A domestic poverty line calculation for the Marshall Islands shows that up to 37 percent of the population lives below a basic needs income level.
The level was estimated by the Asian Development Bank based on data from the 2011 national census.
The basic needs income was defined as being $US 14.50 per person per week in urban areas, and $US13.60 in rural areas.
60 percent of people in rural areas live below that and 28 percent in urban areas.
But our correspondent in Majuro, Giff Johnson, said the figures might be wrong.
"It's very likely that the poverty situation could very well be worse, I think we'd have to see updated figures to really know but there has not been much in the way of significant development or expansion of employment in the five years since the national census was conducted."