Around 24,000 Scottish families are thought to be severely disadvantaged, research has suggested.
A report by the think tank Demos, called A Wider Lens, said that 4% of the total population of families with children (around 600,000) face severe hardship.
Researchers analysed 28,000 households across seven areas: low income, overcrowding, worklessness, ill health, no educational qualifications, mental health problems and poor neighbourhood.
Those facing four or more are considered "severely disadvantaged", according to the report.
Glasgow is the worst affected area, with 11% of families facing severe disadvantage, almost three times the national average (4%).
Over half of the country's households with children (53%) face none of the specified disadvantages, the report found.
The region with the largest inequality gap is South Lanarkshire, as the proportion of families there with either four or more disadvantages (7%) or none (58%) were both higher than the national average.
North Lanarkshire and Fife also have levels of severely disadvantaged families which are above the Scottish average at 5%.
Grampian is said to be the least disadvantaged area, with only 2% of families classed as "severely disadvantaged" and 62% facing none of the seven specified struggles.
The report was commissioned by Quarriers, which aims to provide services and support for disabled or disadvantaged children and families.
Paul Moore, chief executive of the charity, said: "This research paints a truly bleak picture of what life is like for thousands of families across Scotland who experience multi disadvantage every day.
"This is why Quarriers is launching Scotland's Family Appeal.
"The charity has been supporting these families in Scotland for the past 140 years — and it is clear from the findings in this report they need our support more than ever.
"Multiple disadvantage has a compounding effect, creating a perfect storm of complex, interrelated hardships that feed off each other and are incredibly difficult to overcome.
"Quarriers' mission is to step in to ensure the needs of these disadvantaged families are met — and we aim to do so through Scotland's Family Appeal to enable the charity to develop innovative services to help people cope."
Louise Bazalgette, author of A Wider Lens, said: "This report goes beyond a simplistic understanding of disadvantage, recognising that hardship is about a lot more than low income.
"It provides insight into the struggle thousands of families across Scotland go through on a daily basis coping with poverty, worklessness and poor health.
"The extent of severe disadvantage in some areas of Scotland shows the scale of the challenge for some local authorities, who need to find effective ways to work with families facing a complex set of problems at a time of dwindling public resources.
"In upcoming research Demos will work closely with severely disadvantaged families and local support providers, to go beyond these headline figures and provide a better understanding of their lives."
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