If you happen to own an iPhone or iPad, it means you’re rich, according to a new study that looked at various modern types of behavior and their correlation with the income of a household. Owning an Android phone in the USA or using Verizon are also signs that you’re in the high-income bracket.
However, the iPhone is an even stronger indicator. Economists from the University of Chicago explained in a new paper that “no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone.”
“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,” they also said.
The researchers say that knowing someone owns an iPhone gives them a 69% chance to infer correctly that the owner was “high-income.” By high-income, they meant being in the top quartile of income for households of that type.
The researchers used data from Mediamark Research Intelligence, which provided a sample size of 6,394. The data includes bi-annual questions and info on household income on a face-to-face interview.
The researchers also used a machine learning algorithm to look at how different groups have had their preferences diverge over time. They determined that “cultural differences” aren’t getting larger over time when it comes to common brands and experiences. Their conclusion “runs against the popular narrative of the US becoming an increasingly divided society,” they said.
The iPhone is, of course, the most expensive smartphone you can buy, especially the newest generation. There are many ways to make it seem more affordable, but you still end up paying what Apple is charging for the handset, whether you go for outright purchases or installment plans.
The research says the iPhone being correlated with high-income is just a recent trend. In 2004, Land O’Lakes butter and Kikkoman soy sauce were indicators of high-income households. Twelve years earlier, the Grey Poupon mustard was the most reliable sign of being rich.