Research suggests 18 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea live on less than 40 US dollars each a year.
The data is based on study undertaken in every district in PNG by the Australian National University over the past forty years.
It shows that the life expectancy of Papua New Guineas is 54 years, but this drops to 46 years in the poorest areas.
A senior research fellow, Dr Mike Bourke, says about a million people live on very little money.
"It's a little bit less than twenty percent, which is about a million people in rural areas who are extremely poor. We're talking about very low levels of cash income, less than 40 US dollars per person per year. [They have] very limited access to health services, limited access to education services, very poor health outcomes, very poor education outcomes."
Dr Mike Bourke says people living on the edges of the Highlands, and inland lowland areas are the worst affected.