Cremation has overtaken burial as the American ‘preferred’ option for death-care. In 2018, it is forecast that 53% of Americans will opt for cremation over burial. The cremation rate is increasing year-on-year exponentially, and forecast to reach almost 80% over the next 17 years.
Why is cremation becoming the preferred choice for families?
#1 The cost of cremation vs. burial
Choosing cremation instead of burial is likely to reduce a funeral bill by half, if not two-thirds. Whereas a typical burial funeral will cost a family between $8,000 – $15,000, a cremation funeral cost in the region of $3,000 – $8,000. This all depends upon the funeral products and services selected. However, without question, cremation is cheaper. There is no requirement for a casket, burial vault or cemetery plot, and embalming of the deceased. All of which add thousands of dollars to a funeral bill.
#2 Interest in more environmentally-friendly alternatives
Some families see cremation as a friendlier alternative to a traditional burial, where embalming fluids, concrete and steel are deposited into the earth. Gas & omissions are still an environmental concern, but less so, especially with the newer cremation machines that cremate faster and use less gas. In some cases, families are seeking out greener alternatives, such as burying ashes in a tree pod.
#3 Families are more dispersed
People have moved around so much more today and families are often dispersed across states, or even countries. This can make it so much more difficult to coordinate a funeral burial service and bring people together at short notice. Families are not so tied to the notion of a family burial plot if relatives have moved away, and the notion of it being a memorial site to visit is not of the same significance if families live far away.
#4 The ‘unconventional’ and personalization are key aspects of funeral tributes & memorialization
Cremation is gaining acceptance, and even popularity, as we all become more accepting of the unconventional. We are moving into a new era where traditional values are not held in as high esteem. New ‘norms’ are being embraced…. and being, or doing, the unconventional is popularized.
We have seen examples of this emerging within funeral services, as families opt for non-traditional services, and lean towards services as life celebration events.
Today, we seek personalization in our everyday lives, so why not take this ‘to the grave’…..so to speak! Cremation offers much more versatility in what kind of memorial services can be held, ……when, where and how.
Even the options of personalizing artifacts with cremated remains is becoming a new industry, with a whole plethora of creative ways to design cremation tributes and scatter ashes.
#5 We need more flexibility in arranging funeral services
Cremation offers much more flexibility in arranging a funeral. Firstly, it can enable an immediate disposition of the deceased without the immediate need to arrange a funeral service. One of the hardest things when unexpectedly faced with arranging a funeral service, is the need to make so many decisions quickly. Often families can find this so overwhelming, and later regret that they didn’t have more time to think through the choices they made.
Choosing a cremation can help remove that immediate need to make decisions about holding a funeral service and what to do to memorialize the remains. A cremation memorial service is where the cremation is conducted first, and then a memorial service held afterwards. Of course, with a cremation, there is no ‘rush’ to hold the funeral (or memorial) service immediately. This can allow time for families to reflect on exactly what kind of memorial service to conduct. With time to prepare and grieve, families can then find that a memorial service held later is much more meaningful and up-lifting. It can provide time for families to plan to get together, especially if family are dispersed.
Considering these key reasons why families choose cremation can help us to understand why the cremation rate is increasing. Cremation offers an affordable, flexible, environmentally-friendly and personalized option to approach death-care.