Popularity of Cremation Continues to Increase

Like clothing styles, hairstyles and music, funeral and cemetery preferences change and evolve to reflect the generation they represent.

One of the biggest changes is the steadily growing popularity of cremation. The number of individuals choosing cremation has progressively increased every year since the 1960s. The Cremation Association of North America (CANA) indicated that cremation was the choice for nearly 39 percent of Americans in 2009. That number is likely to jump to 46 percent by 2015, and approach 60 percent by 2025, the association predicts. CANA indicates that 2016 is the year that the number of cremations and burials will be equal.

So, why are people choosing cremations? Here are the main reasons:

  • Weakened ties to tradition. Some people prefer to avoid the “typical” funeral experience and choose something non-traditional.
  • Increased education. People are more knowledgeable about cremation.
  • Looser religious restrictions.
  • Increased mobility of American families.
  • Cremation is an eco-friendly alternative to burial.

The choice for cremation isn’t the only rising statistic. Baby boomers, the approximately 78.2 million people born between 1946 and 1964, are aging. The oldest boomers — including George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Cher and Donald Trump — started turning 60 in 2006. More and more of them are making end-of-life arrangements for their parents plus preplanning for themselves. The U.S. death rate is projected to rise from 8.9 per 1,000 individuals in 2010 to 9.3 per 1,000 in 2020. According to CANA, the increase in the rate of U.S. cremations continues to exceed the increase in deaths when comparing 2008 actual figures to 2015 projected rates. CANA expects an increase of about 371,296 more cremations and 260,132 more deaths in 2015 than in 2008.

It appears that many of the aging boomers are choosing cremation. As a result, those in the end-of-life industry are embracing the cremation culture, thus providing more options than ever before. You may not realize it, but there are a number of ways to memorialize a loved one who chooses cremation. Many families understand the importance of holding funeral services to help the bereaved family heal and to reflect and say goodbye to a loved one. Choosing cremation in no way eliminates the choice of combining the cremation with a traditional, personalized service.

Nearly 50 percent of cremation families currently choose to take their cremated remains away from the cemetery for scattering or storage. Because a very high percentage of those who intended to scatter do not follow through after five years, arrangers ask families to consider a permanent resting place for their loved one — a place the family, kids and grandkids can visit and share lasting memories. Many families do not know that cemeteries have various options for memorializing cremated remains, including:

  • Ground burial
  • Community mausoleums with spaces called cremation niches
  • Private family columbariums
  • Cremation gardens containing benches, pedestals and other permanent memorials called “cremorials,” all within a park-like setting
Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011

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