The Donnell family once earned twice as much as they do now per year, but they cut back -- by choice -- to focus on what mattered most to them. Clockwise are Gregg, Lola, Kelly and Isabel. Tedd Robbins/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Tedd Robbins/NPR

Terry Walter grows hay, wheat and corn and runs well over 2,000 cows on about 3,000 acres in Colorado. Barry Gutierrez for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Barry Gutierrez for NPR

Darryl and Kristina Pendergrass and their sons, William, 3, and Ian, 20 months. The family gets by on Daryl's $43,000-a-year salary as a biologist with the Alabama Department of Public Health. Debbie Elliott/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Debbie Elliott/NPR

Originally from St. Louis, Mo., Jada Irwin moved to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for work. As a single woman, she likes where she lives, but if she were to have children, she says, she would move to South Carolina or somewhere similarly less expensive. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Truck supervisor Bernard Levey with his family in front of their home in the then-new Levittown, Pa., housing development in 1950. Bernard Hoffman/Time Life/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Bernard Hoffman/Time Life/Getty Images

Sue Spencer, 50, stands with her daughter Gaelyn Spencer, 17, in front of their home in Marlborough, N.H. Erik Jacobs for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Erik Jacobs for NPR