Amidst growing concerns for the environment, the student debt crisis, and the overall social well-being of citizens, a significant portion of Gen Z finds itself questioning the adequacy of government. Surprisingly, despite their desire for government intervention, Generation Z individuals aged 12 to 26 maintain skepticism towards governmental institutions.
Regarding government trust, 50% of Gen Z expresses a lack of faith in Congress, 46% harbor distrust towards the presidency, and 38% remain skeptical of the Supreme Court. Interestingly, science stands out as the most trusted institution among Gen Z, with a 71% trust rate. Gen Z also remains relatively supportive of government institutions such as law enforcement, with 57% of young Americans opposing defunding the police.
Nevertheless, it’s important to note that Gen Z isn’t a monolithic group, and we differ when comparing the younger members (ages 12-17) of our generation to the older members (ages 18-26). Regarding the role of government, 48% of the younger Gen Z trusts the police, while only 28% of the older segment shares this sentiment. The military garners greater trust among the younger demographic, with 51%, compared to a 30% trust rate among older Gen Z.
However, despite the differences among Gen Z and the rising concerns about an increasingly polarized society, Generation Z shares common distrust for many key institutions. For instance, 89% of Gen Z Democrats and 86% of Gen Z Republicans express a lack of trust in Congress. Republicans and Democrats exhibit less than 40% trust in the Supreme Court.
Despite the overall skepticism Gen Z holds towards the government, most Gen Z members believe that the way to treat their concerns is by increased government intervention. 70% of Gen Z believe that the government should play a more active role in helping people, marking a 6% increase compared to the Millennial generation.
Most Generation Z members believe that the way to treat their concerns is by increased government intervention in health care, social welfare, climate change, and government spending. Support for basic health insurance has risen from 42% in 2013 to 65% in 2023. Gen Z also believes that the government should ensure necessities like food and shelter, with 62% endorsing this view.
I urge my generation to carefully weigh the consequences of entrusting additional power to an institution whose trustworthiness remains unproven. As we have seen, forced renewable energy standards are more polluting, and single-payer healthcare systems deny patients needed expensive treatments. Government mandates such as state-issued occupational licenses keep people who need opportunity from working and starting businesses.
We should explore alternative solutions such as nuclear energy, which shows promise for low-emission power generation, and healthcare price transparency, which can promote a more efficient and accountable healthcare system.