After having returned from overseas I am amazed at the enormous space requirements of suburban middle-class Americans today. Why does a newly married couple require a 2-bedroom, 2-bath apartment or house? I have talked to individuals, not couples or that rare species known as "family," who feel they "need" to rent a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house.
My wife and I live in a spacious 1-bedroom apartment in Monterey Park, an area crime statistics show to be safer than most of the areas described in the article, for $500 a month. Although I would not recommend it for a Metropolitan Life magazine photo essay, the apartment does not have orange shag carpets. It does have a pool and it is convenient to both downtown and shopping. We have saved money and are now purchasing a home.
As the success of recent immigrants has shown, the downward mobility many middle-class Americans feel is less lack of opportunity than the need for instant gratification.