Which Country’s Residents Have the Most Tattoos?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 10, 2020
    Last Updated: November 10, 2020

If you ask your parents, it seems like everyone has a tattoo these days, but it mostly depends on where you live. Tattoos are more accepted in various parts of the world than they are in others, and even then, the level of acceptance largely depends on the local population. People hardly blink at the sight of someone with tattooed sleeves in a large city, but it’s probably a very different story in a small town.


What’s the Most Tattooed Country?

It may come as a surprise, but the country with the highest percentage of tattooed people actually isn’t the United States. It’s Italy. According to recent data, 48 percent of Italians have at least one tattoo, compared to 46 percent of Americans.

The survey, which was conducted in April of 2018, polled nearly 10,000 people in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Sweden falls just behind Italy, with 47 percent of respondents polled having at least one tattoo. Israel and Turkey make up the bottom percentile of the countries surveyed, with a respective 25 percent and 30 percent of respondents having at least one tattoo. On average, 38 percent of the total number of residents surveyed had one tattoo or more.

Ironically, Italians are more likely to only have one tattoo, while Americans and Swedes are more likely to have multiple tattoos. The median number of tattoos is around four per respondent; one-quarter of the population polled had only one tattoo, with the other three-quarters having two tattoos or more.

Who Has Tattoos?

A variety of factors come into play when looking at the details. Survey respondents encompassed women and men, city dwellers and small-town residents, the well-educated, and the less well-educated. People of all ages from all walks of life have tattoos, but let’s take a closer look at the numbers.

Age

While tattoos are more common amongst the under-50 crowd, 28 percent of respondents age 50 and over have at least one tattoo. In the 14-29 age bracket, 32 percent of those polled have tattoos, and the number dropped to 30 percent for the 30-49 age group.

Tattoo Remorse

Many people are cautioned against getting tattoos, with “you’ll regret it when you’re older” serving as a constant refrain from worried parents. Surprisingly, 72 percent of those polled claimed they don’t have any regrets about getting a tattoo.

According to a survey conducted by Market Research Future, the tattoo removal industry will reach $4.8 billion by 2023. Those most likely to splurge on tattoo removal are Danes, Swedes, and Israelis, who average a respective 37 percent, 38 percent, and 38 percent on the “why did I do that?” scale. The least likely to have their tattoos removed are Italians and Greeks, coming in at 15 percent and 18 percent in terms of regrets.

On average, around 28 percent of respondents polled have experienced some regret over their decision to get a tattoo. (The United States came in at 34 percent on the regret-o-meter.)

Gender Gap

While women with tattoos are more likely to be perceived negatively than tattooed men, women are still more likely to have tattoos in almost every country polled. The two notable exceptions are Russia, with 39 percent of men having tattoos versus a mere 27 percent of women, and South Africa, where 35 percent of men and 31 percent of women have at least one tattoo.

Other Factors

Contrary to popular belief, people with higher levels of education are more likely to have tattoos than those without higher education, making up a respective 32 percent and 26 percent. The statistics remain the same even when factoring in other demographics like age, gender, and location.

Speaking of location, 32 percent of urban dwellers have tattoos, as opposed to only 26 percent of those who live in rural areas.

The Results Are In

Did the results surprise you? Because tattoos have become much more mainstream in the United States, it’s easy to overlook how popular they are worldwide. It’s more socially acceptable now than ever to have a tattoo, so it’s the best time to take the plunge.


That being said, there are a few steps you should take before getting a tattoo. Find an artist whose work you love, take some time to think about the design you want, and consider the placement of your tattoo beforehand. Tattoos are forever, so you want to make sure you get something you love.