Generation Z – The iGeneration College Enrollment and Early Education
During the next five years, over 20 million consumers tagged as Generation Z will pour into young-adult status with the leading edge surpassing the age of 21 this year, graduating from college and entering the workforce. This is the second factoid in a series of four factoids detailing the demographics and shopping preferences of the newest adult generation.
College Enrollment and Early Employment
On their way to becoming the most college-educated, Generation Z has the highest percent of 18 to 20-year-olds enrolled in college among those no longer in high school – at 59% in 2017. Millennials in 2002 were the first generation to reach over half (53%) of young adults in college – up from 44% of Gen Xers in 1986.
Generation Z will enter the workforce with the least job experience of any cohort. Only 19% of Gen Z teens 15 to 17-year-olds in 2018 were employed full or part time during the previous year compared to 30% of Millennials the same ages in 2002 and 41% in Gen Xers in 1986. Numbers are also lower for Generation Z 18 to 21-year-olds with only 58% holding a job in 2018, compared to 72% and 78% of Millennials and Gen Xers, respectively.
Although many Gen Zers have not been in the workplace, numerous studies indicate they have an advantage over older Millennials. According to Dan Schawel, founder of Millennial Branding, “They (Gen Z) appear to be more realistic instead of optimistic, are likely to be more career-minded, and can quickly adapt to new technology to work more effectively.” He adds that “they come to the workplace better prepared, less entitled and more equipped to succeed.”
Coinciding with college education, many in Generation Z are born to more affluent families with parents having relatively higher education than previous generations. Expressed in constant 2017 dollars, Generation Z, ages 6 to 21 in 2018, lived in households with an average income of $63,700 – 2.1% higher than Millennials in 2002. In 1986, Gen Xers lived in households with an average income of $52,800 – 20.6% below today’s Generation Z.
Source: Data extrapolated from report by Pew Research Center, November 2018, "Early Benchmark Show 'Post-Millennials' on Track to Be Most-Diverse/Best -Educated Generation Yet"
Pew Research Center analysis of 1968,1986,2002 and 2018, Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (IPUMS). “Early Benchmarks Show Post-Millennials on Track to be Most Diverse, Best-Educated Generation Yet” – Pew Research Center
Note: Household incomes are as of the previous calendar year and are scaled to a three-person household and expressed in 2017 dollars. Poverty status is as of the previous year. Housing tenure as of March of the given year.