More than 13,000 Americans were born into a world of turmoil on Sept. 11, 2001.
Members of Generation Z — those born in 1996 or later — were initially dubbed “Homelanders,” a moniker associated with their birth, the creation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the more-than-a-decade-long “War on Terror.”
Now, 19 years later, many of those children have graduated from high school and are, once again, stepping out into an uncertain future.
As of July 2019, the combined millennial, Gen Z and youth voters totaled 166 million — or 50.7% of America’s population. That’s a larger count than the 162 million people associated with the combined Gen X, baby boomer, and older cohorts.
While younger voters tend to lean left, the 67 million children of Gen Z have grown up in a different social and political climate than even younger millennials.
With lives marked by tragedies of the 2010s such as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, memories of the early 2000s are hazy, as they are for most young millennials.
More than 300 of America’s 9/11 babies never made it to their 19th birthday, according to a Thursday report in Politico.
Their dominant media are Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and iTunes podcasts, while many in older generations continue to post Facebook updates, read the paper, and watch the evening news.
They’re diverse. Gay marriage has been legal somewhere in the country for nearly half of their lives.
“We could be in a rough patch for a while, but in the end, collectively, we will figure it out and get back on track, because that’s what we’ve done,” said Ticonderoga, New York’s Kiiran W., one of the 9/11 babies interviewed by Politico. “After 9/11, it was a very tragic event — no one’s life has been the same since — but as a country, we grew from that and we’ve built from it.”