Sociology Index

CLUTTERED NEST - crowded nest

Cluttered nest is a recent term capturing the phenomenon of young adults returning to live with their parents or choosing to remain at home past the customary age for leaving home. This practice is connected to deterioration of employment opportunities for young adults. Empty nesters was common. But now it is a new reality of a "cluttered nest" or "crowded nest".

Parents who have seen their children mature and establish residences of their own are called empty nesters. The term "Crowded nest" (cluttered nest) was popularized by Kathleen Shaputi in her book "The Crowded Nest Syndrome : Surviving the Return of Adult Children".

"The Cluttered Nest: The Living Arrangements of Young Canadian Adults" Monica Boyd and Edward T. Pryor - Canadian Journal of Sociology.

Crowded-nest (cluttered nest) Couples - When returning offspring turn the empty nest into a crowded one, middle-aged couples don't seem to mind. - By: Alyssa Rappaport - Psychology Today Magazine, Mar/Apr 1996, - Nearly one in three unmarried adults lives with a parent nowadays. But when returning offspring turn the empty nest into a crowded one, middle-aged couples don't seem to mind.

In fact, crowded-nest (cluttered nest) couples actually enjoy high marital and life satisfaction, reports Margaret O'Kane Brunhofer, Ph.D., of Wayne State University. Surveying 30 such couples, she found that most adapted fine to their recently extended family. Lack of privacy was rarely a problem. And couples who were less happy about their new living arrangements were likely having marital problems even before their child returned to the fold. If you're looking for a cliche to describe crowded-nest or cluttered nest families, forget "three's a crowd." Try "the more the merrier."

From: "The Crowded Nest (Cluttered Nest): Young Adults at Home"
by Monica Boyd and Doug Norris
Since 1981, the percentage of young adults in their twenties and early thirties living in the parental home has been increasing. In 1996, 23% of young women aged 0 to 34 lived at home, up from 16% in 1981. Over the same period, the percentage of young men the same age residing in the parental home rose to 33% from 26%. Most of the increase took place from 1981 to 1986 and from 1991 to 1996, both periods of economic recession and slow recovery.

The growing propensity to live at home was common to both unmarried and married young adults. In 1996, nearly half (47%) of unmarried women aged 20 to 34 lived with parents, up from 44% in 1981. More than half of young unmarried men also resided in the parental home, about the same as in 1981. Despite a brief decline from 1986 to 1991, by 1996, the percentages of young unmarried adults living with their parents were the highest in 15 years.
In Canada and other industrial countries, young couples are usually expected to establish residences separate from those of their parents; as a result, not many young adults in common-law or legal marriages reside with their parents.
Nevertheless, in 1996 a higher percentage of young married adults (including common-law) were living in the parental home than in 1981. Unlike their unmarried counterparts, the proportion of married young adults living with their parents has risen steadily over the past 15 years.