More and more people are choosing cremation as a final disposition method.
Cremation is on the rise, and there are many factors involved in this trend – from cost to claustrophobia, from religious considerations to the increasing personalization of funerals, there are not only broad trends but also uniquely specific reasons why more and more people choose cremation over burial.
Here are five general, broad-brush reasons why people are choosing cremation, followed by specific comments from actual people on why they have decided to go with cremation.
Part 1: General Reasons Why People Are Choosing Cremation
Cremation generally costs 40-50% less than traditional ground burial overall. Cremation does not require a grave or headstone, many families skip embalming, cremation urns are generally cheaper than caskets, and so on.
Read more: How Much Do Cremation Urns Cost? And How Can I Save?
Cremation can remove the need for the more elaborate ground burial ceremony involving casket, viewings, pall bearers, etc. An urn is smaller and therefore much easier to handle than a full-sized casket.
As mentioned above an urn is much smaller than a casket and therefore very easy to transport and/or store at home. Cremation also frees up the time frame, so you can hold on to the remains indefinitely until you and your family arrange burial, scattering, or some other method of disposition for the remains.
4. Environmental concerns
Traditional burial takes up space in the earth and often involves heavy doses of chemicals (when the body is embalmed).
Cremation does take its toll with carbon emissions, but as equipment and technology improves the impact on the environment is lessening. There is some debate, but generally cremation is considered more “green” and eco-friendly.
5. Less tradition, more personal
While family and religious traditions are still very important to people, there is a general trend away from traditionalism, or tradition for the sake of tradition.
Instead, families prefer to celebrate the individual in a unique and personal way. Cremation offers the flexibility for loved ones to design a completely one of a kind memorial and disposition.
Scattering ashes is a popular choice, and this can be done in a myriad of ways: at sea, in your backyard, from a helicopter, planted as a memorial tree, shot off in fireworks, and so on.
Part 2: Specific Reasons Why People Are Choosing Cremation
Here are some more detailed and specific reasons that people have cited for choosing cremation.
6. Space availability at cemetery of choice
A reader on an advice column blog notes that their father, a WWII veteran, planned on burial at National Veteran’s Cemetery, but the only option available was interment in the veteran’s columbarium wall and thus cremation was necessary. (Source)
The idea of being buried awakes deep-seeded fears in many people: “I’m to claustrophobic to be buried.” (Source)
8. Nobody’s science project
“I’m opting for cremation when my time comes. I don’t want to be dug up in the future for someone’s science project, grave robbers or archaeologists.” (Source)
9. General space
“I figure there’s no reason to take up space when I’m gone.” (Source)
“I’ve also decided on cremation, more because of moving around a lot and not wanting to leave a place where somebody is expected to take care of a site years after anybody who knew and cared about me is long gone.” (Source)
Related: Flying With Ashes – How to Take Cremated Remains on a Plane
11. To be buried near loved ones
One comment on a discussion forum notes that it is nice to visit the grave of a loved one and just “be where she is.” (Source)
With nearness, there can be a feeling of connectivity with the departed loved ones. Since there is often not room available for a full-size casket burial, many families can arrange to have the much smaller urn with cremated ashes buried with or near other loved ones and family members.
12. Multiple scattering sites
Several comments on a Dear Abby column expressed the desire to be scattered or buried at multiple sites – on a family farm, in the ocean, a favorite spot on Prince Edward Island, back home in Germany, etc.
Cremation allows for as many or as few disposition locations as you choose.
13. To donate body to science
Many people choose to donate their bodies to medical science after their death. This can mean research, organ donation, or a combination of the two.
Some prefer this as a means of generosity to others even after they have departed this life. As one person notes, “If any part of me can help someone – my heart, my corneas, my skin … then I want to help other people who are still living.” (Source page has been removed)
Afterwards, the body is cremated and the remains are given back to the family, freeing your loved ones of the cost of cremation.
14. To be part of a memorial reef
Scuba divers and ocean lovers can have their remains become part of the Neptune Memorial Reef, an underwater mausoleum designed and maintained by the Neptune Society as a home for sea life and a destination for divers.
15. Sharing jewelry
“Because of the proliferation of fine mini-urns — which may be used as jewelry — I intend to have a portion of my ashes distributed to a few of the women who have touched my life in various ways over the years.” (Source)
16. To become a diamond
Modern technology allows cremated remains to be transformed into diamonds. Learn how here.
17. To skip the whole ‘rotting in a box’ thing
“Cremated. Its cheaper and I don’t like the thought of ‘rotting in a box’!” (Source)
18. To be planted as a tree
Using the remains to plant a memorial tree is a growing trend which allows family members a “living memorial” to visit and enjoy, while giving back to the environment.
19. To allow time for arranging the memorial
Choosing cremation allows a great deal more flexibility regarding time. Time for people to make arrangements, time to plan something more meaningful, and time for family members and friends to be able to attend.
“My grandmother was cremated and the service was planned out so that everyone had time to make it from their scattered homes to attend. Cremation allows for time to plan a service that is thoughtful and for family to all make time to get there. It allows for months to pass after the death if need be.” (Source)
20. To always be with loved ones
Cremated remains can be put into an attractive urn and kept in the home, often set on a mantle or bed stand, or as part of a special memorial space. This allows your loved one to always be with you in a special way.
Are you or your loved one choosing cremation? Here are some more helpful resources:
- The Cremation Process: How Cremation Works
- Inurnment Ceremony Ideas (inurnment is when you place the ashes into the urn)
- Most Popular Best-Selling Cremation Urns (for adults)
- 35 Creative Ways to Remember a Loved One Who Has Died
24 thoughts on “20 Reasons Why People Are Choosing Cremation”
I want o be sent off in a viking-style burial, but the full body version isn’t legal where I live, so cremation is the better option.
