For many years tattoos were seen as a taboo, something that only rebels and perhaps outlaws had done. Of course, that’s recent history.

Tattoos have been in existence for a long time. 

The evidence suggests that tattoos were prevalent as long ago as 3370 BC.

There have been mummified skins found which date to the period  3370 BC to 3100 BC.

One of the most famous examples is Otzi the Iceman.

He was frozen in the Alps, making him perfectly mummified.

An inspection of his body reveals 61 tattoos, most of which are on his legs. 

The tattoos were created with soot or a very similar substance.

There are many reasons for tattoos in ancient civilizations.

Unfortunately, they were often used to mark people, perhaps as thieves or pirates or as a slave who had paid their dues. 

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that tattoos started to become accepted and popular simply as body art. 

Today, tattoos are widely accepted, and as the following tattoo statistics show, they are surprisingly popular. 

Key Statistics

  • There are more than 20,000 tattoo parlors in the US
  • In 2022 ‘tattoo’ was the number one search term
  • 41% of Americans aged 18-29 have a tattoo
  • 38% of women have tattoos
  • 39% of people with tattoos have a high school diploma or less
  • 39% of black Americans have a tattoo
  • 24% of Americans with tattoos regret them
  • One in five adults under 30 intend to get a tattoo
  • 29% of Americans without tattoos have a negative perception of people with them
  • Italy has the most people with tattoos
  • Tattoos are illegal in Islamic countries
  • 65% of fashion designers have a preference for tattooed employees
  • 40% of people choose the forearm for their first tattoo
  • In the US alone, $1.65 billion is spent on tattoos
  • Lucky Diamond Rich is currently the most tattooed man in the world

Understanding Tattoos

A tattoo is seen as a permanent mark on your body, although it is now possible to have it surgically removed. 

The modern tattoo uses a tattoo gun.

This is loaded with ink and effectively injected into the skin under the outer layers.

That means the tattoos will stay visible forever. 

In the 20th century, inks were created from minerals.

Specifically, iron oxide or carbon was used to make black, and cinnabar was used to create red.

Other minerals were used to create yellow, green, and other colors.

However, the effects of mineral-based inks on the body is still largely unknown. 

Today, the industry has moved away from mineral-based inks and uses organic pigments.

These are believed to be better for the skin and allow a wider, brighter array of colors. 

Of course, regardless of your tattoo type, aging skin and the sun will cause it to look different in the future. 

Let’s take a look at the most interesting facts about tattoos. 

Most Interesting Tattoo Statistics in 2024

1. There Are More Than 20,000 Tattoo Parlors in The US

There Are More Than 20,000 Tattoo Parlors in The US

It may seem incredible, but as an example of how many people get tattoos every year, there are an impressive 20,000 tattoo parlors in the US. 

These are spread across the country, although certain cities have a higher number than others.

For example, New York City has more tattoo parlors than any other city.

However, because there are so many people in the city, the number of tattoo shops per capita is surprisingly low.

Perhaps surprisingly, Denver is the king of tattoos in the US.

It’s estimated there are well over 100 tattoo shops in the city.

It’s worth noting that tattoos continue to be popular, which is why the number of tattoo parlors is growing daily.

(History Of Tattoos)

2. In 2022 ‘Tattoo’ Was The Number One Search Term

The start of the 2020s was rough for many people.

A global pandemic led to many people losing loved ones.

Those who survived were able to take a good look at what was important to them. 

The result of lockdowns was limited spending opportunities.

As the country and the world reopened, many consumers had money to burn. 

Alongside reconsidering current employment opportunities, a large selection of people decided it was time to get a tattoo.

In many cases, it was to mark the passing of the pandemic. 

Naturally, anyone new to the art of tattooing needed inspiration regarding what tattoo to get and where to get it. 

Hence, according to Google, tattoos became the most searched term on the internet during 2022.


3. 41% Of Americans Aged 18-29 Have A Tattoo

Tattooing is generally seen as a young person’s game.

It gives you time to enjoy the tattoo or regret having it done!

The current statistics support this view.

A recent survey found that 41% of Americans aged between 18-29 have indulged in at least one tattoo. 

It should be noted that getting a tattoo is generally considered addictive.

Most people can’t stop at just one tattoo.

In the 18-29 age range, 10M have just one tattoo and 31% have more than one. 

Interestingly, it’s the age range 30-49 that sports the most tattoos.

Forty-six percent of people in this age range have a tattoo.

Just 14% of this age range have one tattoo and 32% have more than one. 

Impressively, 25% of those aged between 50-64 have a tattoo.

In fact, 15% of this age range has more than one tattoo. 

Finally, just 13% of those over 65 have a tattoo, with 5% of this age group having more than one tattoo.

(History Of Tattoos)

4. 38% Of Women Have Tattoos

In the 1960s tattoos were predominantly worn by men.

Although it was more socially acceptable, it was still seen as something that bad boys did. 

However, today, the latest research from Pew shows that 38% of women have a tattoo.

