It’s no secret that cremation is gaining in popularity and continues to outpace traditional burials. According to the National Funeral Director’s Association, the percentage of people choosing cremation is expected to surpass 70% by the year 2040, while conventional burials will decrease to around 16%. But why the shift and will conventional burials become a thing of the past? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why cremation is becoming more widespread and why traditional burials will always be appealing to some.
Why do people choose cremation?
Hands down the #1 reason people choose cremation is affordability. The average cost of a basic cremation minus any frills such as visiting hours or memorial service is about $2,500, and direct cremation can be as low as $800. Cremation does not require a grave or headstone, and cremation urns are typically cheaper than caskets and don’t require pallbearers. By comparison, the median cost of a burial with a coffin and full funeral home services is about $7,500.
It’s More Personal
With more people breaking from tradition and decoupling religion from death, families and friends are choosing to celebrate death in more unique and personal ways. End of life celebrations are now popping up, taking on many different forms; dinner at a favorite restaurant, a hike on a beloved trail, or a paddle out to a local surf spot. And unlike burials, cremation provides the flexibility to scatter ashes at sea, in your backyard, sprinkled over a reef, planted as a memorial tree, or even shot off in fireworks. Cremation jewelry and tattoos are also gaining popularity as a way to permanently memorialize a loved one.
A new alternative to standard cremation is now emerging. Twenty states now permit a process called Alkaline Hydrolysis, sometimes called “flameless” cremation, which uses a mixture of pressurized water and chemicals to dissolve the body, making cremation an attractive option to those who previously felt standard cremation by heat or flame sounded ominous.
Some people don’t like the idea of being put into a box and the body decaying over time or potentially being dug up at some point.
While cremation does require a significant amount of energy and releases carbon emissions, generally it is considered the “greener” and eco-friendlier option.