John and Marsha are yuppies in the original sense: Young Urban Professionals. Buying a house was not a problem - that is, until they started a family. Then they had to renegotiate their mortgage. They do not think they can afford more than two children; the cost of housing is just too great. Julian is a 40-something bachelor. Despite receiving half the proceeds of a house sale a decade ago as a legacy, he is still renting. He does not think he will be able to afford to buy a house unless he acquires a second income by marriage - and, of course, children would be too expensive. Time is running out if he wants to get a thirty year mortgage. Our society has never been so affluent, yet its natural reproduction rate is below replacement and we are struggling to own our own homes.
Meanwhile, back in the world we used to inhabit, my father was an unskilled labourer, and my mother took only part time and casual work. Yet they managed to pay off a house and raise two children. What on earth has happened in the interim?