Election 2020: Here's what Gen Z cares about

Aarthi Swaminathan
·Reporter
·2-min read

A new survey reveals that college students — the vast majority of them in Generation Z (born after 1996) — are casting their decision in the 2020 elections partly based on how each candidate handles racial and ethnic inequality as well as the coronavirus pandemic.

Out of 1,002 college students aged 18 to 23 polled by college planning website BestColleges between September 10 and 15, about 62% said the issues they considered important changed this year.

(Photo: BestColleges)
(Photo: BestColleges)

And 40% of the respondents — college students across the political spectrum — placed both civil rights and coronavirus as to the most important issues during this election.

While racial inequality was a top issue for students who were left-leaning, at 52%, only 17% of students identifying themselves with the Republican party considered it a major point.

The economy, which includes employment and the jobs environment, ranked as the third most important issue to Gen Z, followed by healthcare and education. Climate change was also noted by 22% of respondents to be a major issue they were concerned about.

Georgia Tech student Claudia Gomez, 19, arrives at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds to cast her first ballot on October 24, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. - Neighbors and volunteers are handing out water and snacks to the masked voters waiting patiently in line to cast their ballots on a hot October day in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna. Americans go to the polls on November 3 but the enthusiastic early voting here has already given the morning an air of Election Day. Georgia has been a reliably Republican, conservative bastion and a Democrat has not won in the Peach State since Bill Clinton, a fellow Southerner, in 1992. But Democratic candidate Joe Biden, 77, and Republican incumbent Donald Trump, 74, are running neck-and-neck in the polls in Georgia. (Photo by Elijah Nouvelage / AFP) (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
Georgia Tech student Claudia Gomez, 19, arrives at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds to cast her first ballot on October 24, 2020, in Lawrenceville, Georgia. (Photo by ELIJAH NOUVELAGE/AFP via Getty Images)

“We certainly are seeing a lot of first-time voters in this age group,” Melissa Venable, a BestColleges advisor, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “They're registered because they can for the first time and vote for the presidential election.”

And with projections of a high turnout, particularly among young voters, Gen Z may become a political force at the ballot box earlier than other generations.

“This is a generation that's been known, from a much younger age, as being politically active in their community and engaged in things around civics,” Venable noted.

Aarthi is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. She can be reached at aarthi@yahoofinance.com. Follow her on Twitter @aarthiswami.

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