Are people getting tattooed more?
July 21, 2008 3:02 PM   Subscribe

Are there any documented studies or similar evidence showing that more and more people are getting tattooed?

Based on my own (tattooed) observations, and those of my (non-tattooed) friends, it would seem like tattoos are becoming more prevalent. Perhaps it's because there's not as much of a social stigma attached to them as there was, say, 20 years ago, but that's just a wild guess.

I'm simply wondering if there's any proof to back up these observations.
posted by (bb|[^b]{2}) to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Well, this Pew Survey from 2007 indicates that 40% of people aged 26-40 have tattoos compared to only 10% of those aged 41-64. (Click Complete Report, page 21.)
posted by shadow vector at 3:16 PM on July 21, 2008

Number of people sporting at least one tattoo approximately doubled between 1936 and 2003
posted by Mitheral at 3:16 PM on July 21, 2008

Yes. Per a study cited in this USA Today article:
The American University employee is among about 36% of Americans age 18 to 29 with at least one tattoo, according to a survey. . . . The results suggest that 24% of Americans between 18 and 50 are tattooed; that's almost one in four. Two surveys from 2003 suggested just 15% to 16% of U.S. adults had a tattoo.
posted by smackfu at 3:18 PM on July 21, 2008

Tangentially related - there's also a parallel marked increase in the number of people having them removed. Tattoo regret is definitely on the rise, especially among those who give in to trends, like lower back tattooes and tribal armbands. link link
posted by iconomy at 3:31 PM on July 21, 2008

Hmmm, neither of those links mention tribal armbands or lower back tattoos. Further, that documentary "predicts" increases in tattoo removal but doesn't offer any real support. However, you would expect tattoo removal to increase with the increase in tattoos, if only because more people having tattoos == more people with the option of getting a tattoo removed.
posted by proj at 3:40 PM on July 21, 2008

Here are a couple of abstracts that sound like they provide support for the proposition that tattoos are becoming more prevalent:

College students and tattoos. Influence of image, identity, family, and friends

Body Adornment: Piercings and Tattoos
posted by jayder at 3:49 PM on July 21, 2008

From Wikipedia;

A poll conducted online in July 2003 estimated that 16% of all adults in the United States have at least one tattoo. The highest incidence of tattoos was found among the gay, lesbian and bisexual population (31%) and among Americans ages 25 to 29 years (36%) and 30 to 39 years (28%). Regionally, people living in the West (20%) were more likely to have tattoos. Democrats were more likely to have tattoos (18%) than Republicans (14%) and Independents (12%); approximately equal percentages of males (16%) and females (15%) have tattoos.[3]

In the fall of 2006, a study was completed by the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. It found that 24% of Americans who were between the ages of 18 and 50 had a tattoo, which is almost one in four people in the United States.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:21 PM on July 21, 2008

I'd say that there is pretty convincing evidence that tattooing has been on the rise.
posted by rhizome at 4:47 PM on July 21, 2008

Not a total derail but close enough: I read very recently an article about new recruitment "innovations" for the (US) Army, and one of the things they are now doing is allowing (certain) recruits with hand and neck tattoos, whereas before this was a total no-no. More an indication of the desperation of the Armed Forces to get their numbers up, probably, than of greater social acceptance of tattoos, but tangentially interesting, to me at least.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:58 PM on July 21, 2008

Based on casual observation here I'd say the peak has passed. Within the last few years I've seen a few tattoo shops close.
posted by JJ86 at 6:09 AM on July 22, 2008

The peak of tattoo as trend has passed. No more silly tribal armbands and panthers, and probably fewer tramp stamps. However, I don't think that the number of people getting custom work after years of deliberation is going down.

I've also found that general acceptance of tattoos as a fact, whether an individual likes it or not, has been on the rise. I get bigots making fun of my tattoos instead of assuming that I'm in a gang.
posted by Netzapper at 12:51 PM on September 25, 2008

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