2021 NFDA General Price List Study Shows Funeral Costs Not Rising as Fast as Rate of Inflation

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2021 NFDA General Price List Study Shows Funeral Costs Not Rising as Fast as Rate of Inflation

Brookfield, Wis. – While the prices for many goods and services are increasing rapidly, the cost of a funeral is not growing as fast as the rate of inflation. According to the 2021 National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) Member General Price List Study, the median cost of a funeral has increased only 6.6% over the past five years to $7,848 and the median cost of a funeral with cremation has increased 11.3% over the past five years to $6,970. The overall rate of inflation was 13.98% for the same period.

“Funeral homes offer a wide variety of options to meet financial needs and wishes. The primary role of funeral directors remains helping families understand the many options available to help them in order to commemorate the life of their loved one in meaningful way,” said NFDA Research Manager Deana Gillespie. “Every funeral home offers a unique services and pricing structure. Families should look for a funeral home that has a strong reputation with licensed funeral directors who understand their emotional needs and will be sensitive to their budget.”

National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Burial

Since the 1960s, NFDA has calculated the national median cost of a funeral with burial by totaling the cost 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 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 cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs or miscellaneous cash-advance charges, such as for flowers or an obituary.

Item20212016% Change
Nondeclinable basic services fee$2,300$2,1009.5%
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home$350$3257.7%
Embalming$775$7256.9%
Other preparation of the body$275$25010.0%
Use of facilities/staff for viewing$450$4255.9%
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony$515$5003.0%
Hearse$350$3257.7%
Service car/van$150$1500.0%
Printed materials (basic memorial package)$183$16014.1%
Metal burial casket$2,500$2,4004.2%
Median Cost of a Funeral with Viewing and Burial$7,848$7,3607.8%
Vault$1,572$1,39512.7%
Total with vault$9,420$8,7757.6%

National Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Cremation

NFDA calculates the national median cost of a cost of a funeral with cremation by totaling the cost 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 median cost does not include the price of interment in a cemetery, monument/marker costs or other miscellaneous cash advance charges.

Item20212016% Change
Nondeclinable basic services fee$2,300$2,1009.5%
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home$350$3257.7%
Embalming$775$7256.9%
Other preparation of the body$275$25010.0%
Use of facilities/staff for viewing$450$4255.9%
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony$515$5003.0%
Service car/van$150$1500.0%
Printed materials (basic memorial package)$183$16014.1%
Cremation fee (if firm uses a third-party)*$368$3505.0%
Cremation casket$1,310$1,00031.0%
Urn$295$2757.3%
Median Cost of a Funeral with Viewing and Cremation$6,970$6,26011.3%
*59.9% of respondents use a third-party crematory (i.e., the funeral home does not own a crematory)

Other national median costs reported in the survey for 2021 include:

  • Rental casket: $995
  • Metal Burial Casket: $2,500
  • Wood Burial Casket: $3,000
  • Green Burial Casket: $1,500
  • Cremation Casket: $1,310
  • Alternative Cremation Container: $150
  • Vault: $1,572
  • Urn: $295

Regional Costs

Costs for goods and services vary by region. Many factors contribute to the final determination of how an individual funeral home prices its goods and services, including the firm’s business philosophy and the market in which it operates.

Median Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Ceremony Followed by BurialMedian Cost of an Adult Funeral with Viewing and Cremation
New England CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT$7,881$7,069
Middle Atlantic NJ, NY, PA$8,093$7,463
South Atlantic DE, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, WV, VA$7,800$7,070
East South Central AL, KY, MS, TN$7,271$6,314
West South Central AR, LA, OK, TX$7,334$6,405
East North Central IL, IN, MI, OH, WI$7,868$6,953
West North Central IA, MN, KS, MO, ND, SD, NE$8,500$7,560
Mountain AZ, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, UT, WY$6,888$5,694
Pacific AK, CA, HI, OR, WA$7,225$6,028

Survey Methodology

A survey was mailed to 5,328 NFDA-member funeral homeowners on July 29, 2021, to gather General Price List and other related data. Members also had the option of completing the survey online. A link to complete the survey was emailed to all main contacts with a valid email address, posted for three consecutive weeks in the NFDA Bulletin (electronic newsletter), and a reminder to complete the survey was emailed to all main contacts as well.

Of the potential respondents, 814 members anonymously completed the survey, which accurately reflects NFDA’s total membership (with 95% confidence) within a range of +3.4%. Responses also accurately reflect NFDA’s membership by U.S. census district.

Order the 2021 GPL Survey Report

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

About NFDA

NFDA is the world’s leading and largest funeral service association, serving more than 20,000 individual members who represent nearly 11,000 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, Wis., and has an office in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.nfda.org.