In the 1960s, just 3.6% of Americans selected cremation when planning a funeral, but by the turn of the millennium that number had reached 26%. And the National Funeral Director’s Association says in 2013 45% chose cremation, and the percentage will pass 50% in the next 10 or 20 years.
There are many reasons someone might choose cremation over a traditional casket burial in a cemetery. Some might have religious reasons, cultural reasons, or just personal preference. Some people don’t want to burden their families with an expensive funeral after they pass, and so they request cremation in their will. And with the average funeral costing $10,000, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing alternative “methods of disposition.”
Many people also see cremation as a “green burial” option, because their remains, embalming fluid, and steel casket won’t take up space in cemeteries. Plus, the average green burial costs $2,500. Even so, the expenses related to cremation can vary widely from place to place and funeral home to funeral home. For some families, money isn’t a concern when planning a memorial service, and there are still more expensive cremation services available as well.
If you call funeral homes in your area, then remember that there are often extra costs besides the direct expenses of the cremation itself. For example, transporting the remains, organizing a memorial service, purchasing a spot in a columbarium, and cremation urns for ashes can add to the total cost. Even with all these extra expenses, in most cases the cremation memorial will likely cost far less.
In addition, many people are choosing to purchase cremation keepsakes. These memorial keepsakes include miniature ash containers like urn pendants, and cremation ash jewelry like ash necklaces and bracelets. cremation keepsakes come in just about every form you can imagine, from gold jewelry to custom blown glass orbs. Also, many families purchase cremation keepsakes for everyone in their family, so everyone can have a tiny keepsake containing small amounts of ashes.