The majority of Americans believe that cremation is an acceptable disposition choice, while death care industry professionals are reporting higher numbers than ever before. Cremation has recently surpassed traditional burial as the most popular form of final disposition in the United States. More people are choosing cremation for a variety of reasons, so it’s important to understand why this trend is growing.\
*Top reasons include environmental concerns about land use and casket interment, high funeral costs, medical advancements that have rendered some forms of traditional burial obsolete or impractical, more liberalized religious views towards cremation and personal preference. This increase in popularity extends across all age groups today – from Millennials to Baby Boomers and beyond. No matter why you feel that cremation may be right for you, we hope that the following insights and resources prove helpful as you consider this final step in your end-of-life arrangements.
*The average cost of a traditional funeral with interment can range from $7,000 to over $10,000 according to the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The NFDA also reports that an escalating number of consumers are opting for cremation, due in large part to the significantly reduced cost – between 1/4th and 1/3rd the price of a traditional burial service. Many families opt to take these savings and put them towards a memorial or celebration event which can honor loved one’s life while still staying within the family’s budget.
*Cremation is a process, not a location – which means families have more options as to where they hold the service and/or ceremony. Most crematories offer outdoor areas that can be used for memorialization or interment, with indoor spaces that are ideal for services and gatherings. Many funeral homes also contain chapels on their premises that families can use free of charge during visitation hours, with space available for overflow attendees if necessary. Crematory staff members will work with grieving families every step of the way to help them design an event appropriate to their loved one’s life and preferences – whether traditional or contemporary in nature.
*In addition to these practical concerns, modern cultural values are also influencing the trend towards cremation. More people than ever before place a high value on protecting our environment – and while cremation isn’t an entirely “green” choice by definition (more about this later), it does allow for the conservation of energy and natural resources. Funeral professionals can help you transport remains to off-site memorialization locations or burial sites via hearse or common carrier services so there is no need to use additional fossil fuels driving long distances in personal vehicles.
*Cremations do not require nearly as much land use as traditional funeral services because they involve placing ashes into specially designed containers called urns that take up less space than caskets or vaults. For this reason, cremation is a popular choice for those who wish to be buried on family property or in a designated garden area. As the Baby Boomer generation ages and retirement communities continue to expand, many people are opting to have remains interred on their own property as opposed to paying costly monthly fees at communal cemeteries – another factor contributing to the growing popularity of cremation as an end-of-life disposition choice.
*Cremations hold special significance for many religious faiths because it ensures that there will be no physical barrier between the earth and heaven after death, allowing souls unrestricted movement back and forth between these dimensions. In contrast, some religions view traditional burial principles as a means for allowing Mother Nature herself a chance to restore balance to the body (such as through decomposition) before re-entering the earth. *
*The process of cremation itself is governed by federal law, which dictates how human remains must be transported, stored and processed in order for them to be considered “cremains” – or what most funeral homes call ashes. If you are interested in learning more about these rules and regulations, visit Funeral Consumers Alliance for additional information.
Additionally, there are more than 1,000 crematories across the US that are accredited by organizations such as the American Association of Crematory Directors (AACD) and the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). These associations provide an educational platform for funeral professionals who wish to stay abreast of environmentally-friendly service practices, new technology or equipment updates, and other industry advancements.