It has been difficult to gather statistics from the internet and is actually a tedious exercise. Above all of that; the stats are usually out of date. I attempted to get some information and failed miserably. From the 25 people that responded to my survey (through FaceBook piercing/tattoo groups, to myspace friends and peers in my english class), these general assumptions can be gathered:
1. Those that have visible tattoos will hide them from bosses if they know that it would affect their employement.
2. Extreme forms of piercing, anything but the ear lobes, are still generally frowned upon if they are on the face.
3. More employers are working be more accepting of body art and are frequently communicating about the affects that body art will have with clients/customers.
4. Most people with tattoos are under the age of 30. Above the age of 30, tattoos are still taboo, but they are gaining interest.
5. Many tattoo artists will give a lecture before agreeing to tattoo the face or neck simply because that is one of the most frowned upon body modifications next to several, largely gauged (stretching the hole to fit a piece of jewelry with a larger than average circumference) piercings within the face.
My conclusion? I would have liked to arrange a long term, more randomization study. However, I do not have time for that and it is apparent that not many people do.
Here are some charts and stats from the internet:
This is a study done by Dr. Laumann
"Random digit dialing technology was used to obtain a national probability sample of 253 women and 247 men who were 18 to 50 years of age.
Of our respondents, 24% had tattoos and 14% had body piercings. Tattooing was equally common in both sexes, but body piercing was more common among women. Other associations were a lack of religious affiliation, extended jail time, previous drinking, and recreational drug use. Local medical complications, including broken teeth, were present in one third of those with body piercings. The prevalence of jewelry allergy increased with the number of piercings. Of those with tattoos, 17% were considering removal but none had had a tattoo removed.
This was a self-reported data set with a 33% response rate.
Tattooing and body piercing are associated with risk-taking activities. Body piercing has a high incidence of medical complications."
This site has a few Harris 2003 Stats
This site has another study by Dr. Laumann.. 2004 I believe but I cannot find a solid year
Vanishing Tattoos has another summary of the Harris 2003 stats
I do think that we need to do a newer study, but then again, by the time the study is underway, the college aged students will already have kids and good jobs (hopefully)