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How Many People Have Tattoos in 2023? 32%!

Tattoos have become an increasingly popular and accepted form of self-expression in recent years. But tattoos certainly didn‘t originate in modern hipster culture. Archaeological evidence shows tattooing existed as far back as 3000 BC. From ancient tribal practices to sailor folklore to modern body art, tattoos have a fascinating history and evolution. But even with their mainstream acceptance today, just how many people actually go under the permanent ink gun needle? What percentage of people in 2023 have tattoos? Let‘s analyze the numbers and trends.

Tattoo Popularity Statistics

Recent surveys and polls shed light on current tattoo statistics:

  • An estimated 32% of Americans have at least one tattoo according to a 2019 poll by Ipsos.
  • Looking at the entire world, approximately 25 million people have tattoos as per Bored Panda estimates.
  • By gender, 59% of women versus 41% of men across the globe have one or more tattoos based on polling data from multiple agencies.
  • In the LGBTQ+ community, 51% say they have at least one tattoo with 39% claiming to have more than one based on a 2021 survey.

Here‘s a breakdown of tattoo popularity percentages by age group and race according to a 2019 Pew Research study:

Age Group% with tattoos
18-34 years old40%
35-54 years old28%
55+ years old12%
Race% with tattoos
White Americans32%
Black Americans39%
Hispanic Americans35%
Asian Americans14%

This data indicates tattoos are most prevalent among Millennials and Gen Z compared to older demographics. But even Baby Boomers are getting inked more than in decades past.

Geographically, tattoo popularity varies greatly based on cultural acceptance and influences:

  • In the EU, approximately 14% of adults have at least one tattoo. Germany specifically has a 36% tattoo rate.
  • 47% of Sweden‘s population has tattoos – the highest percentage in Europe.
  • In the UK, 35% of adults aged 30-39 currently have one or more tattoos.
  • Compare that to Japan‘s tattoo rate of 3%, greatly limited by long-held negative associations with criminality.

Why People Get Tattooed

Tattoos hold deep personal meaning for many who view them as symbols of self-expression. But the motivations for going under the needle vary greatly.

Self-Expression – Tattoos allow people to communicate their inner self outwardly – their essence, passions, interests, creativity, and memories.

Commemoration – Many memorialize loved ones who have passed or honor important events in their lives through symbolic tattoos.

Cultural/Religious Significance – Tattoos have deep roots in many ancient tribal cultures and still hold traditional ceremonial meaning today. Religious tattoos are also popular.

Decoration – Some enjoy tattoos simply for their aesthetic appeal and see their bodies as a decorative canvas. Popular armband and shoulder tattoos often fall into this category.

Rebellion – Historically, tattoos represented an act of defiance, especially when they were stigmatized in past eras. This motivation still persists to a smaller degree.

Lisa, a 26-year old woman, explains what inspired her first tattoo: "I got a small moon tattoo on my wrist to symbolize my connection to my childhood best friend. We used to look up at the moon together and say it would unite us even when we were apart. After she passed away, the tattoo helped me grieve and remember our special bond."

Current Tattoo Trends & Styles

The options for personal expression through tattoos are endless. Let‘s look at some of the most popular styles today.

Minimalist – These small, simple tattoos focus on clean details and thin lines without shading or colors. More is expressed through less.

Watercolor – Features blurred, flowing colors seamlessly mixed like a watercolor painting. A looser, softer style than traditional tattoos.

Geometric – Bold shapes and patterns – dots, lines, triangles – are integrated in an abstract, geometric design. Intricate optical illusions can be created.

Nature & Botanical – Animal-themed and botanical tattoos incorporating flowers, plants, leaves, landscapes, or celestial bodies are perennially popular.

Single Needle – A single needle tattoo machine is used to hand poke extremely precise, delicate tattoos for razor-sharp details.

Tattoo artist David explains: "I‘m seeing demand rise for smaller minimalist and single needle tattoos. Clients like that they can hide these subtle meaningful tattoos easily. Full sleeves and big flashy tattoos are decreasing."

Tattoo Costs and Considerations

Costs – There are many variables affecting tattoo pricing:

  • Size – Small basic tattoos under 2-3 inches can range from $50 – $250. Larger or custom tattoos typically charge by the hour at $200 – $500.
  • Design complexity – Simple text or outlines are quicker than complex multi-color scenes and may have lower pricing.
  • Artist skill level – Reputable artists with higher demand and talents will charge more.
  • Placement – Visible arm, leg, wrist and back tattoos often cost less than hand, face, or neck tattoos.

Pain – Pain tolerance levels and placement also impact tattoo experiences:

  • Most painful – Spots like ribs, feet, joints, neck, chest, and spine.
  • Least painful – Areas with thicker skin and fat like arms, thighs, and upper back.

Anibal reflects on his first hand tattoo: "My hand tattoo was over in 30 minutes but it was by far the worst pain I‘ve ever felt. I nearly tapped out a few times. The pain is temporary but the art you get is so worth it."

Aftercare – Properly cleaning and caring for new tattoos is critical to minimize infection risks and ensure proper healing. Tattoo artists provide detailed aftercare instructions recommending cleaning methods and ointment. Avoid sun exposure on healing tattoos.

Removal & Regret

  • Up to 17% of individuals with tattoos eventually regret them according to research. The biggest regret reason is an ex‘s name.
  • Tattoo removal is an option but can be more painful and expensive ($450 per session) than getting the initial tattoo. Editing or coverups provide alternative approaches.

Leah admits, "If I could do it again, I would not have gotten my high school boyfriend‘s name tattooed on my wrist at age 18. We broke up two years later and I hated looking at that daily reminder. Laser removal was a painful process that took 5 treatments and cost me over $2000."

Final Thoughts

From edgy inked celebrities to average professionals, tattoos transcend stereotypes today with nearly a third of Americans sporting one or more. With high quality tools and inks enabling stunning artistic creations, it‘s clear why tattoos are so popular. For those considering going under the needle, weigh the costs, research your artist, and ensure your design decision comes from an emotionally healthy place. When applied properly, tattoos can be a meaningful representation of self-expression few other mediums can achieve.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.