The current recession is the first that the UK has experienced since the early 1990s. Much has changed since then, and society's collective memory of who fared worst during previous recessions seems likely to have faded. Many workers in their 20s or early 30s have not experienced a recession during their working lives - including both authors of this report, one of whom had just started secondary school at the end of the last recession and the other of whom had just started junior school. This Briefing Note thus aims to document the course of average living standards, and those of particular subgroups in society, during the previous three UK recessions. It will also show what happened to measures of poverty and inequality during these periods.