‘Empty-nest youths’ living alienated in Chinese cities - SupChina

‘Empty-nest youths’ living alienated in Chinese cities


A new report (in Chinese) by China National Radio reveals that China now has a massive population of more than 20 million “empty-nest youths” (空巢青年 kōng cháo qīngnián) aged 20 to 30, mostly residing in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. Originally coined to describe elderly people who live alone while their children are away, the term “empty nest” is now being applied to solitary young folks working in major cities who are away from their hometowns.

The report also suggests that this group of young empty-nesters are very likely to experience greater life pressure than their non-migrant peers, as living in major cities comes with a hefty price tag: A big chunk of their salaries is usually spent on housing and food, making their personal lives largely confined to their rented apartments. Many of them lack a sense of belonging, which sometimes leads them to overly rely on virtual communications through social networks.


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Jiayun Feng

Jiayun is a Chinese native and was born in Shanghai, where she spent her first 20 years and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Fudan University. Interested in writing for a global audience, she attended the NYU Graduate School of Journalism for its Global & Joint Program Studies, which allows her to pursue a journalistic career along with her interest in international relations. She has previously interned for Sixth Tone and Shanghai Daily.