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An iPhone is the most prominent sign of wealth in the United States

By Jules Wang July 8, 2018, 12:53 pm

A University of Chicago whitepaper finds that owning an iPhone is the most common sign of exhibiting wealth for people in the United States.

In the 2016 study, researchers were able to guess if a person belonged to a household with an income within the top quarter of the population, be it a single adult or two parents and dependents, simply by the subject’s disclosure that they own a non-specific iPhone about 69 percent of the time. 67 percent of high-income people also owned an iPad.

However, the research also shows that owning a generic Android phone (60 percent) or using Verizon (61 percent), which was the priciest carrier for wireless service in 2016, also were reliable indicators of wealth, too.


The study runs biannually and tracks different products with regards to the perception of people’s wealthiness with brands such as Samsung for televisions and Kikkoman soy sauce having also been included in past surveys. This particular run was republished in the National Bureau of Economic Research last month and you may download it at the source link below this story for a nominal fee.


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