Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Jennifer Patico

Second Advisor

Emanuela Guano

Third Advisor

Cassandra White

Abstract

This thesis explores how Dual Income No Kids (DINK) couples within the United States approach family planning. The study is based on ethnographic work I carried out over the course of 2011, including a nationwide survey and in-depth interviews I conducted in Atlanta, Georgia, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Denver Colorado. Specifically, I was interested in investigating why these couples were “delaying” having children based on the national average. While current literature points to changes in education, healthcare, and societal values as being the catalyst for the DINK movement, I wanted to understand Americans’ childbearing decisions on a more personal level. Through this project I looked at how both the social goals (parent and peer role models) and personal pressures (prioritization of education, career and marital partnership) influence an individual’s decision about whether and when to have children. As such, I also explore themes of identity, life narrative, and choice in regards to family planning. Whereas the popular stereotype of DINK suggests that these couples are uninterested in family or “family values”, my research shows that many couples actually choose to be DINK for a time because they are actively pursuing and preparing for parenthood.

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