Generation Z in the Statistical Spotlight

Posted June 18, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The calendar hasn't quite hit its halfway mark, but it's clear: 2018 is the Year of Generation Z. Here’s what we know about the generation that has emerged as a leading voice in demanding a fairer, better and safer nation for all.

They’ve got youth on their side.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation counts anyone born after 1995 as a member of Generation Z. This means that the group’s oldest members will be turning 22 years old in 2018.

Racial and ethnic diversity is their norm.

In the last 16 years, the nation’s population of children of color has grown by 26%.

Within this population — which represents 49% of all U.S. kids — 25% of children are Hispanic or Latino, 14% are black or African-American, 5% are Asian, 4% are multiracial, 1% are American Indian or Alaskan Native and less than 0.5% are Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.

Health insurance is typical, too.

A discomforting 10% of kids lacked heath insurance in 2008, the earliest full year of KIDS COUNT data on record. Today, just 4% of kids have no health insurance, which translates to an impressive 60% drop in the nationwide rate of uninsured children.

The Teen Mom television series is growing less relatable.

The teen birth rate now sits at just 20 births for every 1,000 teen girls between the ages of 15 to 19. In 1996, when the first wave of Generation Z’ers were born, the nation’s teen birth rate was 62% higher — at 53 births for every 1,000 teen girls.

Despite these examples of positive progress, which are rooted in smart policies and data-drive strategies, statistical trends aren’t all rosy for Generation Z. For instance:

More kids are calling high-poverty areas home.

From 2000 to today, the likelihood that a child lives in a high-poverty area has risen 44%. In the U.S. today, 13% of all kids — nearly 9.5 million children — live in areas of concentrated poverty, which are census tracts with poverty rates of at least 30%.

The public safety net is spreading wider.

Since 2005, which represents the earliest full year of KIDS COUNT data on record, the nation has seen a 42% increase in children growing up in families aided by public assistance.

Today, 27% of kids — more than 19.6 million children — live in families that have recently received Food Stamps/SNAP benefits, Supplemental Security Income or cash public assistance income.

The number of kids in single-parent families is growing.

More than one-third of all kids — 24.3 million children nationwide — are growing up in a single-parent family. This rate has risen 13% since 2000.

Compared with children in married-couple families, kids raised by one parent are more likely to drop out of school, have or cause a teen pregnancy and get divorced as an adult, according to research.

Get more statistics on today's children and youth in the KIDS COUNT Data Center

Read more about Generation Z

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