In fact, 26% of women have more than one tattoo.

In contrast, just 27% of men have a tattoo and 17% of men have more than one.

This shows a complete change in the way people look at tattoos.

In modern society, they are seen as art and a way to impress others.

It’s worth noting that 51% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual people have a tattoo with 39% of these people having more than one tattoo. 

In contrast, 31% of straight people have a tattoo with 20% of straight people having more than one tattoo.

(Pew Research)

5. 39% Of People With Tattoos Have A High School Diploma Or Less

Tattoos have been traditionally associated with people whose lives haven’t gone to plan.

Of course, this is a generalization but it is borne out by the figures. 

The latest research by Pew shows that 39% of those with a high school diploma have at least one tattoo.

27% of this group have more than one tattoo. 

Those who have benefitted from some college education have fared slightly worse.

Just 35% of these have tattoos, and 24% have more than one tattoo. 

Tattoos are also popular with those who have Bachelor’s degrees.

The latest research shows that 24% of those with a bachelor’s degree have a tattoo and 15% have more than one tattoo.

Finally, even postgraduates are interested in tattoos.

An estimated 21% of postgraduates have a tattoo, and 12% of them have more than one tattoo. 

(Pew Research)

6. 39% Of Black Americans Have A Tattoo

39% Of Black Americans Have A Tattoo

The good news is there is little difference between races when it comes to tattoos. 

According to the latest research, 39% of black people have a tattoo, with 11% of them having just one

White people fare similarly.

The survey found 32% of white people had at least one tattoo and 11% of these people had just one tattoo.  

Interestingly, 35% of Hispanic people have a tattoo, with 12% of Hispanics having just one.

In short, most young people are likely to have a tattoo, regardless of age and race. 

It’s also worth noting that 43% of lower-income people are inked individuals.

In fact, 30% of this group have indulged in more than one tattoo. 

The figures drop as the income increases.

For example, 20% of middle-income people have more than one tattoo and 11% have one tattoo.

Finally, 13% of those with a high income have more than one tattoo, and 9% of this group has just one tattoo.

That’s a total of 21% of people with higher incomes are still interested in having tattoos. 

(Pew Research)

7. 24% Of Americans With Tattoos Regret Them

The majority of people with a tattoo are happy they have one.

However, according to the latest Pew research, approximately 24% of Americans with tattoos regret having them

Interestingly, the percentage is the same for men and women.

However, there are slight differences when it comes to race.

The research found that 23% of white people regret their tattoos and 21% of black people. 

Incredibly, 30% of Hispanic people regretted their tattoos.

The regret levels didn’t really change much with age, those over 65 were most likely to feel regret at 27%.

Those in the 50-64 age range had the lowest level of regret at 20%.

What the survey doesn’t identify is at what ages the tattoos were done and what the tattoo was.

After all, it’s common to regret having a partner’s name tattooed on you once you’ve split up.

(Pew Research)

8. One In Five Adults Under 30 Intend To Get A Tattoo

A recent study by Pew Research revealed that 85% of adults without a tattoo are highly unlikely to get one in the future.

Just 6% of this group are very likely to get a tattoo and 9%  are seriously considering it. 

The figures are effectively the same for men and women.

That’s 86% of men and 85% of women.

It’s the age where you really notice the difference in attitude. 

The survey found 60% of untattooed Americans between 18-29 are unlikely to get a tattoo.

A staggering 98% of people without tattoos over the age of 65 were likely to get a tattoo

There was very little difference according to race, although Hispanics were slightly more likely to get a tattoo.

The story changes completely when you include those with tattoos.

According to the research, one in five people under the age of 30 are seriously considering getting a tattoo.

This may simply mean that tattoos are a young person’s game.  

(Pew Research)

9. 29% Of Americans Without Tattoos Have A Negative Perception Of People With Them

In the past tattoos always had a negative impression.

However, thanks to celebrities this image has largely changed and today, many people see tattoos as an effective way to express themselves. 

However, stereotypes change slowly, as the latest Pew Research shows. 

The study showed that 29% of Americans without a tattoo had a negative image of anyone they saw with a tattoo. 

This includes people they respected and then discovered had a hidden tattoo. 

Interestingly, men are more likely to create a negative perception than women.

32% of men without tattoos see people with tattoos negatively, and only 27% of women feel the same. 

People over 65 were most likely to form negative opinions.

The study shows that 40% of this age bracket falls into this category. 

On the positive side, in most categories between 60-70% of those without tattoos had neither a negative nor positive attitude change towards people with tattoos.  

(Pew Research)

10. Italy Has The Most People With Tattoos

For many people, this is the most surprising fact regarding tattoos.

America is generally believed to be the place with the most tattoos.

It’s a result of biker gangs, Hollywood movies, and other stereotypical views. 

However, according to the latest research, you’re more likely to meet an Italian with a tattoo than an American. 

The survey found that 48% of Italians have at least one tattoo.

The second place spot was stolen by Sweden with 47% of people having a tattoo. 

