A Pew Research Poll done in 2010 reviewed tattoo statistics from our current generations. They looked at tattoos as a cultural phenomenon effecting different generations and organized them by age and whether they had a tattoo or not. The current generation of young adult’s (called the “Millennials”) adoption of tattoos has been unprecedented in history. Almost four in ten Americans age 18 to 29 had at least one tattoo. There are decidedly wide variations in these numbers with tattoos as you travel the country.
Further review of tattoo statistics show there is no question that urban areas have a dramatically increased number of people getting tattoos with some individuals reporting that they “can’t think of a friend” male or female that doesn’t have a tattoo. In contrast, rural areas where the nearest tattoo shop may be an hours drive or more, tattoo adoption will be very low. So if these numbers seem high, low, or wrong, they probably are. . . depending on where you live.
Of the people with tattoos, 7 out of 10 have more than one and 2 out of 10 have 6 tattoos or more. It seems that once the tattoo flood gate is open, its difficult to stop! The 31% that only have one tattoo may or may not regret that tattoo, and its usually well hidden from the public eye.
Many report the decision to get the first tattoo was foreboding even if it was done without much forethought or planning. After the first tattoo, the decision to get subsequent tattoos was much easier for a number of reasons. An 83rd tattoo of Julia Roberts (above) would not be overkill. He reached overkill after the third tattoo of her face. Just like dents on a car, after the first one, the level of protection and preservation is much lower.
The good news here is the vast majority of people with tattoos usually hide their tattoo from plain view, not because they are ashamed, but because it is by design. They place a small tattoo on their stomach or back and no one but their family ever knows or sees it. Men tend to be more extroverted with 23% of their tattoos placed in a public location (arms, etc.) whereas only 13% of women place their tattoos in blatantly obvious locations.
Many have long believed that the liberal “hippy” democrats have been the majority of the tattoo population, and the Pew study bears that out, but there are still a significant number of closet “right wing” tattoo adopters!
And finally . . . piercing (a topic we have actively avoided throughout this site). Ear piercing is so common-place here and across the world, that most people don’t consider it a piercing (although it clearly is!), nor is a pierced ear lobe a bold move. Other piercings do count (like the navel above) and the number of people choosing this option is growing among Millennials as well. 1 in 4 Millennials has a piercing other than in their ears with locations ranging from belly button, nose, tongue, eyebrow, and private unmentionable locations.