A new Nielsen poll finds smartphones are becoming less of a luxury and more of a so-called necessity — at least for younger people.

Nielsen gathered data to learn more about the age, income and demographics of the typical US smartphone user. Specifically, the firm wanted to know if lower prices are making the devices more popular among those who earn less money.

Turns out more than half of people between 18 and 24 who make less than $15,000 per year are smartphone owners, compared to 43 percent of those aged 25 to 34 and just 31 percent of folks between 35 and 44 years old.

While researchers don’t know if the people surveyed, especially those in the younger group, have outside financial help (parents, spouses, etc.), it’s clear that even the respondents on limited budgets are making room for smartphone ownership.

But what researchers found most interesting is that although the younger set deems the devices a necessity, older people consider them more of a luxury — which is valuable information for developers, publishers and advertisers.

[TechCrunch]