Americans say the 1980’s were the best decade for music

One in four Americans have at least one tattoo

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Research Manager, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 1, 2021 -  A recent Ipsos poll finds that one quarter of Americans have at least one tattoo, unchanged from the amount in 2012. Millennials are the most likely generation to have tattoos, and Americans are more likely to have multiple tattoos than just one. In addition, the poll finds that Americans believe the 1980’s produced the best music, followed by the 1970’s and 1990’s. In terms of preferred genres of music, Rock and Pop came out on top. 

Detailed Findings

1. One quarter of Americans (26%) have at least one tattoo.

  • Since 2012, the amount of Americans with tattoos has not changed significantly. One in five (21%) Americans had tattoos in 2012, compared to about a quarter (26%) today.
  • Americans now are about twice as likely to have multiple tattoos (17%) than just one (9%).
  • Two in five Millennials report having at least one tattoo (41%), compared to 32% of Gen Xers and just one in ten (13%) Baby Boomers.
  • Among those who have tattoos, majority report being happy with them (88%), but about one in ten (12%) regret the decision to get them. Baby Boomers were the most likely to regret the decision (19%).
  • Majority of tattoos were done prior to the start of the pandemic in March 2020 (95%).

2. Americans say the 80's was the decade with the best decade music.

  • Four in ten Americans (40%) say the 1980's produced the best music, followed closely by the 70's (37%) and the 90's (32%).
  • Unsurprisingly, beliefs on the best music decade varied by generation. Baby Boomers largely preferred the 70's (51%) and 60's (49%), Millennials the 90's (49%), and Gen Z the early 2000's (41%).
  • In terms of music genre, Rock (44%) and Pop (36%) were the top most preferred genres to listen to, with Country coming in third at 32%.
  • A narrow majority of Americans (55%) still use FM Radio on a regular basis to listen to music. Fewer Americans (38%) use streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music. As with preferred decade of music, choices for how to listen to music varied significantly by generation, with less than a quarter of Baby Boomers using streaming services (22%), compared to 47% of Millennials and 59% of Gen Z.

About the Study 

This Ipsos poll was conducted August 27 – 30, 2021, by Ipsos using the probability-based KnowledgePanel®. This poll is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,016 general population adults age 18 or older. The sample includes 100 Gen Zers, 223 Millennials, 238 Gen Xers, and 455 Baby Boomers. Generation Z includes ages 18-25, Millennials include ages 26-39, Generation X includes ages 40-55, and Baby Boomers include ages older than 55.

The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, for results based on the entire sample of adults. The margin of sampling error takes into account the design effect, which was 1.20. The margin of sampling error is higher and varies for results based on other sub-samples. In our reporting of the findings, percentage points are rounded off to the nearest whole number. As a result, percentages in a given table column may total slightly higher or lower than 100%. In questions that permit multiple responses, columns may total substantially more than 100%, depending on the number of different responses offered by each respondent.

The survey was conducted using KnowledgePanel, the largest and most well-established online probability-based panel that is representative of the adult US population. Our recruitment process employs a scientifically developed addressed-based sampling methodology using the latest Delivery Sequence File of the USPS – a database with full coverage of all delivery points in the US. Households invited to join the panel are randomly selected from all available households in the U.S. Persons in the sampled households are invited to join and participate in the panel. Those selected who do not already have internet access are provided a tablet and internet connection at no cost to the panel member. Those who join the panel and who are selected to participate in a survey are sent a unique password-protected log-in used to complete surveys online. As a result of our recruitment and sampling methodologies, samples from KnowledgePanel cover all households regardless of their phone or internet status and findings can be reported with a margin of sampling error and projected to the general population.

The data were weighted to adjust for gender by age, race/ethnicity, education, Census region, metropolitan status, household income, race/ethnicity by gender, race/ethnicity by age, and race/ethnicity by education. The demographic benchmarks came from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) except for the metropolitan status, which is not available from the 1-year ACS data, were obtained from the 2020 March Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

  • Gender (Male, Female) by Age (18–25, 26–39, 40-54 and 55+)
  • Race/Hispanic Ethnicity (White Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian, Other)
  • Education (Less than High School, High School, Some College, Bachelor or higher)
  • Census Region (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) by Metropolitan status (Metro, non-Metro)
  • Household Income (Under $25,000, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000-$74,999, $75,000-$99,999, $100,000-$149,999, $150,000+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Gender (Male, Female)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Age (18-44, 45+)
  • Race/ethnicity (White/Other Non-Hispanic, Black Non-Hispanic, Latinx, Asian) by Education (Some College or less, Bachelor and beyond)

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Chris Jackson
Senior Vice President, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2025
[email protected]

Kate Silverstein
Media Relations Specialist, U.S., Public Affairs
+1 718 755-8829
[email protected]

About Ipsos 

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

The author(s)
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Director, US, Public Affairs
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Talia Wiseman Research Manager, US, Public Affairs