According to National Cremation, only 3.6% of Americans chose cremation. However, in 2015, that number was nearly 12 times higher, at 48.2%. At the rate at which Americans choose cremation over burial today, experts suspect that more than half of all Americans will choose a cremation ceremony over traditional burial by 2020, and that, by 2030, the rate of cremation will be right above 70%. Why now though are cremation services becoming more popular? Initially, experts cited costs and demographics as the two influencing elements, but recent studies reveal that factors such as fewer religious restrictions, environmental concerns and a growing preference for the unorthodox all play a role in the rising popularity of cremation services.
Cremation Is More Cost-Effective
Though for many it seems uncouth to think about the cost of one’s own death, the truth is that cost is a very real concern for many Americans. A burial easily adds up to $9,000 or more once you factor in transportation, embalming, the casket, etc., while cremation costs can go as low as $1,000 but rarely exceed $8,000. Decreased household discretionary income across the U.S. means that many families simply cannot afford more traditional burial services.
Cremation Is Less Stressful
One aspect many Americans appreciate about cremation is the fact that you can prearrange it. With burials, many families worry about whether or not they’re honoring the deceased’s wishes. From clothing preferences to funeral music, and from burial containers to burial plots, families have a lot to think about when planning a burial. These considerations can lead to increased stress during and already difficult time. A cremation ceremony, however, is prearranged and requires little planning, which allows individuals to ensure their wishes will be met while placing as little stress on the family as possible.
Cremation Is Environmentally Friendly
It is no secret that today’s generations show more interest in sustainable environmental practices than earlier ones. There are many ways one can reduce his or her carbon footprint, but one way that is growing in popularity is cremation. Some of the more common arguments against burial are as follows:
- Land Scarcity: As the population grows, more land is necessary to accommodate the deceased. The land containing cemeteries cannot be used to farm or build.
- Embalming Fluid: Knowledge has revealed that embalming fluids, which are a mixture of ethanol, formaldehyde, methanol and other organic compounds, is associated with brain cancer and leukemia. The formaldehyde in the fluid leaks from the caskets and makes its way toward streams and other water sources. It is estimated that U.S. cemeteries contain a combined 827,060 gallons of the fluid, which is not really necessary in the burial process.
- Unsustainable Materials: To create hardwood caskets in America alone, loggers must fell 30 million board feet of pine each year. These hardwood caskets are slow to decompose, but they are nothing compared to the metal caskets and concrete vaults that are popular for burial. It is estimated that the amount of concrete used in vaults could build a highway from San Francisco to Poland.
Though cremation is not 100% sustainable, it is much more environmentally friendly than burial. For this reason, today’s generations are opting for cremation over traditional burial services.
Creation Allows Freedom and Flexibility
Families today move around much more than they did in previous decades. Whereas it once made sense to bury a loved one in the family plot, it makes much less sense today as individuals rarely stick around in their hometowns. Moreover, burials require immediacy and are therefore stressful to coordinate with families who live across the nation, whereas cremation allows for a little more time to make arrangements.
Cremation, like burial, is just a preference, but it is a preference more Americans are leaning toward. Discuss your wishes with our funeral director at Wujek Calcaterra & Sons. Call (586) 588-9432 or contact us online to learn more.