Generation Z is often talked about in terms of how it differs from older generations, but a new study highlights two key links between the youngest members of the group and their parents.

Public Religion Research Institute found that most teenaged members of Gen Z identify with the same political party and religion as the people who raised them, despite growing up in a very different political and religious context.

“Generation Z has come of age during a particularly tumultuous time, beginning with the 2016 election of Donald Trump, the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol after President Trump refused to concede his loss in the 2020 presidential election,” researchers wrote.

The survey defines Generation Z as the group of Americans born between 1997 and 2012.

For its analysis of teenaged members of Gen Z, Public Religion Research Institute zoomed in on survey participants who were at least 13 but no older than 17.

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Gen Z politics

When it comes to political affiliation, Gen Z teens are about as likely to identify as Republicans (22%) as they are to identify as Democrats (27%).

More than half of Gen Z teens do not identify with a political party, Public Religion Research Institute reported.

The survey found that large majorities of Gen Z teens identify with the same political party as their parents.

“Eighty-seven percent of Republican teens and 86% of Democratic teens (report) that they support the same party as their parents. Two-thirds of teens who identify as independent (66%) also have parents who are political independents,” Public Religion Research Institute reported.

As members of Gen Z get older, they seem to draw closer to the Democratic Party.

The survey showed that 36% of Gen Z adults identify as Democrats, compared to 27% of Gen Z teens.

Gen Z religion

Younger members of Gen Z are more likely than older ones to identify as Christian and less likely to be religiously unaffiliated. As with politics, Gen Z teens take their cues from their parents, according to Public Religion Research Institute.

“More than 8 in 10 white Christian teens (83%) and Christian teens of color (85%) report belonging to the same religion as their parents, compared with 68% of religiously unaffiliated teens,” researchers wrote.

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The link between parents’ religious habits and kids’ religious habits was established long before the new study. Religion experts have repeatedly said that if you want to raise religious kids, then you have to let your kids see you being religious.

“Parents have to really believe it. The kids can kind of tell how much of this is fake,” said Amy Adamczyk, co-author of “Handing Down the Faith: How Parents Pass Their Religion on to the Next Generation,” to the Deseret News in 2021.

Although one-third of Gen Z adults identify as religiously unaffiliated, many members of this group told Public Religion Research Institute’s researchers that they continue to draw comfort from their faith-related memories.

These Gen Zers “were appreciative of the religious upbringings their families provided, even if, as young adults, they have adapted their beliefs and religious behaviors to better fit their own views and needs,” researchers wrote.

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