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Keywords:

  • adulthood transition;
  • Chinese family;
  • familism;
  • leaving parental home

Leaving the parental home is increasingly treated as an essential stepping-stone toward adulthood in the modern world. The authors argue that this is a cultural process regulated by social norms and institutional settings that vary from place to place. Hong Kong provides an excellent scenario in which Chinese traditions coexist with rapid economic development. Rather than looking at leaving the parental home as a developmental process, Chinese tradition tends to link it with filial obligations and gender status. On the basis of life history data collected in Hong Kong, the authors establish that leaving home has neither gained substantial popularity nor become a unique life stage among Chinese; it continues to be closely associated with the marriage transition and practical considerations such as housing, childcare needs, and the availability of elderly care.