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Generation Z may not know what the world was like before smartphones or social media, but somehow they get by. Most of them worry about the latest trends on TikTok or how they can go viral overnight.
But despite Gen Z’s questionable antics on social media these past few years, what most people don’t know is that they are more likely to continue their education, even after highschool.
According to Pew Research Center (PRC), 57% of older Gen Zers, aged 18-21, were enrolled in a two or four-year college after completing their high school education. This percentage remains the highest compared to 52% of millennials in this category and 43% of Gen X members.
PRC believes that these changes within the educational pattern are mainly tied to immigration and parental influence.
Studies show that Gen Z is one of the most diverse generations, both racially and ethnically. Most members of Generation Z are also less likely to be immigrants compared to previous generations.
When conducting their study on higher education, the PRC focused on Hispanic youth. They found that second-generation Hispanic youth are less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to attend college than foreign-born Hispanic youth.
When it comes to parental influence, 44% of younger Gen Zers ages 7–17 were living with a parent who had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2019. This study compares to 33% of millennials who were in this same category at a similar age.
Since Gen Z members are more likely to live with a college-educated parent, more Americans have decided to pursue higher education.
Lastly, PRC points out that most Gen Zers are unemployed due to them pursuing a higher education.
In 2018, only 18% of Gen Z teens ages 15–17 were employed and only 62% of older Gen Z members ages 18–22 had a job. These numbers are both significantly low compared to previous generations. This data may have changed drastically this year due to COVID-19.
Many people believe Gen Z members can not be revolutionaries because they don’t understand work ethic. But just because they aren’t working, doesn’t mean they aren’t educating themselves either. Members of the Pew Research Center believe Gen Z will be one of the most educated generations yet, but will they be able to put their degrees into action?