Cremation is gaining popularity in the United States. Every year, more and more people choose cremation and this year, for the first time, more than half of all deaths in the United States ended in cremation at 50.2 percent.
Why the change? Why are more people than ever choosing cremation over burial? There are many reasons for the changing trend, but the biggest shifts can be tied to changing attitudes toward memorial services, religion and costs.
Changing Views Toward Cremation
Many families are moving away from traditional funeral services and moving toward more joyous events celebrating the life of the deceased, often called a “celebration of life”. A recent CNN story reported that the number of people wanting a complete funeral with visitation has declined from 26.6 percent to 14.1 percent in just the last 3 years. Families who once mourned the loss of a loved one in a religious ceremony now may opt to honor their family members with a small private ceremony at a favorite restaurant or in their own home. Not to mention, families aren’t as tied to an area as they once were, so the family burial plot seems to have lost favor and been replaced with an urn as a better way to keep family members close by.
Religious Acceptance of Cremation
Many religions have long found cremation to be an acceptable, and even preferred practice. Several eastern religions have long cremated their dead. But for many, cremation has only recently been accepted into their religion; and with that acceptance, the increase in cremations. The Catholic church has seen a steady increase since it was given the cremation green light in 1963.
Cremation can be a much simpler, more cost-effective choice. There are less costs involved than with a burial that requires a casket, embalming, the plot of land and other services as well. While you can add to the costs of a cremation when you purchase additional items such as a niche, which is like an indoor vault for an urn, at its simplest, cremation is typically the lowest cost approach.
Other Cremation Considerations
Geography also plays into the equation when choosing cremation. The top three states to choose cremation in 2016 all favor this choice by more than 70 percent — Washington (76.4%), Nevada (75.6%) and Hawaii (74.3%). Why western states? According to the National Funeral Association, it goes back to looser religious ties, higher education rates and the transient populations […]