I have often wondered how the average family in the 1950s (when I grew up) could live on the income of a single breadwinner, and why it's no longer realistic for most people. And then I found this in a recent article: "According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new single-family American residence in 1950 was 983 square feet (258.7 square feet per person). Today, it is nearly 2,500 square feet (961.5 square feet per person). As home sizes ballooned over that time, family size shrank. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 1950, an average American family consisted of 3.8 people; today’s average family contains 2.6 people."

I found a home for sale locally that nearly meets those dimensions for $135,000. The average salary back then was less than $4,500 annually ($40,000 in 2015 dollars), but the average new home cost about $15,000 (depending on your source). Mortgage interest rates were relatively stable between 4.35 percent and 5.09 percent. Most families had only one car and possibly a garage. So, yes, it can still be done if you ignore what everyone else is doing.

Steven Yorgason