Less Than Half of America’s Teens Say They Are Exclusively Heterosexual, New Study Finds


New Generation Z Study to Be Released Today at SXSW

A new study that will be released Friday at SXSW shows that only 48 percent of young Americans, commonly referred to as Generation Z, are exclusively heterosexual. 

J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, part of the 152-year old JWT multi-national advertising agency, using a zero to six scale asked Americans aged 13-20 to plot their sexuality. Similar to the famous Kinsey Scale, zero is exclusively heterosexual, and six exclusively homosexual.

"We did a survey of Gen Z for a report released in May 2015 and found that 81 percent said that gender doesn't define a person as much as it used to," Shepherd Laughlin, director of trendspotting at J. Walter Thompson told VICE's Broadly website.

"That was an intriguing statistic that got a lot of attention in the media, but we weren't sure quite what it meant: Were they just saying, for example, that men or women could pursue any career they wanted to? Or did this reflect the more radical idea that gender itself isn't as important to personal identity as it used to be, or that gender shouldn't be seen as a binary? This new research shows that the latter idea is gaining significant traction among Gen Zers." 

More than a third of the Gen Z respondents chose between one and five, suggesting they are somewhat bisexual.

More than half also say they now someone who prefers to addressed with gender neutral pronouns, like "they," "them," "xe," or "ze."  

Broadly's Zing Tsjeng notes that "the survey polled less than a thousand respondents across the US," but adds, "Laughlin says that he has '90 percent' confidence that the results are accurate and can be generalized for the whole country."

"We're even more confident about this for this particular survey because we see clear patterns across the different questions that show that Gen Z has a more complex and less binary approach to gender than millennials," Laughlin told Broadly.


Image by justine-reyes via Flickr and a CC license