A new report from the ESRI shows that almost one quarter of the population is living in a jobless household.
A jobless household is defined as a household where adults spend less than one fifth of the available time in employment.
Over a third of those affected are children, while nearly one in five are adults who have a disability.
The percentage of people living in jobless households rose sharply once the recession kicked in - from 15% in 2007 to 22% in 2010.
While this is due in part to a rise in unemployment, it is also because jobless adults here are less likely to live with someone who's working and more likely to live with children, compared to their EU counterparts.
The report also highlights the vital role played by welfare payments and other social transfers in lifting jobless households out of financial poverty.
Report author Dorothy Watson said: "There were some unexpected findings. While unemployment is clearly important in accounting for the high level of joblessness in Ireland, it is far from being the dominant factor.
"Only about one third of the adults in jobless households would classify themselves as unemployed. Tackling household joblessness will require a very broad approach, addressing a range of barriers to work.
"The solution will need to consider childcare and support services for people with a disability, as well as support for job search and skills development."
Ms Joan Burton TD, Minister for Social Protection said: "I am particularly concerned about the situation of children living in jobless households.
"There are grave social and economic risks in letting almost a quarter of Irish children grow up in jobless households.
"These risks include child poverty, limited educational achievements and ultimately, the intergenerational transmission of unemployment and poverty.
"It is for this reason that my Department provided financial support in Budget 2013 to the new area based approach to child poverty being developed by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Office of the Tánaiste."