Neolocal residence

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Neolocal residence is a type of post-marital residence in which a newly married couple resides separately from both the husband's natal household and the wife's natal household. Neolocal residence forms the basis of most developed nations, especially in the West, and is also found among some nomadic communities.

Household group of one or more people living in the same dwelling and sharing meals or living accommodation; may consist of a single family or other grouping of people

A household consists of one people who live in the same dwelling and share meals. It may also consist of a single family or another group of people. A dwelling is considered to contain multiple households if meals or living spaces are not shared. The household is the basic unit of analysis in many social, microeconomic and government models, and is important to economics and inheritance.

Western world Countries that identify themselves with an originally European shared culture

The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and states, depending on the context, most often including at least parts of Europe, Australasia, and the Americas. There are many accepted definitions, all closely interrelated. The Western world is also known as the Occident, in contrast to the Orient, or Eastern world. It is often correlated with the Northern half of the North-south divide.


Upon marriage, each partner is expected to move out of his or her parents' household and establish a new residence, thus forming the core of an independent nuclear family. Neolocal residence involves the creation of a new household where a child marries or even when he or she reaches adulthood and becomes socially and economically active. Neolocal residence and nuclear family domestic structures are found in societies where geographical mobility is important. In Western societies, they are consistent with the frequent moves that necessary due to choices and changes within a supply- and demand-regulated labor market. They are also prevalent in hunting and gathering economies, where nomadic movements are intrinsic to the subsistence strategy. [1]

Marriage Social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws. The definition of marriage varies around the world, not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion. Over time, it has expanded and also constricted who and what is encompassed. Typically, it is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that "Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses."

A nuclear family, elementary family or conjugal family is a family group consisting of two parents and their children. It is in contrast to a single-parent family, the larger extended family, and a family with more than two parents. Nuclear families typically center on a married couple; the nuclear family may have any number of children. There are differences in definition among observers; some definitions allow only biological children that are full-blood siblings, but others allow for a stepparent and any mix of dependent children including stepchildren and adopted children.

A residence is an establishment where it was originally or currently being used by a host as their main place of dwelling or home. Architecturally, a residence is typically a house, mansion, cottage or grand castles and palaces. A residence is offered to travelers as temporary lodgings where they can rent a room. The rooms are generally furnished in the style which complements the architecture type of the building. This boutique type of accommodation has a nice homely feel where the traveler is the 'house-guest'. Hotels, especially the extended stay chains, commonly function as residences for many guests.

In western countries, Employment in large corporations or the military often calls for frequent relocations, making it nearly impossible for extended families to remain together hence creating new generation of families. [2]


In neolocal residence, newly formed couples form their own separate household units, and create what is considered a nuclear family. This contrasts with other forms of post-marital residence, such as patrilocal residence and matrilocal residence, in which the couple resides with or near the husband's family (patrilocal residence) or the wife's family (matrilocal residence).

In social anthropology, patrilocal residence or patrilocality, also known as virilocal residence or virilocality, are terms referring to the social system in which a married couple resides with or near the husband's parents. The concept of location may extend to a larger area such as a village, town or clan territory. The practice has been found in around 70 percent of the world's cultures that have been described ethnographically. Evidence has also been found among Neanderthal remains in Spain and ancient hominid archaeology in Africa.

In social anthropology, matrilocal residence or matrilocality is the societal system in which a married couple resides with or near the wife's parents. Thus, the female offspring of a mother remain living in the mother's house, thereby forming large clan-families, typically consisting of three or four generations living in the same place.

Neolocality first appeared in Northwestern Europe. [3] It was from there brought to British colonies in the Americas. As American colonists expanded westward, this form of residence remained. [3] Although some believe neolocal residence came as a result of industrialization, there is evidence of neolocality in England from before industrialization. [3] Whatever the relationship between neolocality and economic development is, what is clear is that the two seem to coincide. Countries that experience economic development tend to also experience declines in multi-generational households, and increases in nuclear, neolocal forms of residence. [4] A reason often cited for the high coincidence of neolocality in developed countries is the higher mobility of nuclear families, which becomes more important in modern economies. [5] The decline of dependency on agricultural subsistence, which results in a weakening of extended family ties, is seen as another cause of nuclear, neolocal household creation. [4] A particular case study of the relationship between economic development and neolocal residence patterns is the community of Navajo Mountain, which showed a positive correlation between the two. [6]

Northwestern Europe Geographical region

Northwestern Europe, or Northwest Europe, is a loosely defined region of Europe, overlapping northern and western Europe. The region can be defined both geographically and ethnographically.

Currently, neolocal residence is more commonly found in the west, and is becoming more common in countries that have experienced economic development, like Japan. [4]

Japan Island country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

See also

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  1. Schwimmer, Brian. "Neolocal Residence". Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  2. "Sex and Marriage: Residence Rules". Retrieved 2017-04-05.
  3. 1 2 3 Fawver, Kated (25 Sep 2012). "Neolocality and household structure in Early America". The History of the Family. 17: 407–433. doi:10.1080/1081602x.2012.713556 via Auraria Library.
  4. 1 2 3 Ruggles, Steven (2009). "Reconsidering the Northwest European Family System: Living Arrangements of the Aged in Comparative Historical Perspective". Population and Development Review. 35: 249–273. doi:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2009.00275.x.
  5. Gordon, Daniel N. (1970). "Societal Complexity and Kinship: Family Organization or Rules of Residence?". The Pacific Sociological Review. 13: 252–262. doi:10.2307/1388456.
  6. Chisholm, James S. (Autumn 1986). "Social and Economic Change among the Navajo: Residence Patterns and the Pickup Truck". Journal of Anthropological Research. 42: 289–298. doi:10.1086/jar.42.3.3630035.