Report: COVID, Economy Are Gen Z Dream Crushers

Buying a home, getting an education, and having children seem less obtainable to Gen Z, who are lowering expectations and delaying these major life events.

That’s according to a new study from Stagwell’s Gale. The agency did the research to better understand Gen Z and Millennial attitudes heading into 2023.

The study is underpinned by a survey of 1,000 Millennial and Gen Zers across the US.

Both the pandemic and macroeconomic instability have changed the life goals of both groups, according to the report.

“Rising inflation” was the socioeconomic “shock” most cited as changing life goals, by about 6 in 10 respondents. The pandemic was cited by 56% of Gen Z and 49% of Millennials as a “goal-changing factor.”

And rising interest rates and a “looming recession” also weigh heavily on the minds of many in both groups.

Per the survey, 74% of Gen Z said they'd changed their planned timing of having children. 45% said they'll delay having kids and 22% said they will give up other goals to keep this one on track. That said, Gen Z is also 20% less likely than Millennials to want to have kids at all (39% vs. 50%, respectively).



Nearly 90% of Gen Z said their goal of owning a starter home had been impacted. 44% said they would delay their purchase and 19% said they’d incur more debt.

85% of Gen Z said they've changed their higher education goals with 44% indicating they’d delay university attendance. And 19% said they would give up other goals to maintain high-ed aspirations.

Among Gen Z respondents hoping to attend trade or vocational schools, 1 in 6 said they had given up on reaching this goal entirely.

Both generations hope to retire around age 50, but on average they expect it will take until age 60 to actually afford to do so. 1 in 6 respondents from both groups fear they will never be able to afford retirement.

The full report can be accessed here.


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