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Own an iPhone? New study says you're probably rich.

10 July, 2018, 12:30 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • New research shows that owning an iPhone is the most common sign of wealth

"The researchers, University of Chicago economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica, defined high-income" as those belonging in the top percentile of their household category (i.e. single, couples).

"Knowing whether someone owns an iPad in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 69 percent of the time", wrote the researchers. The economists inferred demographics based on people's media consumption and consumer behavior and found that "no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone". In a sample of almost 10,000 people, owning an iPhone in 2016 gave researchers a 62 percent chance of accurately guessing whether or not someone was educated.

The iPhone is, of course, the most expensive smartphone you can buy, especially the newest generation.

The study noted that Apple or, more to the point, owning one of its iPhones was, indeed, a status symbol for many users.


The study included the top predictors for other years. The research also suggests that owning an Android phone or using Verizon are a strong indicators of being high-income as well.

With Android phone ownership and other technology-related entries being on the list too, the bigger takeaway is that technology truly plays a bigger part in people's lives in the United States more than any other product category now. For instance, in 1992, there was a 62.2% chance that if you were using Grey Poupon dijon mustard, you had some cash. More than 6,000 people were surveyed to acquire the data. In 2004, Land O' Lakes butter and Kikkoman soy sauce were predictive of high-income households.

The paper also reveals iPhone owners are likely to give the impression of being educated. Since the data is from two years ago, it doesn't even take into account last year's $999 iPhone X. Having a heated seat in your vehicle or using dishwasher detergent were also good wealth indicators.

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