Travel and Things To Do
Boomers vs Gen Z: Differences and Similarities
Complaining about the generations before or after you (maybe even uttering “those entitled youths” or “okay boomer!” respectively) is a timeless pastime endured by every generation.
Gen Z and Boomers often perceive themselves as different in many ways, but are they really as different as they think? Furthermore, what are some statistics that we may typically align with Boomer or Gen Z habits, but are in fact the opposite? Oak Tree has studied the data and generational views on health, food, holidays, digital, climate change, politics, work and relationships to find out how different these two generations really are.
What Generation am I?
Before we dive in, you may be wondering “what generation am I?”. Here is a handy guide to help you find which generation you belong to and to know the difference between your Millennials, Alphas and Silents.
Many may have a stereotypical picture of young people being wild and free partiers, but could it be that Gen Z is the most responsible generation of drinkers yet? Data suggests that may be the case.
According to a government survey (Alcohol Statistics: England, House of Commons Library, Zambon, 2021), young people aged 16-24 were the least likely to have consumed alcohol in the previous week. The study shows that two-fifths (40%) of 16 to 24-year-olds reported drinking alcohol in the previous week, compared with around 60% of those aged 45 to 64.
Whatsmore, data showed that adults aged 45-64 were more likely to exceed the weekly alcohol limits. It is reported that 37% of men and 19% of women drink over the recommended 14 units of alcohol in a week. On the other hand, young adults aged 16-24 were the least likely to drink over 14 units per week (19% men and 11% women). Due to Covid-19, Gen Z-ers missed out on social drinking during their formative partying years, and now due to the fall out from restrictions, the nighttime entertainment industry has changed. In the last three years, one-in-five nightclubs in the UK have closed, leaving young people (and the young at heart) to find alternative, and potentially less boozy, nighttime entertainment.
Diet and Nutrition
Many boomers will be familiar with the sentiments “mother says to eat your vegetables”, but was the advice taken on board? Data from a survey conducted in 2020 reveals that many didn’t heed to mother’s advice.
The survey revealed that 18% of Gen Z respondents agreed that a healthy diet was an important part of their life, whereas just 9% of Baby Boomers said the same. In fact, nearly a fifth of Boomers strongly disagreed with the statement.
Public perception of Gen Z being committed vegans may actually be more press fuel than substance. While Gen Z is opting for vegan diets at a higher rate than boomers - the gap is just 1%. A 2021 survey found that about 3% of Gen Zs stated that they followed a vegan diet, in comparison with 2% of Boomers.
When it comes to a vegetarian diet though, 30% of Gen Z said that they plan to go without meat compared with just 5% of Baby Boomers. In Britain, just over a third of Gen Z’s stated that they believe a meatless diet is better for health. When asked, the level of agreement on this statement declines with each generation with only a fifth of Boomers (22%) saying meatless diets are a healthier alternative.
While it could be said that there are stereotypes of home-loving older people and mobile youngsters, data actually shows that both generations are open to exploring new cities and countries.
A study from Eurostat shows that 51% of Gen Z and 43% of Boomers expect to visit domestic and international destinations. Additionally, 72% of Gen Zs are planning, or at least thinking about, splurging on a big getaway trip in 2022, compared with 51% of Boomers. While it is evident that Gen Z is planning on travelling more than other generations, by no means are Boomers tied down to their home comforts either.
Internet and Online Shopping
Unlike the generations before them, Gen Z grew up without the sound of internet dial-ups ringing in their ears. Their fingers move with lightning speed across the keyboard and they’re trailblazers of addictive video content. However, does that mean that Boomers are on the other end of the spectrum and as tech adverse as some may think? In short - no! After all, what generation do you think invented the internet and were the earliest adopters?
Data from the ONS showed that 67% of over 65s use the internet daily, compared with 100% of Gen Z. The survey also revealed that when it came to shopping, four in five Brits shop online, that’s up from three in four last year. More than half of Boomers have said that they now shop online.
Gen Z was the most likely take a hybrid approach, shopping in-store and online across all categories (36%). Meanwhile, 18% of Boomers opted for a hybrid approach for their shopping needs.
Most Gen Z and Boomers have a shared concern about climate change and are both willing to make changes to their lifestyle to protect the planet.
Following the record breaking heatwaves of summer 2022, a study showed that British people now feel more worried about climate change. Prior to the summer, 20% of people said they felt “very worried”. This has now jumped up to 33%. Within this study, Gen Z were more likely to be very worried (36%) than Baby Boomers (28%). All this begs the question, what are people willing to do about the issue?
