A third of families living with child poverty are "grafters" who have been blighted by unemployment and low wages more than social problems, a think-tank has said.
Demos, which has pinpointed five different types of household living in child poverty, warned that policymakers risk plunging families into further problems by overlooking those on low incomes who currently appear to be just about coping.
The report, titled Poverty in Perspective, found one in three low-income families are "grafters", many of whom have recently been made redundant or are self-employed and have seen their incomes drop.
They tend to own their homes, be highly qualified, live in the least deprived areas and are likely to be engaged in community activities and politics, researchers found.
The report said people in this group "are a far cry from the stereotype of people in poverty tackling multiple social problems, and are instead implementing stringent budgeting tactics in order to get by".
Another group, called the "managing mothers", was also identified, made up of single mothers who tend to be slightly older with older children. This group are also using sharp budgeting skills and they also tend to have a strong work ethic, although many are unemployed.
The report said families in these groups "might be deemed the easiest to help". But it warned: "In the current policy environment and with limited resources, they are often overlooked by policymakers because they are seen to be 'getting by'.
"We would suggest, given the state of the economy, that the Government should not be complacent about these groups' ability to lift themselves out of poverty unassisted. The ability to 'get by' may not last forever, and our findings clearly suggest there is a link between more entrenched poverty and wider social problems."
Earlier this month, ministers insisted they were trying to be "more ambitious" about tackling child poverty with controversial plans to change the way it is measured.
They want to move away from the previous Labour government's focus on relative household income as an indicator of child poverty and use a "multidimensional" measure which takes into account factors like worklessness, family stability and parents' health and skills. The move has led to concern among some campaigners that the coalition is trying to duck commitments to abolishing child poverty by 2020.