United States - Number of tattoos in 2019

Body modification, especially tattooing, has proven to be very popular over the last few years. In the United States alone, more than a quarter of the population is adorned with at least one tattoo, and less than 40 percent of Americans would rule out getting one completely. Most get their first in their twenties, and the vast majority never regrets that first prick of the needle. In other countries, the share of tattooed inhabitants is even higher. Tattoos have not always been that socially acceptable, though: For a long time, they were sure indicators that their owner was up to no good.

Fringe markings

Only a few decades ago, tattooed people were often perceived as socially inadequate, maladaptive, and even as criminal. Body ink was associated with people who lived on the fringes of society, people who had been to jail or worked as sailors at best. Nowadays, tattooed people are often still considered more rebellious and less respectable than those without, but having a tattoo does not lead to social ostracism anymore. In fact, they are becoming more and more mainstream.

Hoist the colors

Today, tattoos are a means of self-expression, especially embraced by the younger generations. They have become acceptable for professionals as well, while they have been hidden in public under long sleeves and collars for decades, they are now often shown off proudly; professional reasons are rarely cited for not having a tattoo nowadays. The insignificance of professional reasons becomes even clearer when looking at how socially acceptable visible tattoos have become for “respectable” professions, like doctors or police officers. Other body modifications, like piercings, are also becoming mainstream, and at this rate, it won’t be long until we see a judge with a nose stud or a doctor with a lip ring.

How many tattoos do you have?

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Release date

December 2019


United States

Survey time period

December 3 to 10, 2019

Number of respondents

450 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Special properties

respondents who have at least one tattoo

Method of interview

Online survey

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Statistics on "Body modification in the U.S."

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