What is a DINK? How childless couples sparked a debate on the internet

The DINK (double income, no kids) lifestyle has gained popularity among young couples choosing not to have children

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Young couples popularizing the DINK (dual income, no kids) lifestyle on TikTok have sparked a backlash from social media users questioning why anyone would opt to remain childless.

Two recent videos, in particular, came under attack after they were reposted to X. Even Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, weighed in, calling the couples’ lifestyle “messed up.”

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“There is an awful morality to those who deliberately have no kids: they are effectively demanding that other people’s kids take care of them in their old age. That’s messed up,” Musk wrote in a comment on X, under a video originally posted by a TikTok financial influencer named John Eringman.

In the video, which has more than two million views on TikTok, Eringman and his partner declare themselves DINKs and boast of all the hobbies and perks that come with their decision to maintain an infant-free lifestyle.

“We’re DINKs. We’re already planning our European vacation next year. We’re DINKs. We get a full eight hours of sleep and sometimes more,” the couple says.

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Getting into “snobby hobbies” like golfing and skiing, going to Florida on a whim, getting desserts and appetizers and buying expensive lattes are among the other benefits they listed.

The TikTok video was reposted to X with the comment: “There are going to be a lot of ‘DINKs’ in the future in their 50s to 80s that are going to be regretting this strategy.” Musk weighed in below the post.

It’s not the first time Musk had expressed his concerns about declining birth rates. Musk is the father of 10 known children and, after it was revealed that he had welcomed twins with a Neuralink executive, he wrote on X that he was just trying to save the planet.

“Doing my best to help the underpopulation crisis. A collapsing birth rate is the biggest danger civilization faces by far,” he wrote in July 2022.

The DINK acronym was first coined in 1987 in the Los Angeles Times, but it has recently surged in popularity, with millennial and Gen Z couples posting videos of their luxurious, child-free lifestyles on social media.

Another video that sparked the most recent backlash was posted to TikTok by couple Lilly Anne and Evan Hall, who are both 21 and opting to remain childless.

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Their video, which has more than 4 million views on TikTok, notes their decision to spend their money on going out to eat every night and buying their favourite snacks at Costco. In addition to other perks, such as going to football games and playing golf whenever they want, the couple also says they don’t need financial help, or babysitters.

“We’re DINKs. We’re going to get asked at every family event what we’re doing with our life,” the video concludes.

The video was harshly criticized when it was reposted on X.

One user called the couple “genetic dead ends.”

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Still, some social media users came to the couple’s defence.

Literally nothing wrong with not wanting to have kids, why are so many of y’all mad?,” one user wrote. 

The couple seemed to take the criticism in stride, posting a follow-up video of the pair standing in their kitchen with the caption: “Evan and I watching you guys blow up my comment section over some lighthearted joke.” In another video, Lily Anne clarifies that she never said kids are a “disgrace to this planet” or that she will “never have any.”

Couples opting for this lifestyle generally have disposable income that they’re choosing to spend on themselves.

In a report by Business Insider, data showed that millennial women don’t think the cost of having children is worth it, considering the state of the economy.

A study by the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances found that the median net worth of a couple with no children is US$250,600, which is significantly higher than every other type of family structure the survey tracks.

Several other related acronyms have also been coined, including DINKWADs (double-income, no kids with a dog), DINKY (double-income, no kids yet), and DINKWAHs (double-income, no kids with a house).

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While some couples and single individuals see the benefits of living a childless lifestyle, a personal finance expert told the Daily Mail that it doesn’t always end up paying off in the long run.

“Of course there’s an immediate financial benefit to not having kids. But down the line, it’s important to think about later life care and who’s going to look after you when you’re older,” Dr. Roger Gewolb said.

“It’d be interesting to see what these DINKs think of their decision in 10 to 12 years.”

Gewolb explained that couples opting out of having children should make sure they’re doing it for the right reasons.

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