How rich people do Thanksgiving different than the rest of us

Karpenkov Denis/ShutterstockWhat we eat for Thanksgiving can be affected by our location, traditions, and even income.
  • The wealthiest 20% of Americans mostly eat the same stuff as the rest of us, but their Thanksgivings do have a few unique twists.
  • They’re more likely to enjoy prepared cranberry sauce, in-bird stuffing, and butternut squash.
  • The rest of us were more likely to go for ham, macaroni and cheese, and green beans

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving essentially universally, but what we eat can be affected by all sorts of things like location, tradition, family background, and it appears even income.

We conducted a nationwide survey using SurveyMonkey Audience. We got 1,217 individual respondents from November 16-17, 2018, and asked them to select all the dishes they expected would appear on their Thanksgiving table this year. All told, 1,211 respondents identified 11,153 expected plates’ worth of birds and sides at the table this Thanksgiving. We also had income-related data for 984 of those respondents.


Read more:
What Thanksgiving dinner looks like in your part of the country

Most disproportionately popular thanksgiving dish every region mapShayanne Gal/Business Insider

A household that makes $US127,000 per year or more is in the top 20% of earners. In this set, 123 respondents claimed household incomes of $US125,000 or more, while 861 made less. And there were some trends among high-earners regarding what’s cooking this Thanksgiving.

So, what’s rich people Thanksgiving like? None of that canned cranberry sauce. The main standout is prepared cranberry sauce, healthy greens, and squash.

Here are the foods where the spread between the top 20% and the rest of us was widest:

Foods the top 20% served more often:

  1. Cranberry sauce (prepared): +10 percentage points
  2. In-bird stuffing: +9 percentage points
  3. Butternut squash: +9 percentage points
  4. Brussels sprouts: +6 percentage points
  5. Green salad: +5 percentage points
  6. Casserole: +5 percentage points
  7. Out of birds stuffing: +5 percentage points
  8. Beef: +3 percentage points
  9. Pasta: +2 percentage points
  10. Mushrooms: +2 percentage points

Foods the 80% served more often:

  1. Ham: +15 percentage points
  2. Green beans: +11 percentage points
  3. Macaroni and cheese: +8 percentage points
  4. Steamed carrots: +7 percentage points
  5. Corn on the cob: +6 percentage points
  6. Baked potatoes: +6 percentage points
  7. Gravy: +6 percentage points
  8. Collard greens: +5 percentage points
  9. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows: +5 percentage points
  10. Rolls: +5 percentage points

These are the most popular overall:

Thanksgiving popularitySkye Gould/Business Insider

SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,217 respondents, margin of error 3% with 95% confidence level.

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