Feature

America's booming tattoo economy: By the numbers

Tattoos, once the ultimate rebel stamp, have become routine embellishments — fueling an ink industry that rakes in billions of dollars per year

To ink or not to ink? This week, the American Medical Association published what's considered to be the first scientific survey of tattoo removal, detailing which tattoos are hardest to remove (blue ink) and what factors reduce the odds of erasing the damn thing (smoking). The report is a sure sign that tattoos — once the province of rock stars and ne'er-do-wells — have become thoroughly mainstream. Indeed, today not only are tattoo artists enjoying a robust growth-industry, their counterparts — the tattoo-effacement experts — are busily tending to Americans who regret that faded tribal design encircling their biceps or have discovered that the Chinese character on their wrist has an unwelcome meaning. Here, a numerical guide to America's tattoo obsession:

$2.3 billion Annual revenue of the tattoo industry

15,000 Tattoo parlors in America

21 Percent of Americans who have a tattoo

23 Percent of women who have a tattoo

19 Percent of men who have a tattoo

36 Percent of 18-to-25-year-olds who have a tattoo

38 Percent of 30-to-39-year-olds who have a tattoo

11 Percent of 50-to-64-year-olds who have a tattoo

50 Percent of people who think having a tattoo is rebellious

$80 to $100 Average per hour cost of a tattoo

$150-$350 Per hour cost of a tattoo in Brooklyn, N.Y.

$200 Cost of a laser tattoo removal session

10-15 Sessions needed to remove a tattoo

32 Percentage increase in tattoo removals over the last year

Sources: Harris Interactive, Mental Floss, The Motley FoolNBC NewsPew Research CenterTattoo InfoThe Wall Street Journal (2)

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