iPhones and other Apple products are correlated to greater wealth, according to a new paper 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,” according to economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica from the University of Chicago concluded (via Business Insider).
Researchers were able to infer 69 percent of the time that iPhone owners had a “high income,” meaning the individuals possessed the top quarter of earnings in a household, whether single, married with kids, etc.
The iPhone came onto the market in 2007, and they have only recently become indicators of an individual’s wealth. But it’s not just iPhones that are strong in predicting affluence—owners of Android phones and Verizon users are also predictors of high income as are those who own a Samsung TV and have a car with Bluetooth connectivity.
iPhones tend to cost more money than other smartphones. It’s possible to purchase a low-end Android phone for as low as US$100, while a top-of-the-line iPhone is as much as $1,000.
The paper used data from Mediamark Research Intelligence and had a sample size of 6,394. People volunteered information about their household income through in-person interviews. Researchers analyzed data from different financial, racial and gender groups. The economists made their conclusions using a machine learning algorithm.
“This take-away runs against the popular narrative of the US becoming an increasingly divided society,” according to researchers.
Interesting, an indicator of wealth in the nineties was owning Grey Poupon Dijon mustard, Kodak film and Thomas English muffins. In 2004, high-income households used Land O’ Lakes regular butter and Kikkoman soy sauce.
Don’t forget that many iPhone owners don’t purchase their Apple products with cash. Many use contracts to pay them off over time so they don’t have to sort out a large bill all at once. It’s safe to say that not every iPhone owner would consider themselves wealthy.