Cremation Trends: Are the Number of Cremations Increasing?

Since the 1980's, the number of U.S. residents choosing cremation has been trending up, and all signs point to a continuing rise. According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), an organization that has monitored annual cremation rates for decades, the 2011 rate of U.S. cremation reached 42%. In other words, 42 out of every 100 people that died in the U.S. in 2011 were cremated.

In 1980, the U.S. cremation rate was a mere 9.7%. The increasing rate has been measured year to year since 1990 with a measurable increase in the cremation rate every single year. In 2010, for example, 40.6% of people who died in the U.S. were cremated, equivalent to an absolute number of 998,799.

From 1996 to 2011, the average annual increase in cremation rate was 1.6%. At this rate of growth, CANA forecasts that 50% or more of U.S. residents who die will be cremated by 2017 or 2018. The largest annual increase in cremation rate occurred between 2009 and 2010 when the rate increased 2.4% from 38.2% to 40.6%That the number of people choosing cremation has been on the rise for three decades is not debated. This is a countrywide trend with every geographic region seeing an increase in the cremation rate. That's not to say that the number of people choosing cremation is consistent from region to region countrywide. Cremation rates vary tremendously in different regions with Pacific and Mountain states having a cremation rate exceeding 70%, and East South Central States having a 41%-60% cremation rate.

Due to their population size and cremation rate, California and Florida lead the country in absolute number of cremations by a wide margin, more than double the number of cremations that occur in third place Texas. According to records, North Dakota had the fewest number of 2010 cremations.

  • That the number of people choosing cremation is increasing is uncontested. Why does the number continue to rise?Cost. Cremation is a fraction of the cost of burial.
  • Flexibility. Families may choose direct cremation or cremation with other services such as a funeral. Cremation also allows options for disposition of remains from scattering of ashes to placement at the Neptune Memorial Reef.
  • Green Burial Alternative. Americans are looking for environmentally friendly options for all aspects of life. Cremation uses fewer resources than burial, and does not tie up property eternally.
  • Religious Acceptance

For information on planning cremation and the price of cremation, please contact us.


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