MEET THE MEDIAN FAMILY

HOW ARE THEY DOING? AND ARE THEY BETTER OFF THAN THEIR PARENTS WERE?

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT CAROL AND PAUL MEDIAN, she 32 and he 34, married for one year and living just south of Bloomington, Indiana. They are as average as can be. Last year Paul earned $28,449, and Carol made $23,479, precisely the midpoint paychecks for men and women their age. It also happens that their part of Indiana is the population center of the U.S. Since no real-life couple is truly typical, however, I have created the fictional Medians, going by Census figures, to give a sense of the exact middle of American life. In ways good and bad, the...

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