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Cremation is becoming the new norm

Written by Diane Archer

Ann Carrns reports for The New York Times that fewer and fewer people are opting to be buried after they die. Rather, cremation is becoming the new norm. 

The National Funeral Directors Association issued a report this year indicating that more than half of Americans are choosing cremation and the rate of cremation is still rising. Cremation is the burning of a body using fire or heat.

In the next 20 years, the expectation is that only about one in six people will opt for burials. Burials are many times more expensive than cremation. And, fewer people see the need for a religious service after they die.

Cremation costs start at about $1,200, with $2,400 as the typical cost. Burials typically cost $7,400. But, it’s important to comparison shop for funeral services because prices can vary significantly. The FTC offers a funeral costs and pricing checklist, which you can view here.

The cost of cremation usually includes pickup and transportation of the body, filing of necessary paperwork, the cremation itself and the boxing of the ashes for the family. You do not need to buy a coffin. And, you do not need to have a memorial service at the funeral home.

Increasingly, funeral homes offer cremation to people as an option. A new cremation process, alkaline hydrolisis, is now permissible in 20 states. It uses pressurized water and chemicals to decompose the body. And, in Washington State, above ground decomposition–effectively, composting–is permissible.

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