Cremation Rate Surpasses That of Burial in 2015

A new study by the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA), the world’s leading association representing funeral directors, has shown that for the first time in history, Americans are choosing cremation services over burial services to honor their loved ones. The 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report shows how the country has adopted cremation in 2015 as the preferred method of caring for those who have passed away, which states are choosing cremation services, and how the cremation rate for the country is expected to rise over time.

The cremation rate in America for 2015 is projected to be 48.5 percent according to the study, and the burial rate for 2015 is projected to be 45.4 percent. In 2005, the NFDA conducted a similar study and found the cremation rate was only 32.3 percent and the burial rate was 61.4 percent. The cremation rate in America has been growing steadily since the latter half of the 20th century, and this new study shows that by 2030 nearly 3 out of 4 Americans will choose cremation if the trend continues as expected. Cremation is most popular in the western states, Florida, and the Northeast, and burial is more popular in the South and the Midwest. Some states, such as Hawaii, boast even higher cremation rates. The 2015 projected cremation rate in Hawaii is 73.3 percent, and is expected to reach 86.4 percent by 2030.

The 2016 NFDA Cremation and Burial Report also featured information concerning Canada’s choices in funeral services. Over half of all Canadians are choosing cremation services with a cremation rate of 65.5 percent and a burial rate of 33.2 percent. The cremation rate is expected to rise in Canada as well to 89.4 percent by 2035.

The study also found that those who chose cremation were very likely to commemorate their loved one’s life with some kind of funeral or memorial service. With 36.6 percent of those surveyed associating a cremation with memorial services, 10.4 percent associating cremation with a viewing and memorial service, and 7.4 percent associating cremation with no service at all, families have found new ways to remember their loved ones.

The cremation rate is rising in America for numerous reasons including cost, religious acceptance, environmental concerns, and a more transient society. The price for funeral services has been rising over the years, and now a casket for a traditional burial can cost over a thousand dollars alone, which does not include a grave marker, funeral service, plot space, or other fees associated with traditional burials. Cremation requires far fewer moving parts, so cremations tend to be less expensive than traditional burials. Numerous religions have also begun to accept cremation over the past few decades as a valid way to remember a loved one, giving many traditional families a new option for funeral services. Cremations also require less land use and use fewer toxic chemicals in the process of preparing a loved one for a service than a burial does, leading many environmentally-conscious families to choose cremation for their loved ones. Additionally, America’s transient society is contributing to the higher cremation rate and has even changed family dynamics, altering the entire process of funeral and memorial planning. With family members and friends living across many states and even many countries, people are turning to cremation as a more flexible option.

As America’s most trusted cremation provider, Neptune Society is dedicated to leading the nation in quality cremation services and caring for each loved one that comes into their care. In addition to caring for families at the time of need, Neptune Society specializes in assisting people make end-of-life decisions in advance through cremation preplanning. For more information about cremation services near you, find a nearby location and talk to one of Neptune Society’s cremation experts today.


The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.

Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.