NFDA Releases Results of Member General Price List Survey

August 1, 2013
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Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) released the results of its 2013 Member General Price List Study today. The report provides a comprehensive picture of the diversity of costs associated with a funeral, providing data that breaks down services by geographic region, size of firm and size of city/town.

Perhaps the most frequently requested piece of information produced by the survey is the national median cost of a funeral. Since the 1960s, NFDA has calculated the median cost of a funeral by totaling the costs of the following items: non-declinable basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming, other preparation of the body, a metal casket, use of the funeral home and staff for viewing, use of the funeral home and staff for a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse, use of a service car/van, and a basic memorial printed package (e.g., memorial cards, register book, etc.).

The national median cost of a funeral for calendar year 2012 was $7,045. If a vault is included, something that is typically required by a cemetery, the median cost is $8,343. The cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs, crematory fees (if cremation is selected instead of burial), or miscellaneous cash-advance items, such as flowers and obituaries. Many factors contribute to the final determination of how an individual funeral home prices its good and services, including the firm’s business philosophy and the market in which it operates.

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National Average Cost of an Adult Funeral: 2012 vs. 2009

Item

2012*

2009*

% Change

Non-declinable basic services fee $1,975 $1,817 8.7%
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home $285 $250 14.0%
Embalming $695 $628 10.7%
Other preparation of the body $225 $200 12.5%
Use of facilities/staff for viewing $400 $395 1.3%
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $495 $450 10.0%
Hearse $295 $275 7.3%
Service car/van $130 $125 4.0%
Basic memorial printed package $150 $125 20.0%
Subtotal without casket $4,650 $4,265 9.0%
Metal casket (average charge for the most frequently purchased item) $2,395 $2,295 4.4%
Average Cost of a Funeral $7,045 $6,560 7.4%
Vault (average charge for the most frequently purchased item) $1,298 $1,195 8.6%
Total with vault $8,343 $7,755 7.6%
* Median Price – The amount at which half of the figures fall below and half are above.

Prices have not been adjusted for inflation.

Over the past decade, the median cost of an adult funeral in the United States has increased approximately 35.2 percent. This is similar to the 1991-1998 period for which studies were completed, where the cost of a funeral increased by 34 percent. The percent increase during the 1980s (1980-1989) was significantly higher (87 percent), reflecting the significantly higher inflation rates of the 1980s.

Survey methodology

The paper-based survey was mailed to a random sample of 2,990 NFDA member funeral home owners on May 13, 2013, to gather General Price List and other related data for the calendar year ending December 31, 2012. Of the 2,990 potential respondents, a total of 406 members anonymously completed the survey, yielding a 13.6 percent response rate which accurately reflects (with 95 percent confidence) NFDA’s total membership within a range of ±4.7 percent.

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving 19,700 individual members who represent more than 10,000 funeral homes in the United States and 39 countries around the world. NFDA is the trusted leader, beacon for ethics and the strongest advocate for the profession. NFDA is the association of choice because it offers funeral professionals comprehensive educational resources, tools to manage successful businesses, guidance to become pillars in their communities and the expertise to foster future generations of funeral professionals. NFDA is headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.

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