Gen Z has done the work to establish their generation as one unafraid of social-political engagement. From organizing 2019’s March for Our Lives to trolling Trump rallies in 2020, members of Gen Z express strong opinions. The 2024 election cycle will kick off as roughly half of Gen Z comes of voting age, causing those older than them to wonder, “Will they show up at the polls?” Within the LGBTQ+ community, the answer to that question holds a deep significance. We’re facing an influx of proposed anti-LGBTQ+ bills across the country and challenges to laws designed to further racial and gender equality.
IGNITE, an organization that trains young women-identified folks to “flex political power and shape policy,” may have answer. They released their 2023 Gen Z Voting & Political Engagement Report in November. The report reveals what issues drive Gen Z voters and examines how their gender identities impact their views.
The most uplifting news? That most eligible members of Gen Z plan to vote in the 2024 presidential election. 62% of those surveyed say they’ll “absolutely” vote or consider themselves likely to. In fact, 73% of young women and 77% of young men respondents have already registered to vote.
Regarding how they’ll vote, the report found that Gen Z voters tend to vote based on issues rather than candidates. The top five issues driving their political engagement include mass shootings, climate change, racial inequity, mental health, and abortion. For women and nonbinary folks specifically, abortion is a vital issue. 65% of female and nonbinary respondents consider it “critical.”
Though Gen Z tends to focus on issues, they still care who is on the ballot. Roughly 70% of Gen Z women-identifying and nonbinary people want to see more diversity in candidates. These respondents say they would be more likely to vote if more women candidates, racial minority candidates, younger candidates, and candidates that speak to the issues of young people were on the ballot.
This focus on equity and diversity shouldn’t be surprising: Gen Z self-identifies as the most diverse generation. Of the 1,298 survey respondents aged 18-25, only 52% identified as white. Additionally, 27% of the respondents identify as LGBTQ+, which is almost one in every 5 Gen Zers. Those worrying about Gen Z election turnout can rest assured that the issues they consider vital are also vital to almost 20% of Gen Z.
The report also found that 36% of women-identifying and nonbinary respondents identify as LGBTQ+, which is disproportionately high for their generation. While only 49% of Gen Z overall identifies as democrat, 77% of women-identifying Gen Zers do. Women-identified respondents tend to self-identify as liberal much more than those who identify as men.
Gen Z appears determined to build a world with more equality and equity than their predecessors. With so many intersectional identities across lines of race, gender, and sexual orientation, Gen Zers have a high stake in the outcome of the 2024 presidential election.
Hats off to Gen Z for taking their values from TikTok, to the streets of Washington, D.C., and most importantly—to the polls.