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Originally posted in The Australian
THE first time I heard the term DINK, meaning "double income, no kids", was in the early 1980s.
It applied to baby-boomers born in the late 1940s to early 1950s who were living together in their late 20s and early 30s and who had purposefully postponed children.
Add to this the then relatively new idea of women remaining in the workforce and the consumer impact of the DINK household was immediately apparent. DINKs first surfaced in the inner city; they gentrified terrace houses in places such as Sydney's Paddington and Melbourne's Carlton.
They were more often university-educated and they lived lifestyles of conspicuous consumption: fashionable clothing, travel, restaurants and cars that were perhaps considered "above the station" of people in their 30s.
All of this was made possible, of course, by the radical notion of a household comprised of two incomes and no children.
Today, the term DINK has morphed - we speak of yuppies (young urban professionals) and hipsters, both of which are just as likely to reflect a set of behaviours as a demographic sub-culture.
However, over 30 years of knowing the term and the concept of DINK and its derivatives, I have never seen this group measured and mapped.
Or at least not until now.
How big is the Australian DINK population and where do they live?
I commissioned a special data extraction from the 2011 census to answer this question. I defined a DINK as a household of two people in a relationship aged 20-49 who have no children and who jointly earned more than $104,000 a year at the time of the census. In common parlance, these are young, rich, childless, couple-only households.
There were 303,000 DINK households in Australia in 2011, implying a DINK population of 606,000, which is 7 per cent of all people aged 20-49.
The reason DINKs have always excited the business community is because of their spending power: double-income no-kid households, inclusive of same-sex couples, are likely to spend more than average on housing, technology, travel, restaurants, clothing, probably alcohol (such as wine, spirits and boutique beers) and (European) cars than households dominated by mum, dad and the kids.
Typically, DINK households comprise 4 per cent of all households, but in the Melbourne suburb of Cremorne, this proportion is 19 per cent. If there is a single DINK hotspot in Australia, then Cremorne is it. Cremorne is located within 3km of the Melbourne CBD and has what might be described as a Manhattanesque streetscape.
This suburb does not have the kind of local parkland amenity that would appeal to households with children.
The DINK heartland in Sydney centres on Erskineville, where this group comprises 18 per cent of all households. In both cities, DINKs cluster in the downright child-unfriendly suburbs of the inner city: places such as Alexandria, Camperdown and Rozelle in Sydney and Docklands, East Melbourne and Burnley in Melbourne.
Continued...The new DINK life form
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