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About GenForward

GenForward at the University of Chicago

The GenForward Survey is the first of its kind—a nationally representative survey that pays special attention to how race and ethnicity shape how young adults, both Millennials and Gen Z-ers, experience and think about the world.


For over 15 years, the Black Youth Project (BYP), housed at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the University of Chicago, has dedicated its work to understanding the challenges and opportunities faced by young people of color in the contemporary United States.

We are committed to disaggregating the larger category often labeled Millennials because our previous research has shown important differences in lived experiences and political attitudes among young adults of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. We continue this mission with our GenForward surveys. The report reflects the Black Youth Project’s sustained commitment to documenting and amplifying knowledgevoice, and action among young people, particularly young people of color.


Beyond voting, the most consistent method for monitoring the pulse of the public is the use of surveys and polling. The reporting of statistics on what percentage of Americans support or oppose policies works to insert the voice of the public into public policy discussions. Unfortunately, because of cost and interest, the voices of young Americans, especially young Americans of color, are routinely absent in public opinion polls. For example, while much of the news over the past year has focused on negative interactions between the police and young Black Americans, few news outlets have taken the initiative to survey young people, especially Black and Latino young people, exploring their political attitudes on issues such as policing and violence. The absence of polling among these constituencies is a signal that we do not take seriously their standing as young citizens and critical members of our political community.


The GenForward Survey project is housed at the University of Chicago. Interviews for the survey are conducted with a representative sample from GenForward®, a nationally representative survey panel of adults ages 18-34, funded by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations.

The GenForward survey was built from two sample sources: Fifty-four percent of the completed interviews are sourced from NORC’s AmeriSpeak® Panel. AmeriSpeak is a probability based panel that also uses address-based sample but sourced from the NORC National Frame with enhanced sample coverage. During the initial recruitment phase of the AmeriSpeak panel, randomly selected U.S. households were sampled with a known, non-zero probability of selection and then contacted by U.S. mail, email, telephone, and field interviewers (face-to-face). Forty-six percent of the completed interviews are sourced from the Black Youth Project (BYP) panel of young adults recruited by NORC. The BYP sample is from a probability-based household panel that uses an address-based sample from a registered voter database of the entire U.S. Households were selected using stratified random sampling to support over-sampling of households with African Americans, Latino/as, and Asian Americans ages 18-36. NORC contacted sampled households by U.S. mail and by telephone, inviting them to register and participate in public opinion surveys twice a month. Panelists on both the BYP and AmeriSpeak panels are invited to register for the panel via the web or by telephone to participate in public opinion surveys.