If it seems like there are more Australians with tattoos currently that’s because there are. Australia is experiencing growth in the proportion of the nation opting to ‘inked’. This growth has been particularly evident among women with the proportion of Australian women with a tattoo now exceeding that of men. Here is the key summary from our research into Australians and their attitudes and behaviours regarding tattoos, based on a national survey of 1,011 representative  Australians.

1 in 5 Australians has a tattoo

1 in 5 (19%) Australians has one or more tattoos. And with females it is almost in 1 and 4 (24%).

Not Just youthful rebellion

While a number of individuals report getting tattoos when they were younger, over a third (36%) of people got their first tattoo aged 26 or older, and 1 in 5 (20%) Australians got their first tattoo aged mid 30s or older. 3 in 10 (29%) of Gen Y ‘s (aged 22 – 36) have a tattoo, the largest portion of any age group.

Most tattooed Australians have more than one

Of the Australians who have tattoos, almost half (48%) only have one tattoo, 30% have two to three tattoos, and a further 15% have between four and nine, with another 7% having 10 or more tattoos.

“Many life-markers have disappeared from Australia’s lives – from christenings, first Communions and marriages, to first pay cheques and moving out of home. This has created a yearning to symbolise the chapters of life with new markers and tattoos are part of the new symbolism. In record numbers, Australians are marking milestones, commitments or life-chapters not just with bracelet charms or certificates, but tattoos. In a generation, tattoos have been transformed from a sign of rebellion and non-conformity, to symbols of personal meaning and life-change.” – Mark McCrindle.

Words almost as popular as symbols

While for the majority (72%) of tattooed Australians their most recent tattoo was a picture or symbol, for 1 in 5 (19%) it was a phrase or a word. The biggest growth in tattoo design is in the phrase or word category which has seen a massive increase over the last few years.

Not without regrets

More than 1 in 4 (27%) Australians with tattoos say that they regret, to some extent, getting a tattoo. 15% have commenced or looked into tattoo removal.

Tattooed parents, tattooed children?

Of tattooed Australians, 17% would discourage or strongly discourage their adult children from getting a tattoo. However, almost a third would encourage them to get a tattoo, and just over half of parents would neither encourage for discourage their adult children to get a tattoo if asked for advice.