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Postmarital Residence Patterns: Where do you and your partner live after marriage?

Bridge and groom on the beach
In a previous blog post, I talked about the different ways other cultures view marriage. In another post, I talked about the functions of marriage. In this post, I’d like to talk about what happens after marriage, specifically where a couple lives after they have been married.
In the United States, most couples move into a new apartment or house when they get married. But not all cultures do this. For example, couples may move into an existing household, instead of living on their own. Where a couple lives after marriage is called a postmarital residence pattern.
There are many types of postmarital residence patterns. Exactly how many options there are depends on how you define and categorize them, but I’ll talk about five options here.
Postmarital Residence Patterns. Image of a man and woman after getting married, walking down steps while confetti is thrown.
First, couples can live with or near the husband’s parents. This is called patrilocal residence. Second, couples can live with or near the wife’s parents. This is called matrilocal residence. Third, couples can choose to live either with the wife’s family or the husband’s family. This is called ambilocal residence. Fourth, the couples can move between the households of both the wife’s family and the husband’s family. This is called bilocal residence. And finally, couples can create their own household (as commonly done in the United States). This is called neolocal residence.
Patrilocal residence is the most common patrilocal residence pattern in the world, found in about 70% of all cultures. The second most common postmarital residence pattern is matrilocal, which makes up about 13% of all cultures. All of the other residence patterns make up the remaining percentage.
When someone in YOUR culture gets married, where are they expected to live? What is the postmarital residence pattern in YOUR culture?

Learn More

Want to learn more about postmarital residence patterns? Check out this page of Palomar College’s website.
Thanks for reading!