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This is How People Judge Whether You’re Wealthy or Not, According to Study

The findings say owning an iPhone automatically makes people think you're wealthy

By | Paolo Chua |

Expensive clothing accessories are no longer the best indicators of wealth, says a new study.

A U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research study shows that people are more likely to look at the phone you’re using instead of the bag you’re toting. University of Chicago economists Marianne Bertrand and Emir Kamenica analyzed cultural distance trends in the U.S. by income, education, gender, race, and political ideology.

Here’s a list of products, brands, and activities that ranked high as an indicator of affluence:

Domestic Travel

At 70.9 percent, traveling in the continental U.S. ranked as the highest indicator of having a high- income. According to the study, travel-related experiences and services have been present on the list since 1992 but these hit an all-time high in 2016.


Unsurprisingly, the study found a direct correlation between having a passport and wealth and education. The respondents who perceived passports as a wealth indicator are backed by statistics. The Atlantic reported in 2011 that people with more money travel more often.

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