Sydney, Are We Swapping Babies For Dogs?

Soaring numbers of dog owners

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As fertility rates in Sydney continue to decrease and dog ownership soars, it seems like more people are becoming DINKWADs.  

What is DINKWAD? Well, it refers to “Double income, no kids, with a dog”.  

According to a survey by Budget Direct, Australia, the United States, and the UK are all dog-people countries, with Australians spending $21.9 billion on their fur babies each year.  

So does Sydney have a baby problem? And why are people choosing to raise a pup, instead of a kid?  

Click the link below to listen the full episode:

In today’s episode of THIS ARVO IN SYDNEY, our LiSTNR journalist Kimberley Braddish joins the host Sacha Barbour Gatt, to discuss the decreasing fertility rate in Sydney amid the cost of living crisis, the impact of the previous pandemic dog boom, and the reason why people are swapping babies for dogs?  

Braddish said that in Sydney, there had been a 27% jump in the number of dogs as pets in the last three years.  

“A big part of that was thanks to the COVID pet boom, but that’s stabilised now. And if you look at the national figures, almost half of all households have a pooch. We can compare that to the same survey conducted back in 2013. So back then, there were 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia. Now we have 6.4 million,” she said.  

Braddish said the fertility rate in Sydney was “so low”, at half the level needed for the population to replace itself from one generation to the next.  

“A recent report has guessed at why we’re seeing fertility rates dipping, cost of living and climate change come up as some of the main factors,” she explained. 

However, Braddish said there was no direct evidence to prove the link between the decrease in fertility and rising dog ownership.   

“It’s hard to say, Sash, can’t really be proven definitively by the data we have available to us, but there is definitely a trend of couples putting off having a baby and getting a dog instead.

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Caitlin Duan

24 March 2023

Article by:

Caitlin Duan

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