‘Empty-nest youths’ living alienated in Chinese cities

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for April 10, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Anti-corruption reality TV."


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.