One in Five Americans Has a Tattoo and Other Facts

You know you are main stream when . . . .

According to Week Magazine, the American Medical Association published a scientific study on tattoo removal in 2012. While the AMA is busy discussing which colors are hardest to remove (blue) or what health factors make removal the most challenging (smoking) let’s take a look at the industry from some other government agency studies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) tracks the employment outlook for many careers in its Occupational Outlook Handbook (“OOH”). In short, if you want to know the employment outlook for any given industry or trade, these are the two sources to turn to.

Tatooist adding shadowsTattoo artists fall under the category of Craft and Fine Artists in the OOH. According to the Handbook, the job description for Craft and Fine Artists is described as follows:

“Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition. Craft artists create handmade objects, such as pottery, glassware, textiles or other objects that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create original works of art for their aesthetic value, rather than for a functional one.”

According to the BLS, Craft and Fine Artists’ 2012 median pay was $44,380 per year, or $21.34 per hour. However, let’s be realistic, you don’t have to search far to find a brilliant starving artist or a no talent scratcher who seems to have a line of paying customers out his kitchen door. That being said, numbers about income in the industry are as subjective as the art itself.

According to Random Facts Website, there are over 20,000 tattoo studios in the United States with a new one being opened every day. (It would be interesting to know, how many studios close annually as well . . .we will find that tidbit for a future blog.)

All that being said, let drill down some industry facts:

  • Annual revenue of the tattoo industry – $2.3 billion
  • Percent of Americans who have a tattoo21
  • Percent of women who have a tattoo – 23
  • Percent of men who have a tattoo – 19
  • Percent of 18-to-25-year-olds who have a tattoo36
  • Percent of 30-to-39-year-olds who have a tattoo – 38
  • Percent of 50-to-64-year-olds who have a tattoo – 11
  • Cost of a laser tattoo removal session – $200
  • Sessions needed to remove a tattoo – 10-15
  • Percentage increase in tattoo removals over the last year – 32

The most troubling number is the increase of removals . . . Which is why we often cover the topic of “Think before you ink” and warning consumers to stay away from unlicensed scratchers? Does it work? Rhetorical, question of course . . . We shall continue trying to educate.

With the booming popularity of tattoos, it also means that new industries, too, are growing, from entertainment to tattoo removal offices to trade and industry supply houses who provide everything studios needs for clean and sterile  functioning and to convey the look they are after. If you are connected to tattooing professionally you are part of the largest growth this craft has ever seen. And if you are a collector of tattoos, you are not alone… but will this tattoo fad fade away once it’s no longer a hit on television? Regardless, nearly 40% of 18-39 year olds have a tattoo, which means we are in the midst of one hell of revolution- one base on freedom and artistic expression!

Sources:, Week Magazine,


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