Official data released by the Office of National Statistics shows 52% of households are receiving more in benefits than they pay in taxes.
This figure is down 1.5% on 2011 - although it is still 8.2% higher than in 2000.
For non-retired households the proportion has fallen 1.8% - from 39.7% in 2011 to 37.9% in 2013.
Think tank the Centre for Policy Studies welcomed the new statistic, having first commissioned the measurement in its 2012 paper ‘The Progressivity of UK Taxes and Transfers'.
Commenting Tim Knox , director of Centre for Policy Studies stated: "This small fall in the proportion of households who receive more in benefits than they pay in tax is welcome.
"But the fact that over half of all households receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes should be deeply shocking. There is still so much more to do to get us back to the long term average of around 45%."
The data show:
• Total cash benefits plus benefits in kind for the middle 20% of households fell by 5% between 2011 and 2013.
• Total taxes paid by the middle 20% rose 1% between 2011 and 2013.
• The net dependency of the middle 20% fell 17% over the two year period.
• Apart from the top fifth, all income groups are paying less in direct taxes than they were in 2011.
• Pre-tax income for the bottom three fifths of households has risen since 2011.
• The richest 20% paid £1,396 more per household in taxes in 2013 than in 2011.