Consider the journey

Cremation a growing trend in funeral industry

By: Douglas Wagemann, CCFE, CFSP, special to the Press Tribune
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Question: “I keep hearing about the increase in families choosing cremation. Is that true? ”
Helen, Roseville


Answer: That’s a true statement, Helen. More and more families are choosing cremation as a means of caring for a loved one. With that, we are also seeing a wider spectrum of memorialization options such as simple cremation without any service, all the way up to full traditional services in a church including visitation and the cremation following the service with the cremated remains being buried, placed in a niche, scattered or kept at home — and everything in between.

The Cremation Association of North America just published its preliminary 2012 findings regarding cremation trends, which yield some interesting, yet not surprising facts.

The cremation rate for the United States is 43.5 percent — a 1.5 percent increase over 2011. It is believed the U.S. will reach a 50 percent cremation rate by 2018. Eighteen states now have cremation rates over 50 percent, including California. In fact, in 2012, California had more than 135,000 cremations accounting for more than 55 percent of all the deaths that occurred.

So why is this trend taking place? Well, there are several factors:

Some families are choosing cremation due to the actual price or cost of the cremation along with the value they perceive. For some families hit hard by economic hardship, it is a viable option for them.

Cremation is becoming perceived as a “green” option that is particularly of interest here in California.

Transience is also playing a big role in families choosing cremation over burial. Studies show that cremation rates are considerably higher in areas populated by the new “mobile” generation and transient population.

There is a growing religious acceptance of cremation as an option for families. While some religious groups such as Islam and Orthodox Judaism prohibit cremation, others such as Hinduism require it. Other religious organizations are more accepting of cremation, thus their members are considering and selecting this option.

No matter whether you prefer cremation or not, it is not just a passing fad. Cremation is here to stay and we as funeral service professionals are fully trained and prepared to assist any family choosing cremation as their preferred option for their loved one.