What Is Dually Employed With Kids (DEWKS)?

Dually employed with kids (DEWKS) refers to a household in which there are children and both partners earn an income. DEWKS families are marketing targets for toys, children's clothes, breakfast cereals, and other goods and services that pertain to children.

DEWKS can be contrasted with households that are dual income but with no kids, or "DINKS."

Key Takeaways

  • Dually employed with kids (DEWKS) describes a household structure where both parents work full time.
  • DEWKS households must often weigh the costs and benefits of outsourced child care with the amount of income earned.
  • The rise of boomerang children and a "sandwich generation" have put additional financial pressures and family obligations on households.
  • DEWKS stand in contrast to couples that both work but have no children, known as dual income, no kids (DINKS).

Understanding Dually Employed With Kids (DEWKS)

Dually employed with kids (DEWKS) is a slang phrase for a household in which there are two incomes and also children. Individuals living in a DEWKS household often have relatively less disposable income because they have the added expenses that come with raising children. They also often spend more per person on housing than singles because of the want for separate bedrooms, bathrooms, and play spaces.

Having a dual income increases the household's overall cash flows, but is also met with added expenses related to child care. If both parents work full-time, daycare, pre-school, babysitting, and other forms of care work must be contracted out. These costs can be quite substantial, and may greatly reduce the net after-tax income brought in.

Couples in a DEWKS household must often weigh the costs of child care with take-home income to see whether or not it makes financial sense to work or stay home and perform the child care themselves. Of course, non-economic motives may be a factor, too, such as a feeling of success, loving one's work, or having alone time from the rest of the family, and each situation will depend on its own unique circumstances.

Companies may target DEWKS households for certain advertising and marketing campaigns, especially for those products and services that pertain to children. These often include baby and children's clothes and supplies, toys and games, sugary foods and snacks, and sporting goods such as bicycles or baseball gloves. Increasingly, certain digital offerings such as video games and online services target DEWKS as well.

Variations on Dually Employed With Kids (DEWKS)

Boomerang Children

"Boomerang children" is a slang term for adult children who return or are still living at home with their parents even after finishing school and reaching working age. Their parents face the challenges of managing their own finances and planning for retirement while dealing with the added expense of housing and feeding their adult offspring.

Boomerang children may also be known by the acronym KIPPERS (Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings).

17.8%

The percentage of children aged 25-34 that lived with their parents in 2019.

Sandwich Households

The "sandwich generation" refers to households that are obligated to support both aging parents and growing children. The sandwich generation is named so because they are effectively "sandwiched" between the need to care for their older parents who may be ill, unable to perform various tasks, or in need of financial support; as well as for children, who require financial, physical, and emotional support.

The trends of increasing lifespans and having children at an older age have contributed to the sandwich generation phenomenon.

Same-Sex Families

Same-sex married couples are a relatively new DEWKS category, but they are important to marketers for a variety of reasons. First, persistent gender income inequality still means that men usually make more money than women. So, gay married men typically will have even more disposable income than other dual-income couples with kids.

While same-sex couples are still less likely to have children than traditional households, rising rates of adoption and surrogate pregnancies make them an increasingly relevant segment of the DEWKS.

Empty Nesters

After the children have grown up and moved out, couples may become part of the dual income, no kids (DINK) demographic again. This time, the money they spent on kids is freed up, and they might also gain funds by selling their house.

Empty nesters might need to start getting serious about saving for retirement. If they already have substantial savings, it could be time to start taking more vacations before the couple gets too old to enjoy them.