Members of Generation Z are much more likely to embrace civil disobedience than older adults, with research suggesting young people value liberties more than other generations.

A report by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) highlights the political implications of the changing profile of the electorate, with Gen Z expected to constitute a quarter of the electorate by 2030.

Analysis of responses to NatCen’s most recent British Social Attitudes survey showed just 16% of voting-age members of Gen Z, which overall includes people born between 1997 and 2012, believe the law should always be obeyed even if that law is considered to be wrong.

This compares to 32% of all adults who feel the same, representing one of the starkest inter-generational variations found by the research.

In addition, the survey found 43% of Gen Z agree that it is important citizens engage in civil disobedience when they oppose government actions, compared to 33% or less for all generations older than millennials born between 1981 and 1996.

Meanwhile, 57% of Gen Z believe that always obeying the law is an important part of being a good citizen, compared to at least 78% for all other generations.

Members of Gen Z  are also far less likely to believe that young people do not have enough respect for traditional British values, with 31% holding this view compared to 52% of adults overall.

Gen Z is also an outlier on censorship, with one in four believing restrictions on films and magazines are required to uphold moral standards compared to two in five adults in general.

However, Gen Z is closely aligned with other adults on the death penalty, with 38% and 41% respectively believing it is the most appropriate sentence for some crimes.

The report highlighted views on the sale of cannabis as providing a useful case study of how Gen Z’s views on law and order are shaped by liberal social attitudes.

Gen Z is strongly supportive of legalising the sale of cannabis (80%), while Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are split on the issue (52%).

The report also provides an insight into attitudes to other high-profile issues which may influence voting behaviour.

Gen Z is the only generation with a majority (59%) who back social care being entirely paid for by the government.

The report also said Gen Z “faces the biggest gap of any generation between housing aspiration and reality”, but most still want to buy their own home.

A majority of 81% of Gen Z would choose to buy if they could afford to, but 78% expect house prices to rise further over the next decade.

Therefore, most anticipate living with their parents or renting accommodation for an extended period.

Lovisa Moller, director of analysis at NatCen and co-author of Society Watch 2024, said: “A generational perspective helps explain how Britain is (or is not) changing.

“By looking at birth cohorts, we can help explain views on the relative importance of social order and individual freedom, for example. If present trends persist, Gen Z will be a generation that value personal freedoms and civil liberties more than any other current generation.

“The differences discussed in this report often come down to a few percentage points. We’re interested in these, objectively quite small, differences. That’s because when it comes to politics, percentage points matter.

“As Gen Z are expected to make up one quarter of the electorate by 2030, it is vital to understand their views on pressing policy issues.”

The survey included 5,578 interviews with a representative, random sample of adults in Britain and was conducted between September 12 and October 31 last year.