2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report Released: Rate of Cremation Surpasses That of Burial in 2015

July 5, 2016
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The rate of cremation has surpassed that of burial in 2015 according to a report released today by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA). The 2016 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.

According to the 2015 data in the report, the rate of cremation is projected to be 48.5 percent and the rate of burial is projected to be 45.4 percent.

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2005final    2010final    2015projected     2017projected    2020projected    2030projected   
Cremation (%) 32.3 40.4 48.5 51.6 56.0 71.1
Burial (%) 61.4 53.3 45.4 42.3 38.0 23.2

“Funeral professionals have been serving families that prefer cremation for years,” said NFDA President Bob Arrington, CCO. “To us and the families we serve, cremation isn’t just a ‘trend.’ Whether a family chooses cremation or burial, funeral directors want to help families understand the many options they have to commemorate the life of their loved one. And, whether that family prefers a funeral, memorial service, a celebration of life or some other life tribute, funeral directors will be there to offer support and guidance to make their loved one’s service a meaningful and healing experience.”

He continued, “The 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report will help our members understand consumer needs 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 2016 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.
  • Many families who choose cremation also commemorate their loved one’s life. More than one-third (36.6 percent) associate cremation with a memorial service and 10.4 percent associate cremation with a viewing and funeral. Only 7.4 percent do not associate cremation with any kind of service at all.
  • New in the report this year is cremation and burial data for Canada. For 2015, the rate of cremation is 65.5 percent and that of burial is 33.2 percent. The rate of cremation is expected to grow to 89.4 percent by 2035.

The state and national death, cremation and burial projections contained in the 2016 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 2016 Annual NFDA Consumer Awareness & Preferences Study and 2015 NFDA General Price List Survey.

The 2016 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 (Resources >> Business & Technical >> Cremation).

The 2016 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 49 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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