One of the most common questions we hear from customers trying to plan their memorial is, "what is everyone else choosing?"
And this makes total sense!
Planning a memorial for your family or you and your spouse is not something that comes up in everyday conversation.
To help understand what other people are choosing , we’ve put together this article to showcase the key trends and choices that are happening with memorial planning.
Cremation rates are rising...
...and they have been for some time. In 1970, the national cremation rate was barely 5%. Now, as you can see in the charts below (put together by the Cremation Association of North America), cremation rates have been rising rapidly all across America.
First, we'll take a look at 2011...
In 2011, between 51% - 60% of Californians were choosing cremation. The US average is 2010 was 40.8%, a huge jump from the 2000 average of 26.2%.
In 2011, cremation rates can be seen to be much higher on the west coast of the US, although this is all still an increase from previous years.
The preference for cremation was even stronger in 2015...
In 2015, between 61% - 70% of Californians were choosing cremation.
This trend has been clear for quite some time – cremation has become the preferred choice for not only Californians, but most Americans.
It's expected that this trend will continue to increase and the National Funeral Director's Association predicts that the rate of cremation will grow to 89.4% by the year 2035. (See original article.)
As you can see in the chart above, cremation rates in 2015 have substantially increased from the rates in 2011.
Why is everyone choosing cremation?
After looking at the charts above and seeing the significant increases in cremation rates, the obvious question to ask is why is this happening?
As we speak with people choosing cremation every day, we have a few ideas why a rapidly increasing number of Americans are choosing cremation.
The average cost of a traditional burial is around $10,000 and can be as high as over $25,000 per person see our breakdown of costs here. The basic reason for this is that land close to urban areas is expensive, so if you’re planning on buying a plot in a cemetery close to a city, it’s likely going to cost a lot. Additionally, the cost of caskets, funerals, and all the other additional hidden fees charged by traditional funeral homes add up very quickly.
With cremation, all of the costs associated with storing and transporting the body are removed and the costs for spreading, urn burial, or alternatives like Better Place Forests are on the whole much less expensive than traditional options.
2. Environmental concerns
Although we had inklings that people would appreciate the conservation aspect within cremation, we didn't know just how strongly people felt about it.
One of the main reasons that we hear why people choose cremation is desire to take up less space when they die.
Traditional burial takes up valuable urban space. Our customers tell us that they would prefer not to take any more space away from future generations and also that they would prefer something more environmentally friendly than traditional burial.
This also makes sense given the increase in attention paid to land conservation and protecting natural habitats. Given that California is on the forefront of these initiatives, it's not surprising that we hear these views all the time.
3. Changing consumer preferences
Across all industries, we’re seeing more and more choices for consumers. Whether cars, clothes, or coffee, consumers have more environmentally conscious options than ever before.
Along the same lines, we hear our customers (and fans on Facebook) vocalizing what they want in a memorial as opposed to what's been traditionally available to them.
We’re obviously a bit biased, but we fully understand why someone would want a beautiful tree in a protected forest over a traditional cemetery…
A great look down one of the primary pathways showing the inventoried trees ready to be selected by customers!
What makes sense for your family
While there has been a huge shift towards cremation and alternative spreading methods like Better Place Forests, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there are more choices than ever and you should take the time to learn about what you and your family wants.
(You can also always speak to one of our representatives who would be more than happy to walk you through all your options, not just Better Place Forests.
We hope this article helps you understand what people are choosing and why!