Illustration of a man tattooing a woman

Tattoos are a trend that dates back thousands of years, and today 30% of all Americans have at least one. But unlike most style and fashion trends, tattoos are permanent (unless you opt for laser tattoo removal). While many Americans wear their artwork proudly and love showing off their tattoos, that is not the case for everyone.

In this study, we set out to find which cities and states in the U.S. are filled with the most tattoo regret. To determine this, our team surveyed tattooed Americans across the country. We asked a variety of questions from how many, if any, tattoos they regret to how much money they have spent on their permanent artwork. Read on to see how the state you call home ranked!

Key Takeaways

  • Of Americans surveyed, 1 in 4 regret at least one of their tattoos.
  • Tattooed Americans are more likely to regret the placement or size of their tattoo than the imagery itself.
  • Women are more likely than men to regret at least one of their tattoos.
  • Residents in Alabama spend more money on their tattoos on average than any other state ($1,005.90).
  • Nearly 1 in 10 tattooed Americans admit to instantly regretting a tattoo once it was on their body.

The Most Tattoo Regret in the U.S.

U.S. map showing the cities and states with the most and least regret
To determine where Americans with the most tattoo regret reside, we surveyed Americans in every state and asked a variety of questions including how many tattoos they regret, why they regret their tattoo, if they have had a tattoo removed or covered up, and more. For each answer that was associated with regretting their tattoo(s), we assigned a point. Using this 0-100 scale, we ranked cities and states across the U.S. from the least to most regret.

Leading the way for the states is Alabama with a score of 75.5 out of 100. Residents in the state are the most likely to regret four or five of their tattoos. Alabama also tied with Maryland for the most residents to say they regretted a tattoo as soon as it was on their body.

In 2nd and 3rd place are Arizona and Iowa with a score of 70.5 and 70.3 out of 100, respectively. Nearly 1 in 6 Arizona and Iowa residents say they regret two or three of their tattoos. On the other end of the spectrum, residents in Kansas (32.5), North Carolina (33.0), and Mississippi (36.5) have the least tattoo regret.

On a more local level, Phoenix, AZ, ranked first for the cities with the most tattoo regret with a score of 75.0 out of 100. Residents there are likely to regret one or two of their tattoos. Next up are Oklahoma City, OK, and Las Vegas, NV, with scores of 67.9 and 65.4 out of 100, respectively.
 Graphic showing data callouts regarding Americans’ reasons for tattoo regret

While there are a variety of reasons for someone to regret their tattoo, nearly 1 in 10 tattooed Americans say their regret comes from the placement of their tattoo. For others, their regret stems from a change in relationships, as 1 in 25 people say they regret getting someone’s name tattooed on them.

Sometimes the regret simply comes with time, as 1 in 6 people say they regret their tattoos now that they’re older. Of all the locations, a majority of people say they regret the tattoos on their upper and lower arms, as well as their lower legs.

Of those with regret, women are more likely than men to get another tattoo as a cover-up. In addition, 1 in 5 people say they choose to cover their tattoo(s) while at work.

Where Americans Have Spent the Most and Least on Tattoos

Two bar charts showing the states and cities that spend the most on tattoos on average

Our studies also showed that tattoo regret doesn’t only come from the tattoo itself, but from the money spent on the artwork. Tattoos aren’t always a quick decision—a typical tattoo can range anywhere from $50 for a small tattoo to several hundred for a larger, more detailed piece. For many, there is a great deal of time spent planning, scheduling, and saving money for their tattoos. Because of this, we decided to find the average amount of money each state has spent on tattoos. The average total by state includes those who have only paid for one tattoo, as well as people who have paid for multiple tattoos.

After coming in first for tattoo regret, we found it interesting that Alabama also claimed the number one spot for the average money spent on tattoos at $1,005.90. While that price may seem a bit steep, 1 in 6 tattooed Americans say they have spent more than $1,000 on their tattoos. In 2nd place was Connecticut with $939.55 spent on average, followed by Massachusetts with $884.52.

When it comes to spending the least, Oklahoma leads the way, only spending $262.70 on average. Following closely behind are residents of Indiana and West Virginia who spend $273.04 and $341.70 on average, respectively.

Tattoos are generally priced by size, but some artists simply charge less. This doesn’t always work out however, as 1 in 6 people say they regret getting a cheap tattoo because of its poor quality.

In addition, some people get away with cheaper or even free tattoos by avoiding an official studio altogether, as 1 in 6 people say they have been tattooed by someone who was not a professional.

As for cities, Chicago, IL, residents spend the most on tattoos at $970.34 on average. In 2nd is Boston, MA, at $791.94, while Denver, CO, came in 3rd at $776.11 on average.


No one goes into a tattoo appointment planning to hate their tattoo, but for many people, tattoo regret is all too real. Thankfully, there are options available outside of wearing long sleeves all summer.

With LaserAway, you can book a free consultation to see if laser tattoo removal is right for you. During the consultation, one of our specialists will walk you through the process and provide an estimate of how long the process will take.


In this study, we surveyed Americans with tattoos to find which states and cities have the most tattoo regret. We asked everything from how many tattoos they have and regret to how much money they have spent on their tattoos as well as whether they have ever been pressured into getting a tattoo.

We assigned answers that represented tattoo regret points and found the average score for each resident. We then averaged residents’ scores to find the average state/city score. Finally, the averaged scores were scaled 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most regret.