Study estimates record poverty levels in Venezuela, now affecting 73 percent of households

A study estimates poverty in Venezuela has hit an all-time high of some 73 percent of households.

The report says that's up from about 27 percent in 2013 and 48 percent in 2014.

It was prepared by researchers at three Venezuelan universities on the basis of surveys with 6,000 people in the nation of 30 million.

Poverty rates plummeted during the first years of Venezuela's 16-year-old socialist revolution under the late President Hugo Chavez. But they have risen more recently as the country struggles with raging inflation, a deepening recession and falling prices for oil — Venezuela's main source of foreign income.

The study was released Friday, before Venezuela holds legislative elections next month.