Sociology Index


Neolocal Residence is part of the custom of a newly married couple setting up a new residence independent of the households of either partner's parents. Even in developing countries like India where joint family system was the norm in the recent past, neolocal residence is the new trend due to increasing globalization and urbanism. Patrilocal Residence designates or pertains to a pattern of marriage in which the couple settles in the husband's home or community. Matrilocality refers to Matrilocal Residence. Neolocal Residence and nuclear family domestic structures are found in societies where geographical mobility is important. Neolocal Residence is the residence pattern in which a married couple establishes a new residence independent of both their relatives.

Neolocal Residence is now common in North America and other industrialized nations in which the importance of kinship is minimized. Neolocal residence rules form the basis of most Western domestic structures. In Western societies, neolocal residence is consistent with the frequent moves necessitated by choices and changes within a supply and demand regulated labour market.

Neolocal residence was also prevalent in the hunting-gatherer society, where nomadic movements are intrinsic to the subsistence strategy. With the export of American culture through modern development, the neolocal residence pattern is becoming more widespread. Neolocal Residence rules form the basis of most Western domestic structures.

G. P. Murdock says that monogamy, poverty, and the nuclear family are factors that can actually encourage a shift towards neolocal residence. Murdock also says that factors affecting the emergence of neolocal residence also affect the emergence of the nuclear family. Bilateral nuclear families based on love marriages with neolocal residence are uniquely adapted to industrial societies.

Married women in modern times show the preference for independent, neolocal residence. There is a distinct break with the family of origin, and married women rarely lived with either parents. Upon marriage, each partner is expected to move out of his or her parents' household and establish a new neolocal residence, thus forming the core of an independent nuclear family.

The Emergence of Neolocal Residence. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 30:291-302. Reprinted in M. Ember and C. R. Ember, Marriage, Family, and Kinship, 1983.