Metro Weekly

Hawaii is the Most Tattoo-Obsessed State, Study Finds

Washington, D.C. ranked fourth among the most tattoo-happy U.S. states, while Montana came in dead last at 51.

Photo: Benjamin Lehman / Unsplash

Findings from a new study conducted by LL Tattoo in Bern, Switzerland, offer insight into the evolving body ink culture across the United States, and unsurprisingly, Hawaii topped the list.

The state, rich in meaningful tattoo heritage, boasted searches for terms like “tattoo shops near me” at a rate of about 12 per 1,000 people across the islands.

Montana, meanwhile, ranked last, with those in the state doing similar searches at a rate less than half that of The Aloha Stage — 5.01 per 1,000 people.

So, what landed Washington, D.C., in fourth place?

Researchers suggest that a unique dichotomy brews in the nation’s capital. Visitors can easily find tattoo studios concentrated in the downtown tourist core where they can encrust their bodies with popular American symbols such as eagles and the ol’ stars and stripes.

Meanwhile, locals may have a vested interest in displaying their uniqueness to contrast the heavy backdrop of politics and pageantry the city is recognized for globally. The math worked out to 6,958 people expressing interest in body art, or about 10 out of every 1,000 in the area.

Aside from national pride and cultural heritage, Senior Data Scientist Mia Bardot pointed to legal quirks in some of the Top 10 states on the list as possible incentives for the “ink obsessed.”

For instance, Tennessee has no statewide regulations, allowing tattoo shops in small towns and cities to thrive. The state ranked third in the U.S., with 67,381 interested people (9.77/1,000).

Additionally, Delaware’s tax-free shopping makes it an appealing destination for those seeking larger or more expensive pieces. At number six, the state had 8,623 people searching for tattoo studios (9.15/1,000).

Colorado ranked second in the nation with nearly 60,000 interested residents (9.89/1,000), Florida completed the top five with over 200,000 interested people (9.75/1,000), Georgia hit number seven (8.97/1,000), Nevada took the eighth slot (8.92/1,000), North Carolina was number nine (8.92/1,000), and finally Alabama rounding off the top 10 with 42,431 searchers at a rate of 8.49/1,000 people.

While Montana was in 51st place, population size may not be to blame.

Two of the country’s most populous states were also toward the bottom of the list. California ranked 49th (5.34/1,000), and New York came in at 46 with just 5.59/1,000 people showing interest in finding a tattoo artist.

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!