Climate Change, Cost, Convenience Fuel Switch From Burial To Cremation

Losing a loved one is a devastating experience. For many, planning a funeral often compounds the grieving process because there are so many arrangements to make in a short amount of time.

The biggest—and most final—decision is whether to have a traditional burial or direct cremation.

Cremation is increasingly gaining in popularity in the United States.  In fact, according to the National Funeral Directors Association’s (NFDA) 2018 Cremation & Burial Report, the national cremation rate is projected to climb 80 percent (or 2.80 million cremations per year) by 2035.

A few of the factors that seem to be driving this trend among some consumers include a religious change/shift in attitude toward cremation and a more accepting position of the practice based on environmental concerns, the overall convenience of the process as well as the cost of cremation versus burial.

Costs of cremation services vary and depend on the type of the service selected from a funeral services provider.  The most recent statistics (2018) from the Cremation Research Council show that the general cost of a direct cremation in the U.S. is approximately $1,100, while a cremation funeral—which is like a traditional burial except the deceased is cremated after the service—averages from $6,260 (NDFA 2017).

Whether you chose cremation or burial for your loved ones, the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau (CFB) offers valuable information on their website to help you make informed decisions.  The CFB’s booklet Funeral & Cemetery Purchases outlines the legal requirements regarding burial and cremations along with general price list requirements and more.

CFB licenses, regulates, and investigates complaints against California funeral establishments, funeral directors, embalmers, apprentice embalmers, cemetery brokers, cemetery salespersons, cemetery managers, cremated remains disposers, crematories, crematory managers and the nearly 200 licensed private cemeteries in the state.  (The State does not license cemeteries operated by religious organizations; cities, counties, or cemetery districts; the military; Native American tribal organizations; or other groups.)

If you need help with a cemetery or funeral issue, visit the CFB web site at or call the Bureau directly at (916) 574-7870.


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