America managed to take the third spot as 46% of Americans have at least one tattoo. 

Of course, Italy only takes the top spot on percentages.

As there are approximately 65 million people living in Italy, that means just under 32 million have tattoos. 

In contrast, there are 330 million people in the US, which means approximately 160,000 people with tattoos.


11. Tattoos Are Illegal In Islamic Countries

Tattoos Are Illegal In Islamic Countries

It may surprise you to learn this tattoo statistic!

Thanks to Islamic law, you should never see a tattoo in an Islamic country. 

That means places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Malaysia, and even the UAE.

Visitors to these countries are advised to cover any tattoos or face the consequences. 

For example, in Iran they believe that God forbids them.

If you have a tattoo you can be arrested and fined or even imprisoned. 

The same is true in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia where Sharia Law bans the use of tattoos.

The UAE also forbids tattoos although it interprets the Islamic law slightly differently.

The country sees tattoos as a form of self-harm, which is forbidden. 

Even Yemen has been known to arrest people for having tattoos, even though it is not strictly speaking forbidden.

It will depend on the nature of the tattoo. 


12. 65% Of Fashion Designers Have A Preference For Tattooed Employees

The fashion industry hasn’t always been known to facilitate models outside of specific parameters.

It’s taken years for the industry to give up on the idea that a skinny model is the only option. 

However, for many reasons, including fashion designer preferences, body images are changing. 

In a recent survey, it was discovered that 65% of fashion designers would prefer to employ someone with tattoos as opposed to someone without. 

For many designers, the right tattoos can accentuate an outfit.

At the least having tattoos can often mean the person has a creative streak. 

The beauty industry also appreciates employees with tattoos.

The study found that 43% of managers in the industry prefer those with tattoos as employees. 

It’s a less popular choice within politics and the law.

Only 2% of MPs and 8% of lawyers will look favorably at employment prospects with tattoos. 

Perhaps the most versatile industry is football!

The survey found that 75% of managers didn’t mind whether an employee had tattoos or not.


13. 40% Of People Choose The Forearm For Their First Tattoo

Deciding where to have your first tattoo can seem like a huge decision.

After all, there is no guarantee you’ll like it and you may not always want people to see it. 

That’s why, after spending hours deliberating on a design, most people choose their forearm as the spot for their first tattoo.

In fact, statistics show that 40% of people choose their forearm. 

It’s generally because it’s easily visible and easily hidden. 

The back is a close second with 39% of people choosing this spot.

Other popular first tattoo spots include the hand and the wrist, the upper arms, and even on the shoulder. 

Less popular options are the lower part of a leg or the ankle/foot.

These are harder to hide. 

The least popular options include on the neck, thigh, and face.

It’s also rare for a first-time tattoo to be on the buttocks or pelvic area.  


14. In The US Alone, $1.65 Billion Is Spent On Tattoos

Tattoos have grown massively in popularity and this is reflected in the number of tattoo parlors within the US. 

The industry in the US alone is worth $3 billion annually.

Naturally, it took a hit during the pandemic but it has continued to grow since and looks set to exceed $5 billion by 2030.

Much of the growth is fueled by the increased interest in tattoos.

However, it’s also worth noting that tattoos are not cheap.

The smallest tattoos are likely to set you back $45, a large tattoo can be $150 or more. 

Considering many people have more than one tattoo or simply need more than one session to complete a tattoo, it’s easier to see why this has become a multi-billion dollar industry. 

It’s estimated that $1.65 billion is spent every year on tattoos, the rest of the industry value is made up of ancillary purchases, such as piercings and fake tattoos. 


15. Lucky Diamond Rich Is Currently The Most Tattooed Man In The World

Lucky Diamond Rich Is Currently The Most Tattooed Man In The World

The oldest known example of a tattooed person is Otzi the Iceman.

However, he had just 61 tattoos, primarily on his legs.

In contrast, Gregory Paul McLaren has been getting tattoos since he was 16, and it’s believed he has spent over 1,000 hours in the tattoo chair. 

The result is 99.99% of his body is covered in tattoos and he has the Guinness Book of Records award for being the most tattooed man in the world. 

His nickname is Lucky Diamond Rich, he’s a street performer and can attract a crowd just to see his tattoos. 

In an interesting contrast, an amateur boxer known as Billy the Human Billboard, lives in Alaska and literally sells space on his body.

His corporate sponsors pay him to have their tattoos on his body. 

The result is 26 corporate logos and a good standard of living. 


Summing Up

As the above tattoo statistics show, there are many different levels of commitment to getting a tattoo.

You can go small or opt to cover your entire body. 

But, one thing is certain, tattoos are popular and this popularity shows no sign of abating.

As society has become more accepting of people with tattoos and their ability to express themselves, people feel freer to try different tattoo styles. 

It’s quite possible that, as the industry evolves, so will the style and coverage of the average tattoo.

In the future, it’s possible that more people will have tattoos than those that don’t.

That would be an impressive turnaround.


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