The Most Popular Subculture, Ranked

Choose the subculture you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 22, 2024 06:52
Subcultures form unique and vibrant communities, each offering its own flavors, values, and experiences that appeal to its followers. By identifying and ranking these diverse groups, individuals seeking community can more easily find a space where they feel they belong. This continuous input from the community helps keep the rankings fresh and relevant. By participating in these rankings, each voter contributes to a collective understanding of what resonates with contemporary society. Your votes help paint a clearer picture of current tastes and preferences, ensuring that each subculture is fairly represented. Let your voice be heard and help guide others who are navigating this landscape.

What Is the Most Popular Subculture?

  1. 1
    With its origins in African American and Latino communities in the late 1970s, hip hop culture has become one of the most popular subcultures in the world, influencing music, fashion, and art.
    Hip hop culture is a vibrant and influential subculture that emerged in the African American and Latinx communities in the 1970s in the Bronx, New York City. It encompasses various artistic elements such as rap music, DJing, breakdancing, and graffiti art. Hip hop culture is characterized by its emphasis on self-expression, creativity, and social commentary.
    • Rap Music: The genre of music that forms the core of hip hop culture, characterized by rhythmic rhyming speech and wordplay.
    • DJing: The art of playing and manipulating recorded music, including mixing and scratching.
    • Breakdancing: An acrobatic street dance form that involves intricate footwork, spins, and freezes.
    • Graffiti Art: Visual art that is spray-painted or drawn on surfaces, often used as a means of self-expression and identity.
    • Sampling: The practice of incorporating portions of pre-existing songs into new compositions.
  2. 2
    Originating in the mid-1970s, punk subculture is characterized by its DIY ethos, anti-establishment attitudes, and distinctive fashion.
    The Punk subculture is a vibrant and rebellious countercultural movement that emerged in the mid-1970s. It originated primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom as a response to the mainstream music, fashion, and social norms of the time. Punk subculture encompasses various aspects such as music, fashion, ideology, and attitude.
    • Music: Punk rock, characterized by its fast-paced, energetic, and raw sound.
    • Fashion: Distinctive fashion style involving DIY (do-it-yourself) clothing, torn jeans, band t-shirts, leather jackets, unconventional hairstyles, and body piercings.
    • Attitude: Anti-establishment, non-conformist, and often rebellious attitude towards authority and mainstream culture.
    • Individuality: Emphasis on individuality and self-expression, rejecting societal expectations and norms.
    • Political and Social Activism: Engagement in political and social issues, advocating for equality, anti-racism, anti-sexism, and other progressive causes.
  3. 3
    Goth subculture
    Rama · CC BY-SA 2.0 fr
    Emerging in the late 1970s, goth subculture is known for its dark, macabre aesthetic, often associated with Victorian-era fashion and music genres such as post-punk and deathrock.
    The Goth subculture is a popular subculture that emerged in the late 1970s in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by its dark, mysterious, and often melancholic aesthetic, as well as an interest in gothic literature, music, fashion, and art. Goths typically express themselves through their unique style, which includes wearing dark clothing, heavy makeup, and accessories such as crucifixes, lace, and leather. This subculture often emphasizes individualism, non-conformity, and an appreciation for the macabre.
    • Fashion: Dark, alternative clothing style often featuring black garments, corsets, lace, leather, fishnets, and platform boots.
    • Music: Gothic rock, post-punk, darkwave, and alternative music genres are popular within the Goth subculture.
    • Art: A strong interest in gothic and macabre art forms, including literature, visual arts, and film.
    • Lifestyle: Goths often have an affinity for the mysterious, the melancholic, and the obscure. Many also have an interest in horror, literature, and historical periods.
    • Symbols: Gothic symbols such as crosses, skulls, bats, and ravens are commonly used within the subculture.
  4. 4
    Originating in the UK in the late 1980s, rave culture is characterized by its electronic dance music, all-night parties, and distinctive fashion.
  5. 5
    With the rise of video games in the 1980s, gamer subculture has become more mainstream, characterized by its love of gaming, cosplay, and online communities.
    The Gamer subculture is a community of individuals who identify themselves as gamers and are actively engaged in playing video games. It is a diverse and globally spread subculture, encompassing people from various age groups, backgrounds, and genders. Gamers often form communities, participate in online platforms, attend gaming conventions, and engage in discussions about gaming-related topics.
    • Dedicated Platforms: Gamers use dedicated platforms to play video games such as consoles (e.g., PlayStation, Xbox) or PCs.
    • Online Multiplayer: Many games have online multiplayer capabilities, allowing gamers to connect and play with others around the world.
    • Competitive Gameplay: Competitive gaming, also known as esports, has become a significant aspect of the Gamer subculture with professional players, tournaments, and spectatorship.
    • Streaming and Content Creation: Gamers often stream their gameplay or create content on platforms like Twitch or YouTube to share their experiences with others.
