In the aftermath of the 2011 England riots, the then Prime Minister David Cameron referred to a ‘small number of families as the source of a large number of problems in society’ (Cameron, 2011). Soon after, the Troubled Families Programme was set up by the government to ‘turn around’ 120,000 troubled families. Despite government rhetoric focusing on ‘neighbours from hell’ (ibid.) the initial estimate of the number of troubled families did not include any indicators of problematic behaviours, such as crime or anti-social behaviour. Instead, a measure previously used by government to classify families with multiple social and economic disadvantages was used (Social Exclusion Task Force, 2007a). This article revisits the research behind the initial identification of the 120,000 troubled families and explores more widely the overlap between families with multiple social and economic disadvantage and their engagement in problematic behaviours. Our reanalysis of the original research data reveals that although families experiencing multiple social and economic disadvantage were at an increased risk of displaying problematic behaviour, only a small minority did so.