My sister got a small heart tattoo on her chest when she turned 60. She “unveiled” it at the pool when we were in Florida on a big family vacation. The first words out of my mouth were “I’m going to tell Mom.” I was just kidding, but I have to admit I was a little shocked that she did it.
The popularity of tattoos has increased exponentially over the last 10-15 years. You can’t walk down the street and not see someone sporting leg tats or arm sleeves. Tattoos have become a mainstream part of society.
Today, 36% of Americans aged 18-25 have at least one tattoo, according to a report conducted by the Pew Research Center. That’s more than one third of America’s young adults. A 2015 Harris Poll also confirmed that tattoos are more prevalent among younger Americans, compared to 13% of Baby Boomers (my sister) and 10% of Matures (Greatest Generation). Millennials and Gen Xers (37% and 24%) are more likely than their elders (6% Baby Boomers, 2% Matures) to have multiple tattoos.
It should come as no surprise, then, that the tattoo industry is the sixth fastest-growing retail business in America. How did this industry achieve that status? Twenty-five years ago, tattoos were seen primarily on sailors, prison inmates, and members of motorcycle gangs. Today it might be your mother, co-worker, sister, or child who is seen sporting “skin art.”
Financially, tattoos may be very expensive depending on the design (the size and the detail), the amount of time the artist needs to complete the project (some are quicker than others), and where you live. But conservative estimates range from $50 to $5000 (for a full back tattoo or arm sleeve). The Top Ten reasons people get a tattoo, according to Inked, are as follows:
1—In memory of someone
2—To express creativity
3—To feel whole
5—To spread a message
6—To be spontaneous
7—Because it’s trendy
8—You love the art
Below are some of the more recent statistics about tattoo usage and cost:
What about regrets?
Surveys show that about one in five people who got a tattoo regret their decision to turn their skin into a permanent piece of art. Men are more likely than women to have second thoughts about their tattoo (that surprised me).
More than 45,000 people endured medical procedures in 2013 to erase evidence of those tattoos. That’s a jump of nearly 5,000 over 2011 figures.
Getting your ex’s name you don’t like anymore erased off your skin doesn’t come cheap. The average cost runs around $500-600, but if you’ve got a larger piece, it can add thousands of dollars to the final bill.
Think carefully about the money, time, and consequences of acquiring body art. Like any art work you display in the home, you may eventually get tired of it. Unfortunately, tattoos aren’t something you can take off the wall and donate to Goodwill.