    • Gaming Communities: Gamers form tight-knit communities, both online and offline, where they connect, discuss games, share tips, and socialize with like-minded individuals.
  6. 6
    Originating in California in the 1950s, skateboarding subculture has become a global phenomenon, characterized by its distinctive fashion, music, and DIY ethos.
    The skateboarding subculture is a community centered around the sport and lifestyle of skateboarding. It represents a unique blend of extreme sports, art, music, fashion, and a DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos. Skateboarders, also known as skaters, create a distinct subculture that fosters creativity, individuality, and a sense of rebellion.
    • Skateboard Design: Distinctive skateboard designs, including decks, trucks, and wheels.
    • Skate Spots: Skateboarding often takes place in dedicated skate parks, as well as various urban environments like streets, plazas, and empty swimming pools.
    • Trick Repertoire: An extensive range of tricks and maneuvers, including ollies, kickflips, grinds, and aerial tricks.
    • Skateboarding Brands: A myriad of skateboarding brands, such as Powell Peralta, Santa Cruz Skateboards, and Thrasher, which have contributed to the subculture's identity.
    • Clothing Style: Distinctive clothing style, often characterized by baggy clothes, band t-shirts, skate shoe brands like Vans or DC Shoes, and skateboarding-specific brands.
  7. 7
    With the rise of Japanese animation in the 1980s, anime subculture has become more popular worldwide, characterized by its love of anime, manga, cosplay, and conventions.
    The Anime subculture refers to a vibrant and widespread community that revolves around Japanese animation. It encompasses fans, enthusiasts, and creators worldwide who actively engage with anime in various forms.
    • Artistic Style: Anime is characterized by its distinct artistic style, featuring colorful visuals, exaggerated facial expressions, large eyes, and vibrant backgrounds.
    • Diverse Genres: Anime covers a wide range of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, romance, mecha, slice-of-life, horror, and many others.
    • Long-Form Series: Anime often consists of long-form series that span multiple episodes, allowing for in-depth storytelling and character development.
    • Manga Adaptations: Many anime series are adapted from manga (Japanese comics), forming an interconnected multimedia landscape where fans can explore both mediums.
    • Fandom Events: Anime conventions and expos are popular events where fans gather to celebrate their shared love for the subculture, cosplay, participate in panels, and meet special guests.
  8. 8
    With the rise of Korean pop music in the 2000s, K-pop subculture has become more popular worldwide, characterized by its love of K-pop music, fashion, and dance.
    The K-pop subculture refers to the global phenomenon of Korean pop music and its accompanying entertainment industry. K-pop, short for Korean pop, has gained immense popularity worldwide in recent years, captivating fans with its catchy songs, synchronized dance routines, and visually stunning music videos.
    • Idol Groups: K-pop is characterized by the creation and promotion of idol groups, which typically consist of several members who are trained in singing, dancing, and performing.
    • Fan Culture: K-pop has a dedicated fan culture that plays a significant role in supporting and promoting their favorite artists through fan clubs, online communities, and fan-organized events.
    • Global Reach: K-pop has achieved immense success on the international stage, with fans from all over the world gaining access to Korean music through social media platforms, streaming services, and global concerts.
    • Outfit Styling: K-pop is known for its extravagant and meticulously styled outfits, often featuring bold fashion choices and unique concepts that contribute to the visual appeal of performances.
    • Music Videos: K-pop music videos are highly produced and visually impactful, often incorporating intricate choreography, elaborate sets, and stunning visual effects.
  9. 9
    Originating in Hawaii in the 18th century, surfing subculture has become a global phenomenon, characterized by its distinctive fashion, music, and laid-back lifestyle.
  10. 10
    With its roots in the post-World War II era, biker subculture is characterized by its love of motorcycles, leather jackets, and freedom of the open road.
    The Biker subculture is a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who share a passion for motorcycles and embody a distinct lifestyle. It emerged following the end of World War II and gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Bikers typically form motorcycle clubs and engage in various activities such as group rides, charity events, and motorcycle customization. They often adopt a rebellious image and embrace freedom, individuality, and a sense of adventure. The Biker subculture has been portrayed in movies and popularized by iconic figures such as Marlon Brando in 'The Wild One' and Peter Fonda in 'Easy Rider'.
    • Motorcycles: Bikers ride a variety of motorcycles, ranging from cruisers and choppers to sport bikes and vintage classics.
    • Leather attire: Bikers often wear leather jackets, vests, and pants as a symbol of their subculture and for protection while riding.
    • Motorcycle clubs: Biker subculture is closely associated with the formation of motorcycle clubs, which provide a sense of community and brotherhood among riders.
    • Outlaw image: Bikers sometimes adopt an outlaw or rebellious image, often depicted by motorcycle clubs with a 1% patch identifying them as outlaws.
    • Group rides: Bikers enjoy riding in groups, often participating in organized rides, rallies, and events.

