Sociology Index


Empty nest syndrome is what the parents go through when the last child is about to leave their home. Parents who have seen their children mature and establish residences of their own are called empty nesters. Sociologists have noted a number of changes related to empty nesters stage of the family life cycle. In the United States and some other advanced country cultures, empty nesters syndrome was common. Movement to smaller homes can be responsible for the phenomenon of increasing number of empty nesters. Research has proved that parents with children are happier than those without any kids only when they become empty-nesters. The total number of Empty Nesters in both Europe and the US is forecasted to grow.

What is empty nest syndrome? Empty nest syndrome is that feeling of emptiness, anxiety and loss that fills you after your children leave your home and make their way out in the world, according to family therapist Paul Hokemeyer. What is the effect of empty nest syndrome?

Why are parents happy as empty-nesters? Led by Christoph Becker at Heidelberg University in Germany, researchers found that parents were happier, but only after their children had moved out. These empty-nesters experienced less symptoms of depression and greater joy in life. Becker told New Scientist it could be that children now lend their parents much needed support.


But now the new reality of a cluttered nest or "crowded nest", is 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. Women are returning to paid work forcing the creation of empty nests. Changes in attitudes and changes in relations to children are pushing parents to become empty nesters.

With globalization the world will see a greater number of empty nesters. Even in a country like India where joint family has been the norm, the number of empty nesters has increased dramatically. By 2009 there were 181 million consumers in Europe and the US classified as Empty Nesters. One of the major changes which occurs to most Empty Nesters is the increase in socializing.

Empty Nesters engage in 51 million Entertaining At-home occasions per year in Europe and 26 million per year in the US. This high level of socializing leads to new consumer culture. Age affects Empty Nesters' habits and their needs, motivations and attitudes change with time. Empty Nesters have developed new purchasing habits as they adjust to their new freedom. Young-at-heart empty nesters are increasingly looking to travel. Communicating with Empty Nesters is important since they resent being ignored by marketers who focus on younger consumers. When communicating with Empty Nesters, companies need to avoid being patronizing and applying common stereotype.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Empty Nesters: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving When the Kids Leave Home – October 7, 2008. by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Carol McAdoo Rehme, Patricia Cena Evans.
Empty Nesters... You have the whole nest to yourself... and that’s not bad! You’ll appreciate these 101 stories about surviving and thriving when the kids leave home. This terrific book for empty nesters or soon-to-be empty nesters contains 101 stories written by parents who have been there already and share their experiences.