The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)
This site provides three historical series pertaining to the average worker in the United Kingdom. The series are:
- The retail price index
- The average nominal earnings
- The average real earnings
The Retail Price Index is expressed as an index number relative to the base year, 2010, which has a value of 100. Average nominal earnings are given in ￡ per year, assuming for the earlier years that workers worked each week in the year. Average real earnings are given as their equivalent in the ￡ of 2010. The series are annual and run continuously from 1245 to the present.
The Retail Price Index (RPI) for a given year compares the cost of purchases of the typical household in that year with the cost in the year 2010. This series is sometimes referred to as the "Cost-of-Living Index" and officially as the Retail Price Index. For more discussion, read the guide cited below. Why not the Consumer Price Index?
Average Earnings has a broader meaning than just wages. In principle, earnings consist not only of wages but also other forms of compensation.
Average Real Earnings are "average nominal earnings" divided by the "retail price index", then multiplied by 100 so that the value for 2010 is nominal earnings in that year.
For additional information about the earnings rate and Retail Price Index, please read "What Were British Earnings and Prices Then? A Question-and-Answer Guide". For more in-depth information on the development of the series, please read "What Were the U.K. Earnings Rate and Consumer Price Index Then? A Data Study" (233K PDF).
These data replace the previous version of these series that has been hosted on MeasuringWorth for the last four years that were constructed by Lawrence Officer. Click here to view these previous series.
Please read our
Note on Data Revisions.
Gregory Clark, "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth,
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