Addressing Climate Change
It is reported that 32% of Gen Z has taken at least one of four actions (donating money, contacting an elected official, volunteering or attending a rally) to address climate change in the last year, compared with 21% of baby boomers. When it came to lifestyle modifications to combat climate change, both generations appeared to be on board:
- 36% (65+) and 34% (18-24) would cut out meat and dairy two or three meals a week
- 27% (65+) 44% (18 - 24) would switch to electric cars
- 60% (65+) 47%(18 -24) would only eat fruit and veg that are in season
- 19% (65+) 31% (18-24) would buy clothes from second hand or charity shops
If you have a preconception that Gen Z has more liberal views and Baby Boomers tend to be more conservative, then data reflects that you would be right. However, what do these two generations have in common when it comes to politics? That no one trusts politicians. Surprising, we know.
Turnout amongst younger age groups is trending slightly upwards. For those aged 55-74 the number of voters dipped slightly with people potentially put off by the winter election. In 2019 the turnout of Gen Z at the election was four points higher than in 2015.
When it comes to political views, your preconceptions about these generations may be correct. The Conservatives are polling best with older voters with 58% of people aged over 70 backing them, versus just 16% of 18-24-year-olds. The stats are the reverse when it comes to the Labour party. Although young people are more left-leaning, their party support is less Labour-centric as they may vote for other left parties that align with their views. The Labour party polls well voters under 29 (38%) and just 9% of people over 70.
What really unites the people is their distrust of politicians. Gen Z (44%) and Boomers (57%) both think that politicians from all parties are less honest than they have been in the past.
In response to Covid-19, working from home became a mainstream choice for many companies. Since then we have seen significant improvements for many employers and job-seekers alike. For instance, remote work has made employment more accessible than ever for people with disabilities.
One tired stereotype of young people is that technology and opportunities have made them lazy, but does evidence suggest that’s really the case? In fact, it’s quite the contrary.
58% of Gen Z said that they would be willing to work nights and weekends for higher pay. This number decreased with each previous generation, with 40% or lower for Gen X and Baby Boomers saying that they would be willing to work more for higher pay. It makes you wonder what older generations know that young people may not…
Interestingly, Gen Z has high entrepreneurial aspirations, with 42% of Gen Z saying they want to have their own business, that’s 10 percentage points higher than any previous generation.
As we’ve learned from the last two years, when it comes to working in the office, or at home, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone, but what do our two generations think?
Overall, research shows that millennials and younger (under 35s) have said that they are more productive working from home (47%) and only 37% of Boomers and older said the same.
Research has found that only 30% of Baby Boomers believed that the change in working circumstances has improved their personal connections with colleagues, whereas 70% of Gen Z felt an improvement.
When it comes to talking about money, a new survey suggests that Gen Z is more open to discussing this typically taboo topic with friends.
When answering the survey, 37% of Gen Z respondents said that they have asked their close friends how much money they make. This is compared to 15% of boomers, showing a trend that younger people have become more open over time. It’s not just friends who people are talking to about money, an even larger number of Gen Z respondents (39%) said they’ve asked their co-workers how much they earn, whereas only 12% of boomers had broached the topic.
Relationships and Family
We’ve looked at how Gen Z and Baby Boomers view the world, but what do they think about relationships, marriage and children?
Marriage and Divorce
Baby Boomer’s divorce rates are higher than any other generation, with 48% of marriages ending in divorce. This however does not dampen their outlook on love, with 41.9% of Boomers stating that they believe marriage is important. Due to Gen Z’s young age, and the fact that the average age to get married is now 36, it’s too soon to state any true divorce statistics for their age group. However, when it comes to sentiments on marriage, only 27% of Gen Zs stated that they believe marriage is important. With the costs of living rising and societal acceptance of living together before marriage, it’s no wonder that weddings are slipping down the priority list for young people.
Pressure to Have Children
Marriage isn’t the only thing that’s been deprioritised for Gen Z. A report shows that almost half (46%) of Gen Z has shared that they don’t want to have children. More than half of the survey participants shared that the cost of living makes them concerned about starting a family or that they’ll never be financially secure enough to have children and would rather spend the money on themselves.
Pressure to Buy
It is reported that 85% of Gen Z feel pressure to reach traditional life milestones, up from 70% of Boomers who said they felt this way when they were younger. The average age for these milestones has shifted significantly, as they become harder to achieve, with research now even showing that the definition of ‘old age’ itself has been pushed from 65 to 70.
When it comes to buying a house, 70% of Boomers said they felt pressure to buy with a partner, which has increased by 10% for Gen Z. So is buying a property together the new marriage vow? Perhaps so! Due to the cost of living, skyrocketing house prices and stagnant salaries, young people are now getting onto the property ladder later in life. The average age for buying a home was just 25 for Boomers, but has soared to 33 for the young people of today.
Talkin' 'Bout My Generation
A lot has changed for young people in the last 50 years thanks to technological and societal advancements. Our findings communicated to us that these two often divided generations have a lot more in common than you may think. Our differences after all must be celebrated and encouraged. New and fresh perspectives, guided by the wisdom and experience that often comes with age, support us to pursue new technology, create solutions and work to solve the world’s problems. Now let’s just wait and see what Generation Alpha will have in-store for us all.