This chapter seeks to answer the question: how much did average British living standards increase during the 20th century? The goal is not to explain the trends but to explore the difficulties of measurement. Some attention will be given to dispersion around the average. It is shown that average living standards rose substantially during the 20th century. This rate of advance far outstripped that of any previous period, with real wages growing at over 1% per year during the first half of the century despite the depression and two world wars, and at about 2% per year in the second half.
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