Almost a third of households in some parts of the UK have no people in employment, according to new figures.
A regional breakdown of national data showed that Liverpool had the highest percentage of so-called workless households in 2011 at 31.6%, slightly down on the previous year's figure of 31.9%.
It was the fourth year in a row that Liverpool had the highest rate, said the Office for National Statistics.
South Teesside had the second highest rate at 29.1%. The highest figure in Wales was 28.7% in the Central Valleys, including Merthyr Tydfil, while Glasgow topped the workless household league in Scotland, also at 28.7%.
Areas with the highest rates were heavily industrialised in the last century, with industries such as coal mining and shipbuilding, which have long been in decline.
The lowest percentage of workless households were mainly in the South of England, such as Oxfordshire (8%) and Buckinghamshire (9.8%).
Sickness was the main reason given by people living in workless households, although London had the highest percentage of people giving studying as a reason for not working, while retirement was often a reason in the South West.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "These figures make clear that high concentrations of workless households are not due to a so-called 'benefits culture' but because of mass unemployment caused by the collapse of major industries.
"It is a lack of jobs that puts people on benefits, not the other way round. Ministers must avoid the easy option of simply demonising people on benefits as this will not help a single person back into work.
"Instead we need an industrial strategy and proper investment to create jobs and give hope to these communities."