Young couples opting out of parenthood are taking to the social media giant TikTok to celebrate the joys of child-free living.
The term “DINK,” meaning “dual income, no kids,” refers to married couples or partners in a committed relationship who remain childless by choice for reasons like lifestyle preferences, personal freedom and financial savings.
The acronym has gone viral over the past month as millennial and Gen Z couples flood the social media platform with TikToks highlighting the financial benefits of not having kids, such as midday Costco runs, freedom to travel, spontaneous nights out, extra sleep and more disposable income.
In one viral video, a couple goes back and forth discussing the virtues of being DINKs, and some of the ensuing judgment they get as well.
“We’re DINKs. Of course we’re going to go out to eat every night after work,” the man says, also saying he’s going to go to every football game and play 18 holes of golf whenever he wants.
“We’re DINKs. We have disposable income to spend on whatever we would like and don’t have to spend on a kid,” the woman says, also adding they’ll be asked daily when they plan on having children.
The Los Angeles Times first coined the term in 1987 but it was popularized in recent years due to the rising number of Americans opposing parenthood.
In 2020, the U.S. hit a 40-year-low in births, with 3.6 million babies born. As of 2022, 43% of households were childless, a 7% increase from 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
A 2021 Pew Research study found 44% of non-parents ages 18 to 49 said it’s not too likely or not likely at all they’ll ever have kids. Of those unlikely to have kids, 56% said the reason was “they just don’t want to,” 17% cited financial reasons and 15% said it was due to not having a partner.
Videos tagged #dink, #dinks and #dinklife have over 425 million views across the video sharing app.
Not all DINKs are created equal according to people on TikTok. There are also “DINKWADs” – double income, with no kids, with a dog; “SINKs” – single income, no kids, and “DINKWAHs” – double income, no kids, with a house.
“We’re DINKs, we get into snobby hobbies like skiing and golfing,” personal finance guru John Eringman said in a viral TikTok posted last week. His partner says, “We can go to Florida on a whim… We get a full eight hours of sleep, and sometimes more.”
They also joke they don’t need kids as an excuse to leave a party, “we just leave!”
Not everyone is on-board with this trending lifestyle choice, however, as videos posted on DINK accounts are being met with equal amounts of criticism and praise in the comments.
“Sounds like they’re tryna convince themselves,” one commenter posted on a TikTok of one DINK couple. Others have said it suggests a vapid, materialistic existence.
Another famous critic also recently got in on the action: X owner Elon Musk.
“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,” he wrote. “That’s messed up.”
These TikTokers know they touch a nerve at times with their videos and have sometimes posted videos addressing some of the sharpest comments they’ve gotten.