Days away from the Lunar New Year, Zhong Xian is reluctant to go hometown to visit her parents.
Zhong, 33, is a business manager at a state bank in Nanning, capital city of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The single woman is planning to go to Phuket in Thailand for the holiday instead.
"Every Spring Festival when I return home, my parents urge me to get married," Zhong said straightforwardly. "I am so fed up."
Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Feb. 5 this year. From Jan. 21 to March 1, nearly 3 billion trips are to be made via China's transport systems, as people set off for family gatherings or tours.
But put off by a host of factors such as family and societal pressure, an increasing number of Chinese decide not to make the homecoming. They either choose to stay in places where they work or simply go for travel.
In a poll posted Monday by Life Times on microblogging platform Sina Weibo, many of the so-called "home-fear tribe" said that being asked about salary and pushed to go on blind dates are among the reasons that hold them back from returning home.
In Wuzhou city of Guangxi, Zhong's hometown, locals have the New Year tradition of decorating their homes with flowers and potted plants that are deemed auspicious.
"In the past, whenever I went home, I would see bundles of peach flowers," Zhong said. "In traditional culture, peach flowers mean good relationship and marriage, and I certainly know what my parents are trying to indicate with the flowers."
Zhong said however beautiful the flowers were, she always felt stressful because that meant her parents were worried about her still being single.
"Relatives would also urge me to get married as well, which intensifies the pressure," Zhong said. "That's why I don't want to go home."
In the eastern city of Xiamen, migrant worker Yang was also fretting over the idea of homecoming. He has decided not to go home this year because he worries about big expenses.
"I would have to spend at least 5,000 yuan (745 U.S. dollars) in New Year gift money," Yang, who comes from Jiangxi Province, told the Xunyang Evening News. "And that doesn't even include my travel expenses."
In addition, Yang worried that relatives might ask how much he earns.
"People know that I work in a big city like Xiamen, so they think I make big bucks here," Yang said. "They would have high expectations for me, which puts pressure on me."
While many are scared to return home for the Spring Festival, their parents are offering some relief.
"My daughter doesn't like coming home in recent years," said Zhong Xian's mother Wang Liping. "I can understand that because we always asked if she has a boyfriend and when she will get married."
Wang said she knows about her daughter's anxiety, and that the most important thing is her daughter's happiness.
Huang Nanjin, a professor with Guangxi University, said that behind the "home-fear tribe" is dissolving traditional values.
"Quick communication via the Internet has lowered young people's attachment to families and the environment where they grew up," Huang said. "For many young people, returning home does not matter as much anymore."
"Home is still home," Wang Liping said. "What matters most is the reunion of the family."