NFDA Releases Results of 2015 Member General Price List Survey, Burial Costs Increased 28 Percent

October 4, 2015
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Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) released the results of its latest Member General Price List Study today, which includes the median cost of a funeral with burial. For the first time, the report includes a calculation of the median cost of a funeral with cremation.

Median Cost of a Funeral With Burial

Since the 1960s, NFDA has calculated the median cost of a funeral with burial by totaling the costs of the following items: basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming and other preparation of the body (casketing, cosmetology, dressing and grooming), a metal casket, use of facilities and staff for viewing and 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 2014 was $7,181. If a vault is included, something that is typically required by a cemetery, the median cost is $8,508. The cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs or miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as for flowers or an obituary.

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Over the past decade, the median cost of an adult funeral in the United States has increased 28.6 percent. This is similar to the 2000-2009 period when the median cost of a funeral increased by 26.6 percent. The percent increase during the 1980s (1980-1989) was significantly higher (87 percent), reflecting the significantly higher inflation rates during that decade.

National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Burial: 2004 vs. 2014

Item

2014*

2004*

% Change

Nondeclinable basic services fee $2,000 $1,460 37.0%
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home $310 $195 59.0%
Embalming $695 $498 39.6%
Other preparation of the body $250 $174 42.9%
Use of facilities/staff for viewing $420 $339 23.9%
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $495 $395 25.3%
Hearse $318 $225 41.1%
Service car/van $143 $100 42.5%
Basic memorial printed package $155 $95 63.2%
Metal casket $2,395 $2,100 14.0%
Median Cost of a Funeral With Viewing and Burial $7,181 $5,582 28.6%
Vault $1,327 $998 33.0%
Total with vault $8,508 $6,580 29.3%
2004 prices have not been adjusted for inflation

* Median Price – The amount at which half of the figures fall below and half are above.

National Median Cost of a Funeral With Cremation

The national median cost of a cremation in 2014 was $6,078. NFDA calculated the median cost of a cost of an adult funeral with cremation by totaling the costs of the following items: basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming and other preparation of the body, use of facilities and staff for viewing and a funeral ceremony, use of a service car/van, basic memorial printed package, cremation fee, cremation casket and urn. The cost does not take into account vault, cemetery monument/marker costs or other miscellaneous cash advance charges.

National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Cremation

 

Item

2014*

Nondeclinable basic services fee $2,000
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home $310
Embalming $695
Other preparation of the body $250
Use of facilities/staff for viewing $420
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $495
Service car/van $143
Basic memorial printed package $155
Cremation fee (if firm uses a third-party)** $330
Cremation casket $1,000
Urn $280
Median Cost of a Funeral with Viewing and Cremation $6,078
* Median Price – The amount at which half of the figures fall below and half are above.

**65% of respondents use a third-party crematory (i.e., the funeral home does not own a crematory)

Survey methodology

A paper-based survey was mailed to 5,829 NFDA-member funeral home owners on June 19, 2015, to gather General Price List and other related data for the calendar year ending December 31, 2014. For the first time, members had the option of completing the survey online. A link to complete the survey was posted for three consecutive weeks in the NFDA Bulletin (electronic newsletter), and a reminder to complete the survey was emailed to all main contacts with a valid email address.

Of the potential respondents, a total of 1,046 members anonymously completed the survey (859 via mail and 187 online), which accurately reflects NFDA’s total membership (with 95% confidence) within a range of +2.8%.

Funeral professionals interested in purchasing a copy of the survey report should call NFDA at 800-228-6332 or visit www.nfda.org/resourcestore. The survey report is $75 for members of NFDA and $175 for nonmembers.

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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