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Do you own an iPhone? New study says you’re probably rich (or at least appear so)

POSTED: July 11, 2018 9:59 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

A research paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research in June found that owning an iPhone is a strong indicator that people have a “high income.”

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If you’re reading this article on an iPhone, you’re probably rich, according to a new study.

A research paper published in the National Bureau of Economic Research in June found that owning an iPhone is a strong indicator people have a “high income.”

The study found that owning an iPhone is 69.1 percent predictive of having a higher income.

Interestingly, in 1992, using Grey Poupon Dijon mustard was 62.2 percent indicative of having a higher income.

"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," researchers wrote in the study "Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016."

The iPhone tends to be a luxury product for most. The recent Apple phone sells for just under $1,000.

The study measured common predictors of wealth, according to Mashable.

"We measure cultural distance between two groups as the ability to infer an individual's group based on his or her (i) media consumption, (ii) consumer behavior, (iii) time use, or (iv) social attitudes," the study’s abstract read.

As Business Insider reported, the study used data from 6,394 people who filled out questionnaires about household income and other information. The study identified any cultural differences that exist across income, race and gender.

"This take-away runs against the popular narrative of the U.S. becoming an increasingly divided society," the researchers wrote.

As Gizmodo pointed out, owning an iPhone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re rich. But it does serve as a reliable indicator that you are in a higher income bracket than most people.

But that’s not to say low-income Americans don’t have smartphones, too. The study found that smartphone ownership, in general, is seen as a sign of wealth, too. Owning an Android phone or using Verizon’s wireless service were also strong indicators of wealth.

And, according to Pew Research Center, 64 percent of low-income Americans currently own a smartphone. That report identified a low-income salary as less than $30,000 per year.

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