics is not everything

    Additionally, Gen Z's priorities and concerns may extend beyond traditional political structures. They often prioritize grassroots activism, community engagement, and direct action as means of effecting change. 

This focus on more immediate and tangible impact, rather than traditional political processes, may contribute to a perception that personal involvement in formal politics is less important.


How does Gen Z feel about politics?

The Appinio Teengeist Report reveals that a significant portion of Gen Z feels dissatisfied with the political system and politicians in their respective countries. 


In fact, 45% express (high) dissatisfaction with the political system, and an even higher percentage of them (51%) feel (very) dissatisfied with the politicians themselves. 


These numbers shed light on the prevailing disillusionment among Gen Z regarding the current political landscape. 


But Gen Z seems to have thick skin.

Gen Z’s voter turnout has been at an all-time high for the midterm election and there has been a notable increase in their political participation in recent years. 


Furthermore, social media platforms have become powerful tools for Gen Z's political engagement, not only allowing them to express their views, mobilize support, and amplify their voices on a global scale, but as a source of information.


This surge can be attributed to various factors, including a growing awareness of social and political issues, an increased emphasis on civic education and high dissatisfaction in the political system. 


Gen Z's political engagement extends beyond voting and encompasses active involvement in grassroots activism and social movements. They are often at the forefront of advocating for change, championing causes such as climate action, racial justice, gender equality, and LGBTQ+ rights. 


These statistics underscore the need to examine the factors that shape Gen Z's political leanings, such as their concerns, aspirations, and desire for meaningful representation.

Gen Z's priorities and concerns


The Appinio Teengeist Report shed light on the topics that hold great importance for this generation. 


  1. Health
    Health policies and reforms emerge as a top priority, with a staggering 74% of Gen Z considering it to be of utmost significance. Interestingly, women show a higher inclination towards health policies, with 77% recognizing its importance compared to 70% of men.

  2. Education
    Education policies closely follow, with 73% of Gen Z emphasizing the need for reform and improvement in the educational system.

  3. Climate
    Climate protection also garners significant attention, with 66% of Gen Z expressing concern about environmental sustainability and climate change. 


Additionally, equality and equal rights rank high on the list of priorities for Gen Z, particularly among women, with 75% stressing their significance compared to 52% of men.
With many states introducing new rules that greatly affect women's bodily autonomy and reproductive health, it’s no surprise that women feel more strongly than men about equality and equal rights.

These priorities demonstrate the strong commitment of Gen Z towards social justice and inclusivity, with equality featuring prominently alongside health and education as key areas of focus.

How Gen Z’s can change politics

Gen Z feels politics and politicians don’t care about them, a mere 12% of Gen Z agree with the statement that politicians genuinely care about the opinions of their generation. 


With their passion for social justice and their skilled use of social media, Gen Z has made an impact on political candidates and policies already, with many candidates taking into account Gen Z’s needs in their political agenda (e.g. gun violence, bodily autonomy, human rights and equality) and some others going as far as becoming one of the Twitch platform’s biggest broadcasters (namely, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez). 


Political activism among Gen Z has led to the emergence of new political movements, such as March for Our Lives or Sunrise Movement, that have successfully raised awareness about issues such as gun violence and climate change.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Generation Z is poised to make a significant impact on the political landscape. With their strong values of social justice, equality, and inclusivity, Gen Z is actively engaging in politics, advocating for change, and using social media platforms to amplify their voices. 


While they face challenges and dissatisfaction with the current political system, Gen Z's priorities and concerns, such as health, education, and climate change, reflect their aspirations for a better future. By overcoming barriers and actively participating in the political process, Gen Z has the potential to shape the future of politics and create meaningful change.

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