A college degree is not a license to print money. With or without a degree you are going to have to work hard if you want to be successful. Since you don't have a degree some doors will be closed to you unless you get a degree or a lot of experience. My father never graduated high school and he owned his own business. A degree definitely makes things easier when looking for a job since you don't have one just work harder than those that do.
Never underestimate your network of friends and acquaintances. All but one of my jobs, I got because I knew someone who knew of an opening and my resume was put into the pile of others. If it had not been for my connections I would have never known about the opening. A good word from someone you know goes a long way when a company is looking to hire someone.
A degree isn't a license to print money, that's for sure. But it's still true that people with degrees make more than those without, on average, and are unemployed less.
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, not only is there a $400 per week difference in earnings between those with a high school diploma and those with a bachelor’s degree, there is also a substantial difference in unemployment. As of the end of 2011, high-school only workers were unemployed at a rate of 9.4% while those with a bachelor’s degree had an unemployment rate of 4.9% (4.1% as of July 2012)."
Having said that, what would I do if I didn't have an education? (1) Live modestly (not a bad idea in any case), (2) Work more than one job, if needed, (3) Make sure both my wife and myself had full-time jobs with benefits, if possible, so we wouldn't have all our eggs in one basket in case one of us got laid off. (See above about unemployment stats for non-college grads...)
So don't be average. The average 9-5 guy with a degree makes more than the average 9-5 guy without a degree and that will probably never change. Work hard to not put yourself into either of those groups. Work toward owning your own business or slowly buy up real estate and then rent it out. There are lots of options available. Those options may require some risk but usually give a better return on what you put into them.
I guess I've got to ask. All things being equal, i.e. the guy is smart enough to make it through college, etc, why not get the degree and improve the odds? If he's got enough on the ball to do all the things you suggested, maybe he's got enough on the ball to finish school...
Learn a trade.
Yep, I'm not married yet, but I joined the carpenters union a while ago having never hammered a nail in my life, and they pay for you to take a few classes and then you learn on the job. And you make great money doing it.
Work hard and be content. No degree will ever replace work ethic. Before going into Law Enforcement I commercially fished, cut timber, worked as a mechanic, and in sales. I was far happier when I provided 9 bucks an hour lovingly than when I provided 40 resentfully. You need to remember that providing means much more than bringing home money. All of my education and training got me 200 extra cable channels that I don't watch, a truck I am afraid to scratch and a divorce. I would go back to blissful poverty tomorrow if I could.
Think about moving to a country that supports a living wage for its workers.
Where in the USA, can you raise a household with just a high school education?
As to myself, Starkville is not a depressed area. That and I am college educated, and happy where I am. It is a good place to live if you have the resources.
One can raise a household ANYWHERE in the United States, with only a high school education - he must work hard. There are MILLIONS doing it.
I understood the question as what is the earning potential for only having a high school education? Also what is my expected cost of living for 2 people? I'm really not sure what one can make with with such a level of credential on the common market. I have seen plenty of data to suggest minimum wage jobs do not cover living expenses sufficiently to not need assistance.
As to millions doing it, I'm curious how many are doing it without assistance. I really don't know the answer to that.
Point of clarification,
Are you saying wish provide for your household with no training/degree beyond high school or are you thinking of trade school vs college education?
If it is just a high school degree. I really don't know. You need to find a place and job where it is cheap to live and they pay very well for your skill set or lack of.