I appreciate your tip on how cremation services can provide flexibility that a traditional casket couldn’t. I imagine that having that added flexibility would reduce a lot of the stress that planning a funeral entails. My wife and I are getting older and have recently begun writing our last wills and testaments, maybe we should consider being cremated to reduce some of the stress caused by our passings.
A family member of mine has just passed away and there’s complication knowing how he’s going to be buried. I don’t want that type of chaos when I pass away. It would be nice to choose now what I want. However, in order to do that, I need to look at my options. Thanks for sharing a little bit about cremation.
It’s interesting that you begin your list with PRICE. In the past, funeral homes did not want cremation to be more affordable than burial and would often price them the same. Today’s savvy consumer knows better and I agree, price must be in the top 3-4 reasons why consumers will choose cremation over burial.
I think it’s great that cremation helps people be buried at multiple sites, instead of just the one. I have always wanted to be buried in my favorite places. I will have to start considering being cremated instead of a traditional burial.
It seems like nowadays more people are choosing cremation over burials. This is something that I find interesting and wanting to know more about. My guess is that it could just be the simplicity of it just like the author mentioned. It would be neat to have the ashes of a beloved family member or friend on an urn just like the author talked to about.
Thank you for the information on cremation. I think it’s really cool that you can be planted as a tree when you die. I have always wanted my legacy to go one after I die, and a tree would be a very good way to do that.
I remember taking long drives to go to visit the grave of a loved one. Sometimes we would even go from cemetery to cemetery to find all of our loved ones. This is why I like the point that the article makes that cremation adds mobility. It is easier to keep your loved ones close.
I love the idea to use the remains of somebody to plant a tree. It is such a great idea, and a symbol that life always goes on. That is something I am definitely going to do when the time come.
Former tobacco users will love the idea of being able to smoke again.
I like that you point out that one of the reasons people prefer cremation is they are able to be near their loved ones after they have passed away. I can see why this would be a good reason to think about doing this. My grandparents are both in their 90’s. I’ll have to ask them if they have planned their funeral and if they want to be cremated.
I am pre-planning my funeral and I am thinking about cremation, so I am glad that I found this article. You make a great point that cremation is generally cheaper than burial and this way I can leave more money to my children! Also, the fact that my family can spread my ashes in places that have special memories to us would be a great way to memorialize life.
Thanks for explaining how cremation is eco-friendly and is the greener option. My aunt lived as a vegan her entire life and has been a pretty staunch advocate of forestry conservation. Unfortunately, she has been diagnosed with terminal cancer late last year. I think cremation would be the best way for her to go when her time comes.
I choice my husband cremated. He said before, don’t want to be buried underground. Now, he is in the house.
My grandma told me that when she passes away, she wants to be cremated. I do think that would be a good idea for pretty much all of the reasons you listed here. Cost is the biggest factor as cremation is generally cheaper than a traditional funeral.
I didn’t know that generally cremation is considered more “green” and eco-friendly. We are thinking that my grandma is going to pass away soon, and she wants to be cremated so I’m trying to learn more about it. Thanks for pointing out why people are choosing cremation.
I had no idea that cremations cost 40-50% less than traditional burial practices due to the fact that they don’t require headstones or caskets. My mother has recently passed away she didn’t leave us with much money to afford her funeral. I think that she would it would be best for the family to choose cremation over a regular burial, I feel like this is what she would have wanted.
It would be less time consuming than a memorial or funeral service. I agree also that it is more eco-friendly than other services offered.
I like how you pointed out that cremation costs anywhere from 40-50% less than a traditional funeral would. My grandma passed away recently, and she told us not to spend too much on her funeral before she died. We’ll be sure to look further into our options for getting her cremated to satisfy her dying wish.
Husband and I joined the Cremation Society some years ago and mine is already paid for. It was only $795. We are in favor of pre-arranging either funeral or cremation. Everyone’s gonna die; why leave all those headaches for some poor soul. Everyone can get a will; a simple will is so easy and inexpensive and can be done on one’s own. Also make sure to designate a beneficiary on all assets; beneficiary designation trumps a will. Start cleaning out your stuff now to avoid leaving it to some poor soul who is grieving and overburdened with straightening out the estate. I do have a comment about being too claustrophobic to be buried – here’s a worry for you about cremation: what about being burned alive in case you’re the one who is not really dead when they shove you into the oven?? They don’t embalm you; it could happen.
I like what you said about using cremation to design a unique ceremony and memorial. My grandma has been sick for a while, and she will most likely pass away soon. She wants to make sure that her memorial service is special, so we’ll be sure to discuss the possibility of cremation with her.
I’ve recently started hearing my relatives talk about a more personal way of memorial service being used by their friends and I wanted to know what they were talking about. It was helpful how you talked about the different ways people use the ashes of loved ones like being used for trees or being turned into jewelry because I know a few relatives who would be interested in that kind of sentimental connection that services like cremation can bring, especially since a lot of us in the family are into gardening. I’ll be sure to take note of these reasons when considering cremation services for a lost loved one. Thank you!
After our beloved aunt died because of heart failure, we’ve been looking for the best funeral option. It’s good that you listed the reasons to choose cremation. I had no idea that this selection costs 40-50% lesser than the typical ground burial. Perhaps, I shall then go with this and find a provider.
I Chose Cremation due to the rising costs. I was able to purchase a plot in a Roman Catholic Cemetery with room for 2 Urn burials. If I chose traditional burial in my Family’s plot, the Grave opening ALONE would Run over 2500.00 as of Now.. The Price increases every year. I also have the right to a upright headstone The Size of one for a Traditional Lot for 2 interments.