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Living standards during the recession

James Browne
Briefing note

We are used to our incomes rising over time. Since 1961, median (middle) household income before housing costs in the UK has increased by 1.6% per year on average. So over a typical three year period real incomes would rise by about 5%. However, our best estimate is that in the three years from 2008 to 2011 real household incomes will in fact have fallen by 1.6% - the biggest three year drop in real living standards since 1980-83. So households are about 6% worse off than they might have expected had incomes risen in the normal way.