According to Pew, Gen Z is the most ​diverse​ generation of Americans, ever. Based on what our Gen Z respondents told us, that diversity seems to manifest as a sense of fluidity that seeps into all of their identifications. More Gen Z respondents than any other generation reported identifying as not heterosexual, not cis-gender, and not rigidly masculine or feminine. The majority said they understand why labels are useful, but still find them too limiting. And they were much more likely than older generations to acknowledge that parts of themselves are more authentic online, while others are more real in person.

Beyond being the most diverse amongst themselves, the oldest members of Gen Z are maturing amid a ​boom​ of representation for marginalized people in popular culture. And overall, Gen Z respondents appeared adamant about protecting other people’s freedom to be themselves or break from the norm—whether that means breaking down stigma against multiracial relationships or ensuring diversity education in workplaces and schools.


said they identify as neutral on the spectrum of masculinity and femininity.

More so than older respondents (1 in 2), Gen Z respondents predicted that in the next 10 years, one's job will become increasingly important for expressing one’s personal identity. Meanwhile, 4 in 10 said that ethnicity and gender will become less important.

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Katherine Pach

22, Ohio 

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said they identify as something other than heterosexual.

(Privacy & Identity, US + UK, VICE Voices 2018)

Overall, answers from our Gen Z respondents made clear that freedom of identity expression is critical. By 2030, they said they believe the top five ways we’ll protect identity expression in the U.S. will be:

1. better diversity and inclusion in schools

2. stricter workplace policies on discrimination

3. stricter government policies on discrimination

4. better workplace training

5. policies for the economic advancement of marginialized communities

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Today, young people are known for identifying with increasingly specific terms, specifically when it comes to gender and sexuality. For our Gen Z respondents, however, identity labels appear to be a double-edged sword.


said that identity labels increase empathy for others.

At the same time, 55% said that identity labels do not help them define who they truly are.

Eleni Retta

18, Virginia

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said that identity labels create unnecessary barriers in conversation.

But, apparently, that’s not because they don’t understand them. 54% disagreed with the idea that, because there are so many of them, identity labels cause more confusion than clarity in conversation. In fact, it may be because there aren’t enough: 67% of Gen Z respondents said they believe that identity labels are too limiting.

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felt strongly that people should be able to use any identity label with which they feel comfortable, compared to only 52% of Millennial and just 36% of Gen X respondents.

Jason Mai

24, California  

Digital Identity

The vast majority of Gen Z respondents agreed with older respondents in that they are their most authentic selves in front of their close friends. But they were also much more likely (1 in 3) to say that their online identity is their most authentic self, compared to Millennial (1 in 5) and Gen X respondents (1 in 10).

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Overall, Gen Z respondents showed a strong belief in the right to be yourself.

said they believe that anyone should be able to love whoever they want.

94% said they believe that everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, and age, should have equal job opportunities.

(Modern Families & Future of Work, US + UK, VICE Voices 2018)

When asked how we should approach issues of discrimination, the overwhelming answer from Gen Z respondents was: mandated education.

By 2030...

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The VICE Logo Guide to 2030

A project by VICE Media Group 2020 / All Rights Reserved
Statistical information from VICE Voices