Generation Z Is More Worried About U.S. Gun Violence Than Corruption and Health Care Access, Poll Finds

Young people are more worried about violent crime in the United States than climate change, access to health care, corruption and economic instability, according to a global survey of adults aged 18 to 25 by Amnesty International.

When it came to issues facing the world as a whole, nearly half of the 10,000 respondents in 22 countries identified climate change as among the most pressing (41 percent), followed by pollution (36 percent) and terrorism (31 percent).

Published in light of Human Rights Day on December 10, the survey demonstrates a disconnect between world leaders and the wishes of their youngest generation, according to Amnesty. The majority of young people hold the government responsible for upholding human rights and protecting the environment, as opposed to corporations, individuals or charities.

"Amnesty International believes that young people want to see systemic transformations. They want a reckoning with the climate emergency, with the abuse of power. They want to see a completely different future blossoming instead of the wreckage that we are heading towards," said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty's Secretary General, in a statement.

Violent Crime Tops Gen Z Anxieties
Gun safety advocates rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court before during oral arguments in the Second Amendment case NY State Rifle & Pistol v. City of New York, NY on December 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Of the 500 Americans surveyed, 32 percent chose violent crime, including gun violence and knife crime, as the most important issue facing the United States out of 23 possible choices, according to the poll. About 25 percent chose corruption, followed by hate crimes (24 percent).

The finding reflects "concerns over the lack of action by political leaders in the country to address the human rights crisis" of gun violence, according to Amnesty. It comes less than a month after school shootings in New Jersey, California and Maryland, none of which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, addressed on Twitter or through official statements.

A bill that would require background checks for every firearm sale, which is sponsored by at least five Republicans and 227 Democrats, passed in the House about 10 months ago and currently sits vote-less in the Senate, according to Today, most unlicensed sellers do not administer background checks prior to selling guns.

American young people seconded their international peers when it came to the most important issues facing the world; about 34 percent chose climate change, then pollution (29 percent) and terrorism (28 percent).

Amnesty's isn't the only report to notice climate change on the minds, and hearts, of Generation Z, defined as 22-year-olds and younger by Pew Research. In fact, Tinder's "Year in Swipe" report released last week said this group of youngsters often bonds over climate change, social justice, environment and gun control.

"In this year when young people mobilized in huge numbers for the climate, it can be no surprise that many of those surveyed saw it as one of the most important issues facing the world," Naidoo said in Monday's press release.