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DINKWAD Lifestyle, the New American Dream

The DINKWAD trend – double income, no kids, with a dog – has been taking over TikTok and social media. Credit: Kristoffer Trolle / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0

The DINKWAD (double income, no kids, with a dog) lifestyle trend could be the new “American Dream” for Millenials and Gen Z. So-called DINKWADs have become the latest sensation on TikTok and other social media apps.

Acronyms for other variations of the lifestyle are also becoming ingrained in the internet and popular culture. A DINK refers to a couple with a double income and no kids, whereas a SINK refers to a single income, no kids.

Those who have embraced the DINKWAD, DINK, or SINK lifestyles commonly say that they are drawn to a way of life free from the responsibilities of parenting and financial stress.

TikTok and social media

The DINKWAD lifestyle is one of the latest trends to take over TikTok and other social media and video-sharing platforms. Many couples who plan never to have children have taken to social media to share snippets of their lives in short video clips.

One of the trending formats on TikTok will involve a montage of a couple’s life played together with the audio: “I just learned the phrase DINK, which means double income, no kids, and I was like, that sounds pretty lit. And then I heard the phrase DINKWAD, which is double income, no kids, with a dog. Bro, sign me up.”

Many of the viral video clips feature couples enjoying activities like hiking, shopping, and traveling together with their dogs. The DINKWAD and DINK hashtags on TikTok appear to be particularly popular with gay, lesbian, and LGBTQ community members on the platform.

The DINKWAD lifestyle

“Ideas spread rapidly on social media. There’s an increasing acceptability of not having children; there’s a decreasing stigma around not having children,” Pamela Aronson, a professor of sociology and an affiliate of women’s and gender studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, said to Insider.

The light-hearted social media trend may be indicative of broader social and economic trends at play in the United States. According to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics in January this year, “American women are having fewer babies, and they’re having them later in life.”

Several factors contribute to demographic changes. Women, in particular, may increasingly be putting off or choosing not to have children due to increased participation in higher education and the workforce, financial concerns, changing familial values, relationship instability, and any other combination of factors.

The demographic changes, perhaps exemplified by social media trends like the DINKWAD phenomenon also point to the possible changes in the ideas and values held by large segments of the population.

In previous decades, the American Dream stereotypically consisted of a happily married couple, two or more children, a pet dog, a suburban house, one or two cars, and a yard with a white picket fence around it.

But maybe now this ideal has changed and the nuclear family is no longer attractive or feasible for young Americans. Many instead aspire to financial freedom, widespread travel, and a life unencumbered by familial responsibilities. The DINKWAD trend is a window into this newer version of the American Dream.

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