We may think of a Big Mac and fries as the “poor man’s food” — consumed on the regular by broke college students and people who can’t afford fresher fare. But as it turns out, fast-food is an equal opportunity meal that’s scarfed down by the rich and poor alike. In fact, according to a new study published by the Ohio State University’s Center for Human Resource Research, middle-class Americans are most likely to eat fast-food regularly, even more so than the dirt poor.
“It’s not mostly poor people eating fast food in America,” said Jay Zagorsky, co-author of the study, in a statement. “Rich people may have more eating options, but that’s not stopping them from going to places like McDonald’s or KFC.”
The study, which focused on young baby boomers, compiled data from 8,000 people who were asked in three surveys over the course of four years about their fast-food consumption habits. This data in turn, was matched up with information on income. Eighty percent of those in the lowest income bracket reported eating fast-food at least once a week, while 75 percent of those in the wealthiest bracket reported the same. About 85 percent of the middle 40 to 50 percent of Americans surveyed ate fast-food once a week.
Another key finding in the study found that people who moved up or down the ladder of success did not change their eating habits. Even drastic changes in income between the surveyed years of 2008 and 2012 did not have an impact on fast-food habits.