Not so long ago, having a visible tattoo meant having a really difficult time getting a professional job. There was a definite stigma attached to any form of ink and overcoming that stigma was a serious accomplishment. From October 14-19, 2015, The Harris Poll looked to take a pulse of tattoos in today’s world and found the tides are shifting. In fact, tattoos are becoming much more popular than they were in the past and this means a greater general acceptance virtually everywhere.
To gather as much data as possible, The Harris Poll on tattoos was conducted online between October 14-19, 2015. It surveyed 2,225 US adults age 18 and older. From November 6-16, they conducted additional polling of 1,093 parents to help complete the data set. One of the most significant findings in this recent poll is that 29 precent, or nearly 3 in 10 adults reporting having at least one tattoo. This is a definite contrast to the 2012 survey, where it was reported that only 21 percent had them and the 2008 survey, when only 14 percent reported a tattoo. More specifically, in less than a 10 year period, the percentage of those with one tattoo has doubled.
Depending on your definition of interesting, there are a wide variety of other details that were discovered about tattoos and the current culture surrounding them. For starters, of those surveyed 47 percent of millennials and 36 percent of Gen X respondents reported having at least one tattoo. When compared to the 10 percent of those 70 and older who responded having a tattoo, it gives the impression that future surveys might reveal even higher numbers. Furthermore, 69 percent of those with at least one tattoo reported having two or more.
Looking at more specific demographics, those who did report having one or more tattoos reported that 27 percent were Republican, 28 percent were Independent, and 29 percent were Democrat, which effectively dismisses the notion that politics affects the proclivity towards tattoos. Of course, another significant number to consider is that of those who have at least one tattoo, 23 percent report regretting at least one. After this, they delved into a variety of more detailed metrics, including how those who had tattoos perceived themselves because of it. Perhaps most interesting of these findings though, 71 percent of parents are now comfortable with visible tattoos on their children’s teachers and pediatricians. In other words, they are accepting that a tattoo has no negative connotation.
While The Harris Poll is generally trusted among the world community to provide accurate measures, some might question whether this particular poll is really significant enough. After all, online polling in this way can be subject to a variety of statistical survey errors, including response bias, insufficient sampling size, and more. So, if you are a real stickler for statistical methods, you might not take this all at face value. Despite this, it can be compared with previous survey results and therefore provides a good point of comparison. Overall, this could mean tattoos are getting more and more aligned with the mainstream.