Study: iPhone Most Popular With Lower Earners

Here's a bit of a surprise: The majority of iPhone users aren't exactly rolling in the dough. Even given the not-so-low price of the device, some new numbers from ComScore indicate most people with iPhones make less than the median American household income.

The data show that 16 percent of iPhone owners are in households making less than $25,000 a year, and 48 percent are in households making between $25,000 and $49,999. The median household income, according to U.S. Census data from August, is just over $50,000.

What's more, the growth rate in iPhone adoption is more than three times higher in those lower income brackets compared to brackets of people whose households incomes top $100k.

"As an additional household budget item, a $200 device plus at least $70 per month for phone service seems a bit extravagant for those with lower disposable income," says Jen Wu, the ComScore senior analyst who wrote the report.

So what's the story here? There are a few possible explanations. First, the iPhone has traditionally been a big hit among the younger crowd, many of whom are either in college or early in careers -- thus, living on their own, and likely not making a ton of money. The typical $100,000+ household, one might contend, could be more likely to be made up of more corporate business folks -- "suits," per se -- who may be more apt to have work-issued BlackBerries strapped to their waists.

Aside from that, though, there's another factor that ComScore points out: Some people are paying more for an iPhone, but then saving in the long-run by cutting back on other areas of spending -- Internet access, music, and other communication-oriented services, for example.

"One actually realizes cost savings when the device is used in lieu of multiple digital devices and services, transforming the iPhone from a luxury item to a practical communication and entertainment tool," notes Wu.

Speaking of savings, have you heard that Wal-Mart is carrying the G1 as of today? The price is $148.88, about $31 less than what T-Mobile is charging. If ComScore's data is to be believed, the lower-price, discount-style option for Android's first smartphone may be a pretty smart move.