What Is The DINK Lifestyle And Why Is It On The Rise?

Once upon a time, the standard goal was that you fell in love, got married, then had a couple of kids because you wanted mini versions of yourself to carry on your legacy or because that's what everyone else was doing, so why not? But while that was the thing, per se, for decades and decades, if not centuries, the urge to have kids is decreasing.


According to a 2021 Pew Research Center poll, 44% of people aged 18 to 49 say it's "not too likely" or "not all likely" that they will have kids someday. This number is up from 37% in 2018. Not only are people proclaiming they don't want to be parents, but 2018 saw the biggest decline in birth rates in 32 years, as well as a record low of total fertility rates, per CNN.

Reasons for the decline vary from the expenses involved in having children to the fact people are finding fulfillment in other things not associated with parenthood.

"[It's] about women having access to education and employment opportunities," associate professor of sociology at Northwestern University Christine Percheski tells Insider. "It's about the rise in individualism. It's about the rise in women's autonomy and a change in values."


But no matter the reason why a couple might opt out of having kids, this trend has given rise to DINKs.

What is a DINK?

DINK is an acronym for "dual income, no kids," according to Yahoo! Finance. This is where a couple, married or not, lives together, has two paying jobs, prefers to live life without children and, in many cases, has no plans to have children. The DINK lifestyle appeals to those who want a life that's fully their own, financially and otherwise.


According to the Washington Post, as of October 2022, the cost of raising a child in the United States is, bare minimum, $17,000 a year. This amount for 18 years — excluding wallet-breaking things like college tuition — is about $310,605.

Since kids come with such a hefty price tag, as well as the need for long-term commitment, it makes sense that couples are focusing on themselves and living their life to the fullest on their terms. There's also the state of the world at the moment that's contributing to this decline.

"With so much going wrong in the world, a patient who opts not to have children is considering the current news and future outcomes for the world," behavioral health specialist Larry Ford, DBH, LBHP, BC, tells Katie Couric. "People in general, and particularly individuals who suffer from behavioral health issues may feel a lack of control over what is happening in their community, country, and world — and not having children is an intentional decision in which control is achieved."


According to the United Nations, the world population could go from 8 billion to 8.5 billion by 2030. By 2050, that number is likely to get dangerously close to 10 billion and within the next 20 to 30 years, some countries may become uninhabitable because of climate change (via Your Weather). 

What are the benefits of DINK?

Well, a better question might be what aren't the benefits of DINK? If one chooses to not have kids and knows they won't regret it later, there doesn't seem to be any cons to the lifestyle.

"With my clients, being DINKs means they have more options," Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, and founder of Childfree Wealth tells PopSugar. "It is common to see clients take turns supporting each other and even taking sabbaticals to find themselves. Goals are flexible in DINK couples, and it is not surprising to hear them change, sometimes dramatically, even across one year."


The world is changing and what makes a family certainly doesn't look like what it used to, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. While declining birth rates will lead to less people in the workforce and a population that is primarily made of older people, DINKs aren't thinking about that. DINKs are thinking about themselves and what's right for them. It's no one's obligation to keep the birth rate up or increase it, and DINKs realize that and are living their best lives in spite of what society says they should do.