With Spring in full swing and Summer almost upon us, Australians are opting for the usual attire of shorts and beachwear. With more skin on display, if there is a perception that we’ve become more tattooed than ever – that’s because we have.

One in four Australians has a tattoo

Australia is experiencing growth in the proportion of people becoming ‘inked’. Our latest study shows one in four Australians has a tattoo (25%) – a record high. This is up from 20% in 2018 and 19% in 2016. The proportion of women with a tattoo now exceeds that of men by more than ten per cent (31% women compared to 19% men). Women are also more likely to have got their first tattoo between the ages of 26 and 45 (31% of women compared to 23% of men).

Not just youthful rebellion or a one-off

While most Australians with a tattoo got their first between the ages of 18 and 25 (48%), over a third (36%) of people got their first tattoo when aged 26 or older. Three in five Australians with a tattoo (61%) have more than one, while two in five (39%) currently have just one. A third (33%) have two to three tattoos and 18% have more than six.

Not without regrets

One in five (22%) Australians with a tattoo say that they regret, to some extent, getting a tattoo, and one in four (25%) have commenced or looked into tattoo removal.

Three in ten feel the need to cover their tattoo/s

When attending a job interview or formal occasion, three in ten (31%) people with a tattoo feel the need to cover it up. Women are more likely than men to say they feel the need to cover up (33% of women compared to 29% of men), while men are more likely to say they do not feel the need to cover their tattoos at all (52% of men compared to 42% of women).

3/10 feel need to cover up their tattoo

“The proportion of Australians with a tattoo has steadily been increasing over the last few years and marks a shift away from linking tattoos to youthful rebellion, low class or crime. As the trends show, tattoos are also more common among women, and older women at that, indicating that tattoos are moving to a form of self-expression and symbolic meaning. The fact that social media regularly shows celebrities, movie stars and sports people with tattoos is helping to change consumer attitudes and behaviour towards tattoos and how they are perceived. While 31% of people with a tattoo still feel the need to cover them when attending a job interview or formal occasion, employers today are more accepting of tattoos on display as they become more prevalent in society and everyday life.” – Ashley Fell, Social Researcher

Download the full media release here.

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