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

Ruben Fields
July 13, 2018

That's one of the takeaways from a new National Bureau of Economic Research working paper from University of Chicago economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica.

The research said, as reported by Business Insider, "Across all years in our data, no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone in 2016".

The paper explains that owning an iPhone gives the researchers a 69.1 percent chance of correctly inferring that the owner was so-called "high-income". While some low-end Android phones retail for as little as $100 or less, Apple recently raised the price of its highest-end iPhone to $999 or more.

The study included the top predictors for other years.

Interestingly, in 1992, using Grey Poupon Dijon mustard was 62.2 percent indicative of having a higher income. In 2004, that was true if you wee a Land O' Lakes Regular user.

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After that comes Sony with 2.27 percent, revealing a huge gap in popularity from Android phones compared to pricey iPhones. But it does serve as a reliable indicator that you are in a higher income bracket than most people. While the iPhone, and Apple products in general, are known to be high-priced premium devices, the rise in rank may also be attributed to general rise of smartphone ownership among people since the original's launch in 2007.

But just because you own an iPhone doesn't necessarily mean you paid the massive fees upfront.

The research also compares current rich-list indicators to the nineties, and times have certainly changed.

Heated auto seats were another big indicator, followed by the ownership of dishwasher detergents and dishwashers in general, belonging to a frequent flyer club and travelling outside the USA, as well as indulging in internet shopping for both goods and plane tickets.

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. In 2016, the top entries were owning a vehicle with Bluetooth; ordering an item on the internet, and ordering a plane ticket on the internet.

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