Most Common Reasons Why People Get Tattoos

by in Lifestyle
People Get Tattoos

Some people get tattoos because they like the art aspect of it, but others have never thought about getting tatted until something happened. Which reason for getting a tattoo is the most common?

Why Do People Get Tattoos? Most Common Reasons Revealed

Not even a hundred years ago, tattoos were considered as a sinister thing, reserved only for criminals or dubious characters. Luckily, society has changed and evolved since then. 

Just like some aspects of fashion, gambling and online pokies, tattoo lovers are no longer being looked at as different or unacceptable. In the US, it has been estimated that at least 36% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have one tattoo minimum, which shows how commonplace they have become.

While there are still a lot of misconceptions and prejudice surrounding the matter, millions of people all over the world choose to overlook it and see tattoos as a positive thing. 

But have you ever asked yourself what leads people to get a tattoo? After all, it’s a major commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Let’s look at what the public had to say!

Top Reasons for Getting Tattoos

An online survey, conducted in December 2019, asked 1,021 people in the US what would make them get a tattoo. 43% of the participants said that honouring a loved one is a good reason to get a tattoo. The second most popular answer, which got 37% of the votes, was for style or beauty reasons.

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Other popular answers included getting a tattoo as a symbol for a new chapter in life (34%), self-identification (29%), remembering a place or an event (27%), and a means to cover scars or birthmarks (17%). Other, less popular reasons included expressing political values (7%) or getting paid to do so (also 7%). 

Those numbers show that even though people might get tatted on a whim or as a part of a beautification process, most people think of tattoos as an emotional outlet. It allows them to express themselves and show the world who they are – without using any words. 

What Do People Think About Tattoos?

In a study conducted in South Africa, researchers were trying to understand how tattoos are perceived by the public. Most of the participants in the study (54%) had positive opinions about tattoos, even though they didn’t necessarily have them themselves.

They described tattoos as attractive, and those who get tatted were cool, fashionable, spontaneous, creative, free-spirited, adventurous, brave, and more. Someone even described people with tattoos as “…the most real people [you] ever will meet.”

However, not everyone views tattoos in such a positive way. 18% of those who took part in the study had mixed feelings about tattoos. They said that tattoos are acceptable under certain conditions, for example, when it has a personal meaning. And yet, they still believed that tattoos reflect badly on your levels of professionalism at work, and they might look inappropriate at a certain age. Of course, the number of tattoos, their size and placement also made a difference when it came to acceptance levels.  

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Even though those who had tattoos reported that they did experience cases of prejudice and judging from others, they deemed those encounters insignificant. They said that the only opinion that matters is their own, and those who have an issue with tattoos should get over their prejudice. 

In Conclusion

People get tattoos for lots of reasons: some see them as an opportunity to remind themselves of someone special or an important event, but it can also be for fun reasons like accepting a dare or deciding to be spontaneous. 

At the end of the day, tattoos allow people to show their personality, and even though they are not accepted by all, they are still beautiful.


Luzelle Naudé, Jacques Jordaan, and Luna Bergh. “My Body is My Journal, and My Tattoos are My Story”: South African Psychology Students’ Reflections on Tattoo Practices. Current Psychology. February 2019, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 177–186.

Statistica: Which of these would be reasons for you to have a tattoo done?

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