Gen Z Most Stressed by Pandemic, Poll Says

Carolyn Crist

December 07, 2021

Generation Z is reporting more pandemic-related stress than any other age group, citing the toll on education, careers, and relationships, according to a new poll released Monday.

More Americans ages 13-24 say the coronavirus pandemic has hindered their goals and social lives than Millennials and members of Generation X. The poll, which was done by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with funding from MTV, included 3,764 people ages 13-56 from Sept. 1 to 19.

About 46% in the Gen Z age group said COVID-19 has made it difficult to pursue their education and career goals, as compared with 36% of Millennials and 31% of Gen X.

What's more, about 45% of Gen Z respondents said it was difficult to maintain good relationships with friends, as compared with 41% of Millennials and 39% of Gen X.

About 40% of Gen Z also said romantic relationships had become more difficult, as compared with 32% of Millennials and 33% of Gen X.

All age groups reported a hard time with maintaining mental health, including 49% of Gen Z, 47% of Millennials, and 48% of Gen X. But for the younger age group, about half report that the pandemic has made it harder to have fun and be happy overall.

"Overall, 35% of Gen Z frequently experiences stress and another 46% report experiencing it sometimes," the survey authors wrote. "Uncertainty about the pandemic and fear of infection are among the top sources of stress for this generation."

The poll findings match similar studies from earlier this year that found younger Americans are feeling isolated, lonely, and stressed from the pandemic, according to The Washington Post .

The American Psychological Association, for instance, has released reports this year that found Gen Z adults were most likely to have a hard time making major life decisions due to uncertainty around the pandemic, and they were more likely to say the pandemic had affected their mental health.

Gen Z workers have also been stressed by economic uncertainty and a lack of employment, the newspaper reported. The same effects have been reported internationally in this age group, with employment options dwindling at more than twice the rate of older generations, according to the International Labour Organization in Switzerland.

"In fact, though the number of young unemployed has remained essentially unchanged between 2019 and 2020 worldwide, this is only because many young people without a job stopped looking for one or have delayed their entry into the [labor] market," the organization wrote in a report on world employment trends earlier this year.


Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research: "Gen Z and the Toll of the Pandemic."

The Washington Post: "Gen Z most stressed by coronavirus, citing pandemic toll on careers, education and relationships, poll says."

International Labour Organization: "World Employment and Social Outlook Trends 2021."


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