In 2016, the NFDA reported that the cremation rate had surpassed the burial rate in the USA for the first time in history. For the past 50 years, the United States cremation rate has steadily increased. It is forecasted that 75% of Americans will be choosing cremation vs burial by the year 2035.
Source: Statista, 2016
So, why cremation? What has caused this shift in popularity from burial to cremation? There are several reasons why more people are choosing cremation, but it really comes down to 5 main benefits of cremation:
1) Cremation is Cheaper
This has definitely been the most impactful benefit of cremation. On average cremation services cost about 45-50% less than burial services. With cremation, you avoid major expenses incurred by buying a headstone, plot, and casket.
2) Cremation is Considered to be “Green”
Many people believe cremation is a more environmentally friendly option than burial. Often the body is embalmed when people choose burial services. Embalming involves harsh chemicals that people have grown concerned about once the body is buried under ground. People feel like these chemicals can impact the soil and ground water.
3) Cemetery Availability
If a cemetery is popular, eventually no more plot spaces will be available. With fewer plot spaces available, the shorter supply means the costs to purchase a plot is also increasing. Cremation avoids you having to find a burial plot.
4) A Simpler Process
A cremation service can offer a much simpler process than a burial service. Usually when people choose burial, they choose to have a traditional funeral service along with the burial. In this case, you need to arrange things with the cemetery, organize pallbearers, plan a visitation, and much more. While some people still choose to hold a traditional funeral along with a cremation, a celebration of life or memorial service are the types of ceremonies that are more associated and conducive to being paired with a cremation. These ceremonies can function with a lot less of the components of that a traditional funeral has.
5) Flexibility to Do What You Want
To build off the last benefit, a cremation service also allows for more flexibility. Because you can hold a celebration of life or a memorial service after the cremation, there are no time restrictions. In fact, it’s quite common for a family to hold these types of ceremonies weeks or even months after the death has occurred. This means you can take your time to plan a more meaningful service and ensure guests can plan ahead and schedule themselves to be there. Furthermore, celebrations of life and memorial services do not operate on common traditions and rituals that traditional funerals do. Celebrations of life and memorial services give you the flexibility to make the ceremonies much more personal and unique. They can take place almost anywhere and can take any type of format and style that you want.
Also cremation gives you way more options in terms of what you can do with your loved one’s ashes. Burial is fairly restrictive in the sense that you are either buried in a cemetery plot or interred in a mausoleum.