Rate of Cremation Continues to Increase; Cremation Projected to Surpass Burial in 2015

July 21, 2015
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Brookfield, Wis. – The national rate of cremation is projected to surpass that of burial in 2015 according to a report released today by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report: Research, Statistics and Projections features statistics and in-depth analysis of consumer attitudes toward cremation. NFDA is the world’s leading and largest association representing funeral professionals.
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According to the 2013 final data in the report, the rate of cremation was 45.4 percent and the rate of burial was 48.7 percent. By the end of 2015, the rates of cremation and burial are projected to be 48.5 percent and 45.6 percent respectively. Should the 2015 projections bear out, the cremation rate will have increased by more than 50 percent over the last 10 years.
2005
final
2010
final
2013
final
2015
projected
2020
projected
2030
projected
Cremation (%)
32.3
40.4
45.4
48.5
56.2
71.0
Burial (%)
61.4
53.3
48.7
45.6
37.9
23.2
“Cremation isn’t just a trend – it’s a service that funeral professionals like me have been offering for years,” said NFDA President Robert Moore, IV, CFSP, CCO. “Whether a family chooses a viewing and funeral before cremation or a memorial service after, our duty is to help families understand their options so they can gather to honor the life of their loved one in a meaningful way.”
He continued, “The 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report will help NFDA members understand consumer preferences so we can better support the families we serve.”
In addition to statistical information for the United States and countries around the world for which reliable data is available, the 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report also contains data about consumer perceptions of end-of-life ceremonies and cremation.
  • There are many reasons why consumers choose cremation, including cost considerations, environmental concerns, fewer religious prohibitions, and changing consumer preferences, such as a desire for less ritualized funerals.
  • The majority of families who choose cremation also commemorate their loved one’s life: 28 percent choose to have a funeral with viewing before cremation and 37 percent have a memorial service after.
  • When talking about their own funerals, more than one-half of adults 40 and older would encourage their loved ones to plan a funeral or memorial ceremony. Only 17 percent of adults would discourage their loved ones from commemorating their life.
The state and national death, cremation and burial projections contained in the 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report were compiled with the assistance of experts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison Applied Population Laboratory Department of Community and Environmental Sociology. Other findings presented in this report are from proprietary NFDA research studies, such as the 2015 Consumer Awareness & Preferences Study and 2015 NFDA General Price List Survey.
The 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report: Research, Statistics and Projections is available to NFDA members at no charge. It can be downloaded from the NFDA website, www.nfda.org/tools/cremation.
The 2015 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report: Research, Statistics and Projections is part of the association’s effort to offering cutting-edge cremation tools and resources to funeral professionals. As the leading and largest funeral service association in the world, NFDA offers comprehensive cremation-related education; the profession’s leading cremation certification program, the Certified Crematory OperatorTM (CCO) program; a cremation consultation hotline; informational resources, such as the NFDA Guide to Selected OSHA Standards for Funeral Homes & Crematories and Opening a Crematory – Frequently Asked Questions for Funeral Directors; and more.
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, Wisconsin, and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.
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