Incomes have suffered much more heavily since the current economic crisis began than in the aftermath of the UK's two previous recessions, figures show.
National income per head, taking inflation into account, fell more than 13% since the start of 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The figures, drawn from economic data produced by the ONS, aim to illustrate people's buying power.
This has been affected by the recession as well as high levels of inflation.
Inflation peaked at 5.2% last year, eating into the value of the cash that people were earning.
The ONS has looked at net national income per head, rather than the average wages that workers receive.
Overall GDP shows the size of the UK's economy, but does not necessarily measure people's economic wellbeing.
The analysis shows that national income per head dropped much more sharply in the four years to mid-2012 than it did after the recession which came in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and the 1979 oil shock.
Back then, incomes fell at first, but had already recovered by nearly 5% when comparing a similar four-year period.
Over the same stretch of time following the early 1990s recession, incomes had recovered by 8%.
"An over-reliance on the housing bubble and personal debt exaggerated income growth in the run-up to the recession," said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.