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2024 Cultural Predictions, According to Gen Z

With all the end-of-year cultural prediction articles dropping, we wanted to know what Gen Zs themselves were forecasting for 2024 — both for culture at-large and for their own lives.

We polled over 100 Gen Zs to find out how they expect to see culture shape up in the year ahead. (Spoiler: influencers will have even more cultural influence, but Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce may not.) These predictions are not only a snapshot of Zs’ outlook on culture but also, potentially, what we’ll see them #manifest in 2024.

Taylor Swift, the metaverse, and crypto dominated headlines over the last year, but Zs believe the future of culture is A.I., influencers, and their fellow Zs. When we gave Zs a wide-ranging list of buzz-worthy pop culture phenomena, Zs ranked artificial intelligence (67%) and Gen Z political leaders (52%) as the most likely to increase in cultural influence in 2024. 84% of Zs predicted that their fellow Zs will influence the future of culture more than their Millennial counterparts (16%). And brands take note: Zs were 3X more likely to say social media influencers rather than brands will have a bigger impact on culture in the coming year (41% vs. 14%).

What did Zs expect to lose cultural capital in 2024? Ozempic, return-to-office policies, and labor unions will have less momentum next year, according to more than half of Zs. Meanwhile, more than a third of Zs (34%) believe Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, will lose its cultural footing.

On a personal level, Zs are starkly divided about whether the year ahead will bring them emotional highs or lows. Heading into 2024, Zs said they’re feeling nearly equal parts hopeful” and anxious” (45% and 43%, respectively). Speaking to their divided outlook, 42% of Zs said they expect to be happier in the coming year than they were in 2023, while 35% predicted that they’ll have a mental breakdown from stress or burnout.

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While Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce ignited a pop culture firestorm this year, many Zs predicted that the couple will cool off in 2024 — at least when it comes to their cultural dominance. Zs were divided nearly evenly on whether the cultural influence of Tay‑K” is here to stay: 34% of Zs predicted that the couple’s cultural influence will increase, while 29% predicted that they’re on their way out. Case in point: Zs were 3X more likely to have said artificial intelligence will have a bigger impact on culture in the coming year than Taylor Swift (78% vs. 22%).

Will Instagram replace the Ivy League? When asked what they’ll need to be successful in 2024, Zs said having a large social network is nearly twice as important as having a graduate degree. This might tie back to the fact that social support builds resilience: Resilience” was the number one skill that Zs feel they’ll need to be successful in the coming year — nearly three times more important as having entrepreneurial experience, creative talents, or even a trust fund.

Global crises feel like they’re at an all-time high, but Gen Zs anticipate that the biggest issues they’ll personally contend with in 2024 are close to home. When we gave Zs a wide-ranging list of issues — from social media to school shootings to climate change — and asked them which they think will most impact their lives in 2024, they ranked their own mental health, love life, and personal finances above larger shared social issues. Personal finances, in particular, are a major concern among Zs. 37% of Zs said that in 2024 they’ll likely have to delay at least one major life decision because of their finances (e.g. moving, starting school, starting a family, etc.). And there’s not much optimism that the economy will help them: nearly a third of Zs (30%) said they expect to live through a major economic crisis in 2024.