(MSNBC) – Whether you approve of tattoos or not, some of the world’s sexiest men and women — from Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox to Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt — sport ink. This made us wonder — where in the world do most of the tattooed bods in America live? To figure out which U.S. cities were the most tattoo-friendly, we perused chat forums and looked up every state in several public directories, including Yellow Pages, Google listings, Tattoo Yellow Pages and AAA Tattoo Directory, to find those with the most listed tattoo and permanent makeup shops. Then we looked up which cities in those states had the most shops listed per capita with populations based on latest U.S. Census numbers. We also took into consideration the city’s demographics and whether or not it hosted tattoo conventions, remembering that not all tattoo parlors were listed in the directories. Here are the cities that love ink the most, starting at Number One….
No. 1: Miami Beach, Fla.
“Bienvenido a Miami (Beach).” Home to TLC’s “Miami Ink” and the famous South Beach, this party town has a ton of tattoo shops to go around. Averaging about 24 shops per 100,000 people, Miami Beach is dense with ink. (Guess being able to sunbathe nude near one of the vainest cities in the country didn’t quite do it for them — or maybe they just want works of art to display while they soak up the sun in the buff.)
No. 2: Las Vegas, Nev.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … and on your body forever. With 94 listed tattoo shops, Sin City — host of one of the biggest tattoo conventions in the country — comes in at just above 16 shops per 100,000 people, most of whom are between the ages of 25 and 44. The city also has one of the country’s highest marriage, divorce and suicide rates, in addition to holding a place on our Worst Skin, Worst Hair, Worst B.O. and Ugliest Cities lists. Remember that next time you want to document your trip after one too many giant margaritas on The Strip.
No. 3: Richmond, Va.
Perhaps most surprising on our list is the city of Richmond, Va., which averages about 14.5 tattoo shops per 100,000 people — and that’s just within the city itself. Likely boosting its numbers is its big arts and college community, and the fact that the surrounding suburbs and cities contain plenty more tattoo shops — the most of which per capita appeared in the small town of Colonial Heights, which has five shops for just under 17,000 residents.
No. 4: Flint, Mich.
We looked into Detroit, home of the heavily tattooed Eminem, but surprise! It looks like the city of Flint — best known as General Motors’ birthplace — wins for most tattoo shops per capita in this area. While its under-18 population rules supreme, Flint’s 25-to-44 age range is a mere 1 percent behind, making young people the most numerous — and most likely to wear full sleeves of ink — in the city.
No. 5: Portland, Ore.
Like Austin, Portland is mostly 25- to 44-year-olds, but it has more tattoo shops per capita (about 12 per 100,000 people). Considered by “Popular Science” and several other publications to be the country’s “Greenest” city, Portland is reportedly known for its huge arts and crafts community as well as its music-loving residents, nature-loving hipsters and collection of rock music icons — most of whom apparently love body art.
No. 6: Austin, Texas
Called “accepting” of heavily tattooed individuals, this increasingly hip college town and “Live Music Capital of the World” is visited by young, “artsy” tattooed people from all over, at least once a year, at its South by Southwest (SXSW) festival. Not to mention its Reggae Festival and Film Festival, among others. Most of Austin’s population is also age 25 to 44, prime for tattoo getters, and there are about 7.5 shops per 100,000 people. One chat forum we came across had several individuals say they’d never seen so many tattooed people in one city.
No. 7: San Francisco, Calif.
With seven tattoo parlors per 100,000 people in San Francisco alone (we didn’t count nearby Oakland and college town Berkeley), San Francisco ranks super high on our list. The Bay Area was even mentioned (along with New York City, which didn’t make our list) as the only American places in Matador Nights’ “Five Destinations for the Tattooed Traveler,” thanks to its status as an underground “haven” for tattoo lovers in the ’60s.
No. 8: Honolulu, Hawaii
With its gorgeous beaches, amazing climate and abundance of tiny-umbrella-topped frosty cocktails, Honolulu already looks like a great place to live (paradise, much?). But add the props it earned from us for Best Hair, Best Skin and Best-Looking people, and you’ve got one of the best places to live in the whole country. Now, it can add a large number of tattoo shops, 6.5 per 100,000 people, to its impressive list of attributes — that is, if ink is your thing.
No. 9: Kansas City, Mo.
With about six tattoo shops per 100,000 people, Kansas City came up in several sites we looked at as another “tattoo-friendly” place to live — not bad for the not-so-tattoo-friendly Midwest. Why? We’re guessing it has something to do with KC being the bustling center of the Kansas City metro area and the state’s largest city, along with having a thriving population of below-30 folk, more than 10 colleges and universities, and a big performing arts scene.
No. 10: Los Angeles, Calif.
Home to some of the most popular tattooed celebs, like Angelina Jolie and Kat Von D (of “LA Ink”), Los Angeles boasts about 150 tattoo parlors within 10 miles of the city center. (Heck, we counted 15 in one of the country’s most famous tattoo “strips,” Venice Beach, alone.) Its surrounding area also plays host to some of the country’s largest tattoo expos. And while the amount of people living in L.A. (we’re talking millions) hurts their per capita ranking (which is about four shops per 100,000 people), as one tattoo lover we found put it, L.A.’s tattoo-friendly “vibe” is hard to find elsewhere.
I am pleased to announce the very first Ami James Tattoo Blog Carnival. The first edition will be posted on Sep 24, 2010 on my blog – it should be a lot of fun and I look forward to reading your entries. Submission deadline is Sept. 22 so don’t be late!
A blog carnival is a type of blog event, similar to a magazine, that’s dedicated to a particular topic, (in this case tattoos) and is published on a regular schedule.
Here’s an example of a blog carnival incase you’re a little confused.
Everyone is welcome to contribute. The only requirement is that the submitted post is primarily in English. You don’t need to have tattoos to take part, and you don’t even need to be the author to submit a story. The submission must be somehow related to the current theme which, for the first edition is, “my most memorable tattoo experience.”
Carnival entries should first be posted online. Once posted, the url to the article must be sent to the host by sending the url by email, leaving the url in the comment section of the announcement post (this page), or submitting it through the Blog Carnival widget which automatically forwards it to the host.
Blog carnival submissions should abide by the following rules:
No material that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the material
No falsehoods or misrepresentations that could be considered harmful
No material that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, violate any law, or is otherwise inappropriate
No advertisements or solicitations of business
No non-English material unless translations are included
No off-topic material, i.e. articles unrelated to the announced carnival theme
No material which insults, belittles, contains profanity or in other negative ways affects those reading it
No more than one entry per author for each carnival
The carnival host may refuse inclusion of an article in the carnival at his or her sole discretion without the need for explanation
Here are some tips to ensure your carnival entry is well received:
Submit your entry prior to the deadline
Recent articles take preference over old blog posts
Link to this Ami James Blog Carnival page
Multimedia is acceptable as long as it is embedded within a blog post
Remember that readers may be clicking through dozens of entries, so:
Include a picture to catch their attention
Use the first paragraph to summarize what the article is about
Don’t make your article excessively long
You can help by adding the blog carnival widget to your blog, by retweeting this post or by submitting it to your favorite social network via the ‘make it viral’ widget below.
I’m here in Vegas at the Magic Show 2010. We’re all setup and there’s quite a buzz around the booth.
Stop by and say hi if you’re at the show!
Miami Ink’s apprentice Yoji Harada having a good time while tattooing a bonji – year of the dragon he says – on Billy. Great camera work Marky!