Let’s talk about cremation.
For starters, it is quickly becoming the new “normal” – current statistics from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) show that the US cremation rate topped 50.1% in 2016. In addition, future projections from the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) estimate that cremation rates will reach 78.8% by the year 2035. It’s clear that cremation is no longer a passing fad.
So what makes cremation so popular? While one obvious factor is price (the cost of a funeral these days can run up to $10,000), families are increasingly choosing cremation for reasons of personal choice, environmental considerations, and changes in religious beliefs. These differing factors behind the growth in cremation make it more important than ever to have meaningful conversations with family members about your final wishes.
Strong Cremation Preferences
A nationwide survey conducted by EternityGardens.com sheds new light on US consumer preferences for cremation. EternityGardens.com is a technology platform that engages and educates cremation families while connecting them with cemeteries and service providers where they may lay to rest cremated remains.
Here’s what the survey found:
- 77% of respondents said they would consider cremation over burial, and more than 80% knew of someone who was cremated.
- Less than 10% of respondents have made any concrete plans regarding their final wishes.
- Of those who have made final arrangements, more than 51% have arranged for cremation.
“Our survey indicates a clear preference for cremation among US consumers,” says Darrell Hill, Founder+CEO of EternityGardens.com. “Cremation trends have been growing for decades and will continue to do so. The Baby Boomers will embrace cremation as no other generation before.”
What Happens to Cremated Remains?
While the trend toward cremation is clear, what is less evident is what happens to cremated remains that go home with families.
“Somewhere between 60% and 80% of cremated remains go home to families with the intention of scattering or some future placement,” says Barbara Kemmis, Executive Director of CANA. “However, media accounts of cremated remains found in storage lockers or foreclosed homes, and people carrying urns while being rescued from disasters, prove that the ideal final resting place for remains is in a cemetery, a columbarium, or a scattering garden.”
The options to lay to rest cremated remains are growing every day. In the survey, cremation consumers listed their final placement preferences as
- 92% want their remains in a location meaningful to them and their families.
- 84% want their remains to support the life of bushes, trees, flowers, or plant life.
- 80% want their remains located in view of an ocean or other body of water.
- 65% want their remains located in view of a mountain range.
- Interestingly, 35% want their remains to remain in an urn.
“Our survey respondents also showed a strong preference toward eco-friendly options for laying to rest cremated remains,” Hill said. “Nearly 77% of respondents felt that cremation is better for the environment than burying a body.”
US consumers are definitely choosing cremation. And they should also make the equally important decision to discuss their final wishes with family members, consult with a local funeral home or cemetery, and educate themselves about the many options available for cremation. Having this discussion with family sooner rather than later is indeed a true gift.
Author: Christine Gatuiria, freelance writer and Founder at www.funeralcreative.com.