Cremation is the hottest trend in the US now. As more and more people find the benefits of cremation and the Catholic Church has become more lenient, the percentage of the dead being Cremated is on the rise.
Every year in America, 2.5 million people die. In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, 42 percent were cremated, according to the funeral directors association. That’s double the rate of just 15 years ago. In some states, largely in the West, the cremation rate tops 70 percent. In Washington, it’s 72 percent; in Nevada, almost 74 percent. (The lowest rate of cremation, in case you need a great pick-up line, is Mississippi’s, at 15.7 percent.)
Why has this happened?
- Economics. It takes anywhere upwards of $7500 for burial and in any case the burial grounds are getting difficult to find. Cremation costs 1/3rd of that cost or even lower. In this time of financial distressed economy, Cremation is a very useful way to handle the dead.
- Church Lenient. Catholic Church has become much lenient that it was in 1960s when it had banned cremation for its faithful.
- Changing Families. Families are Nuclear ones. Relatives and friends live far off. Cremation is a quick and cost effective way to handle the whole thing.
What to do with the Ashes is a big question that people have. And many options have come up to deal with it. Like scattering in the ocean, or bury it or put it on the mantle at home etc. Here is some information:
Of course, the total cost doesn’t stop with the cremation itself. You’ve got to do something with the 4 to 6 pounds of mostly carbon ash that remain after the body has been incinerated for several hours at 1,600 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically that means buying an urn. Cost: from under $100 to well over $1,000. Was your beloved Uncle Pete a golfer? You can get The Masters Golf Cremation urn online for $218. It won’t improve your putting, or his.
Then there’s the cost of interring the cremation urn. You don’t have to buy a burial space for the remains. You can keep them in an urn on your mantel. Bad idea if you have cats or ball-throwing small children. Or you can scatter the ashes or have them mixed with concrete and dropped into the ocean to form a memorial reef. One vendor in Florida, Eternal Reefs, charges $3,000 to $7,000 for that. Says owner George Frankel, without a trace of irony: “I think a sea change is what we’re seeing” in the funeral business.
If you decide to place your loved one’s urn and ashes in a burial space, vault or columbarium, figure on spending $1,000 or so — maybe more, depending on how fancy the cemetery or memorial garden is. You may pay extra, too, if you choose to have a niche with a view. But who’s counting? Or looking, for that matter?
So, what is your preference for yourself and your relatives?