IPhone ownership top indicator of wealth in USA in 2016

IPhone ownership top indicator of wealth in USA in 2016

This is correct, two mobile computing devices have become an indicator as to how rich you really are, according to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

"Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016", researchers Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica wrote.

There are details and caveats to the research, but the economists found that owning an iPhone gave them a 69% chance to correctly infer that the owner was "high-income", which they defined as being in the top quartile of income for households of that type - like single adult or couple with dependents, for example.

According to the research conducted by the pair, there is no brand that is as predictive of a high income as Apple's iPhone, or at least it was back in 2016.

Last year's line-up of Apple handsets started at a hefty £699 ($908), rising to £1,149 ($1,493) for the top version of the swanky iPhone X model.

What a proclivity for spreading Grey Poupon on an iPhone says about your wealth was not addressed by the researchers.

The study included the top predictors for other years.


IPad ownership was the second biggest indicator of wealth, followed by U.S. broadband provider Verizon Wireless, and then Android phones.

For example, in 2004, buying a new vehicle and using Land O'Lakes regular butter implied you were well off, while in 1992 it was owning an automatic dishwasher and buying Grey Poupon Dijon mustard that meant you were among the elite.

After that comes Sony with 2.27 percent, revealing a huge gap in popularity from Android phones compared to pricey iPhones.

In the United States, if you have an Apple iPhone or iPad, it's a strong sign that you make a lot of money. But it does serve as a reliable indicator that you are in a higher income bracket than most people.

It also noted how status symbols had changed in the past two decades or so.

Bizarrely, those who use Kikkoman-brand soy sauce were also found to be wealthy, followed by HP printers and faxes, the AT&T phone network, Samsung TVs, Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent and Ziploc bags.

Related Articles