Economists from the University of Chicago explained in a new paper that "no individual brand is as predictive of being high-income as owning an Apple iPhone". An iPhone? According to a report written by the University of Chicago and the National Bureau of Economic Research, in the US owning an iPhone is an indicator that you are in a higher tax bracket than others. "Knowing whether someone owns an [iPhone] in 2016 allows us to guess correctly whether the person is in the top or bottom income quartile 69 percent of the time", the authors write.
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. And it found that in 2016, the previous year it analyzed, there was a 69.1% chance of accurately guessing that a person was wealthy if he or she owned an iPhone.
It's not just the iPhone either, with the same research also noting that the iPad can also have the same effect, although to a lesser extent - a 67% chance of researchers being able to correctly confirm wealth. In 2004, that was true if you wee a Land O' Lakes Regular user.
IPad ownership was the second biggest indicator of wealth, followed by United States broadband provider Verizon Wireless, and then Android phones. The fourth-best brand indicator was if someone used Kikkoman soy sauce-a sign of wealth since 1992, when using Grey Poupon Dijon mustard was the number one indication you had plenty of cash.
After that comes Sony with 2.27 percent, revealing a huge gap in popularity from Android phones compared to pricey iPhones. 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. More than 6,000 people were surveyed to acquire the data.
As Gizmodo pointed out, owning an iPhone doesn't necessarily mean you're rich.
It also noted how status symbols had changed in the past two decades or so. In 2004 (some three years before the launch of the smartphone), status symbols included owning your own vehicle or home computer.