Comprised of funeral homes and standalone crematoriums that perform both human and pet cremations, the cremation services industry is a market that has sustained, and is expected to continue to sustain, strong growth. In the past decade the cremation industry has seen steady growth, and has recently become the preferred method of post-death disposition, rising from 47.9% in 2015 to an estimated 56.0% in 2020. With each passing year more and more funeral homes are finding a greater share of their revenue is coming from cremations rather than the traditional burial.
The growth of cremation as the most popular method of disposing of the dead is expected to continue over the next several decades as well. In fact, some projections predict that by 2040 nearly 80% of funerals will opt for cremations over burials. We will examine several factors that can help explain the growing popularity of cremation.
It Is More Affordable
One of the main driving factors behind the increasing trend of cremation is simply that it is a more affordable option than a burial. The difference in financial burden between a cremation and a traditional funeral and burial can play a huge role when families are arranging funeral services, especially in the
event of an untimely death. Depending on the funeral and cremation packages available in your area, one could expect to save anywhere from $2,000-$10,000 by opting for a cremation over a burial.
Even amongst the cremation options there can be a huge difference in the costs. For example, a traditional cremation with a funeral still involves the costs associated with renting a funeral home and embalming the deceased body for display. A direct cremation, on the other hand, only involved the costs incurred when cremating a dead body, and an urn to hold the ashes, which is considerably less expensive than the price of a casket. In many cities in the U.S., you can find direct cremation services for under $1,000. Simply put, more and more people are opting for cremation over burial because it makes the most sense financially.
It Has Gained Religious Acceptance
While cremation was once frowned upon in certain religions, such as Christianity, that has started to change in recent years. With the popularity of cremation growing, so too has its acceptance among many different religions. As the times change, so do the opinions of people, as such many religions have adjusted their doctrines to accommodate the growing popularity of cremation. In addition to religions becoming more accepting of cremation, the United States is also becoming more secular. These two factors combined have helped contribute to the growing popularity of cremation over the more traditional burial.
Cremation is More Green
With the impacts of climate change on the modern world, people are more conscience of the environmental impact of their actions. While more research has shown that cremation is not as environmentally friendly as it was once believed to be, it is still better for the environment than the traditional burial. An emerging trend within the funeral and cremation industry has been born out of the desire to lessen our ecological impact on the Earth: Green burials. Similar to the increasing popularity of cremation, green funeral services are also expected to become more common in the next decade, as
more people try to lessen their ecological footprints and become more aware of this option. For now, many people who are interested in helping combat climate change are doing so by opting for cremation.