Missing your favorite subculture?


Ranking factors for popular subculture

  1. Size and demographics
    How many people belong to the subculture, and what is their age range, gender, ethnic/cultural background, geographic spread, etc.? A larger and more diverse group may be considered more popular than a smaller and more homogeneous one.
  2. Visibility and exposure
    How visible is the subculture in mainstream media, entertainment, fashion, art, and social media? Has it gained significant exposure in recent years, or been around for a long time with enduring influence? A subculture with greater exposure may be considered more well-known and popular.
  3. Authenticity and distinctiveness
    Does the subculture have a clear and distinctive identity, values, beliefs, practices, and symbols that differentiate it from other subcultures and from mainstream culture? Is it viewed as authentic and genuine by its members and outsiders, or has it become commercialized and diluted over time? A subculture with a strong and authentic identity may be considered more attractive and popular to its members and to outside observers.
  4. Creativity and innovation
    Does the subculture generate new ideas, trends, and expressions that challenge or enrich mainstream culture? Does it have a dynamic and innovative scene of artists, musicians, designers, writers, etc. who push the boundaries and create new forms of expression? A subculture with a thriving culture of creativity and innovation may be considered more influential and popular in artistic and intellectual circles.
  5. Social impact and activism
    Does the subculture have a political, social, or environmental agenda that it advocates for or seeks to change? Does it have a history of activism, advocacy, or social justice work that has had an impact locally or globally? A subculture with a strong sense of community and social justice may be considered more relevant and popular among activists and socially conscious individuals.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular subculture. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or subculture is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 220 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each subculture once every 24 hours. The rank of each subculture is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular subculture

Subcultures are defined as groups within a larger culture that share common beliefs, interests, and practices. They can range from music genres like punk and hip hop, to fashion movements like goth and emo, to fandoms like Trekkies and Potterheads. Subcultures often develop as a response to mainstream culture and provide a sense of community for those who feel like they don't fit in with the dominant culture. With thousands of subcultures around the world, it can be difficult to pinpoint the most popular one. However, by analyzing trends in social media, music, and fashion, we can get a better idea of which subcultures are currently making the biggest impact.

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