A look inside 'empty-nest' youth lives in Beijing

A look inside 'empty-nest' youth lives in Beijing
PHOTO: AFP

"Empty-nest" youths are categorised as young, single individuals who live alone and usually work in cities.

As stated on the report, the young men account for 64 per cent of the population, nearly doubles the percentage of young women, and youths born in 1990s take up 61 per cent.

Below the stories illustrate some of the "empty-nest" lives in Beijing.


Lin has worked as a sales consultant since he moved to Beijing in 2013. The 23-year-old said he does not mind living on his own.

"My parents' quarrel so much I am used to being apart from them," he said.

"I used to live at the homes of my relatives' when I was in kindergarten, and I was influenced by my mother's sentimentality - I don't know how to relieve myself from stress or worries."

"I feel, however, better after living in Beijing alone. I won't call my parents until I need their help, and I feel I am old in heart since I have no youth vitality."

The young man said he preferred to talk with one or two friends rather than groups of people. Lin also likes to play games at internet bars and chat with his colleagues when he feels bored.

"I hope I have a busy, tiring day of work so I don't think about much when I return my rental room," he said.

"It's my mentality that needed a change," said Lin.


Chen came to earn a living in Beijing when he moved from Xiaogan city, in Central China's Hubei province, in 2007. Today, he rents a room in Chaoyang district, Beijing, and runs a one-floor hotel. Chen is also married, but is considered an "empty-nest" youth as his wife returned to their hometown in Hubei to look after their child.

"I am used to cooking dishes and having a sleep after having lunch, or walking in the park nearby when I don't sleep," he said.

"I think I will not feel lonely if I have a roommate to talk with, but, nowadays, I want to earn more money to buy a house in the county of my hometown. I want my children to study at a school in county, rather than at the village."


Song said she has worked as an English teacher in an English training institution, based in Beijing, for the past two years.

"Many people feel it's hard to live alone in Beijing, however, I feel it's ok," she said.

"I shop, climb mountains or do a thorough house cleaning session and watch TV in my leisure time; but, I certainly feel lonely when I return my rental room alone after having fun outside."

The 24-year-old added she missed her family when she looked at the brightly lit subway or buses from outside her window.


Sun moved to Beijing to study in 2009, and continued to work in the city after he graduated. He now lives at a single room apartment with a monthly rent of nearly 2,000 yuan (S$405).

"I feel it depends whether it's good or not to live alone," he said.

"I sometimes feel lonely since it's hard to find someone to talk with when I am down, and I am used to seeing doctors when I am sick."

"Even when I feel even lonely, when I left, when I return the room is still."

The young man said people earning livings in big cities, like Beijing, will undoubtedly experience a period of living alone, otherwise known as the "empty-nest" period, but will gradually find people to accompany them.


Tang, who was born in Southwest China's Sichuan province, chose to work in Beijing after returning from studying in South Korea.

"It's ok to live alone, though I will feel a bit lonely sometimes," she said.

The young woman said the empty-nest youth mainly reflects a psychological loneliness; however, added she had a "strong adaptive capacity to live alone in strange environment."

"I like sports and spending my leisure time listening to music, and watching films," Tang said.

"However, I feel it's tiring to make new friends, so I prefer to stay at home rather than socialise on the weekends."


Peng, who is originally from Taiwan, works in the film and television industry in Beijing. She graduated from the Tsinghua University and said she liked living in big cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai.

"I am concerned with safety when living alone, but I can ask for help from friends living nearby when I am sick or in trouble," she said.

Peng added she dreamed being a baker when she was a child, and since there is a restaurant near Peng's rental room, she often exchanges cooking experiences with the chefs' in-store.


Yi moved from Northeast China's Jilin province to work in Beijing in 2010, and now works at a new media company.

"I think it's good to live alone," he said.

"I am a man with a bit of idealism, and I haven't thought of marriage in recent years, because I am not financially or mentally prepared for marriage."

Yi added he would continue to work in Beijing as there are a lot of cultural resources for his job.


Zuo moved from Northwest China's Gansu province to Beijing in 2010, and now the 28-year-old is ready to start his own company.

"I will find something to do when I am alone, for example, I watch TV, read books and catch up with friends when I feel bored or lonely," he said.

"Though I live alone, I am outgoing and participate in a business-related job, which make me chat with people often."


Yang moved from Central China's Henan province to Beijing six years ago. Now the 28-year-old engages in internet financial work, and spends nearly 1,000 yuan each month renting a single room.

"Many of my friends have left Beijing to work in other cities, and I think it's inevitable for many people, like me, to experience an 'empty-nest' youth period," he said.

"Living alone is boring other than lonely. Women living alone may have more lonely feelings than men, so it's better to make some friends and cultivate some hobbies."

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