Owning an iPhone is the best indicator of wealth, claims research

Counting bills

Economists at the University of Chicago recently published a paper (PDF) with the National Bureau of Economic Research that examined the best indicators of wealth over the last few decades. As noted by Business Insider, data includes bi-annual questionnaires as well as information like household income from a face-to-face interview.

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.

The iPhone tends to be a luxury product for most.

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

The next closest rival is Samsung, which accounts for 28.86 percent of phones sold in the United Kingdom in 2018 so far.

We analyze temporal trends in cultural distance between groups in the USA defined by income, education, gender, race, and political ideology.

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

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While the actual report isn't what you would call a page turner, it does say that based on 2016 data, no other brand is as "predictive" of having a high income as the Apple iPhone is.

"This take-away runs against the popular narrative of the USA becoming an increasingly divided society", the researchers wrote. More than 6,000 people were surveyed to acquire the data.

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

But that's not to say low-income Americans don't have smartphones, too.

The study found a strong link between wealth and owning Apple products.

And, according to Pew Research Center, 64 percent of low-income Americans now own a smartphone.

In 2016, the list is dominated by technology-related entries, including iPhone ownership on top of the list, followed by iPad ownership, being on the Verizon Wireless network, owning an Android phone, used Kikkoman, HP printer ownership, being on the AT&T network, and Samsung TV ownership.

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