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Why More People Are Choosing Cremation Over Burial?

Cremation over burial preferences

Whether it’s due to traditional, religious, or personal reasons, a burial has always been the most common way to mark the passing of one’s life. However, in recent years, more people have been choosing cremation when planning their funeral.

While there have always been two options for resting bodies when they die. The choice of being buried in a casket has long been viewed as the ‘normal’ thing to do. So why are cremations increasing in popularity? And why might you consider to be cremated when the time comes for you to depart this earth?

Let's take a look at why there is such a movement towards creation in the modern world.

The rising popularity of cremations

Today it is estimated that more than half of all Americans choose to be cremated rather than buried when they die. This trend has also been mimicked in many other countries around the world, including Japan — where the cremation rate is over 95%.

Reasons why people are choosing cremation

So what has driven this trend? The reasons most often reflect the current global climate and the changes in societal norms over the last decade or so. From a growing population to exceeding funeral expenses, cremation presents itself to most people as a more eco-friendly and cost-effective choice. 

1. Cremation costs less

The average funeral can cost between $8,000 and $10,000 internationally while locally it can cost between R40 000 and R100 000 on average. A fee that may be financially prohibitive to most people should they not have a financial funeral plan or comprehensive cover. A cremation package is usually half the price of what necessary burial costs, making it affordable for most people and far less of a financial burden for loved ones. If money is a driving factor behind your funeral planning, then cremation may be the most cost-effective choice.

2. People are more environmentally-conscious

The world is becoming more environmentally-conscious, with more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint in any way they can. During the pre-funeral planning stage, many people discover that cremation is a more eco-friendly choice than a burial.

As the earth’s population grows, plots for graves are becoming more scarce, meaning more land needs to be used to accommodate this. With cremation, a person can be buried in a smaller size or choose to have their ashes scattered or even kept in a family urn. This reduces the need for land to be excavated and reduces the need for the use of un-biodegradable caskets.

3. Increased flexibility

Cremation offers more flexibility in terms of how and where you want your funeral to be held. Many cremation services take place in less-traditional settings, allowing people to choose where they want their memorial as opposed to having to stick to the traditional funeral home or chapel.

People who are cremated can hold their funeral wherever they have the most personal ties, including a favourite bar/restaurant or location, at home, in a garden, or at the beach. For those not wanting a difficult funeral, cremation offers that freedom of personalisation.

4. Change in traditional views

Changes in overall religious attitudes have also led to the increased popularity of cremation. Compared to the past, fewer people are affiliated with a religion or consider themselves to be religious these days.

To cater to this shift, many funeral homes today offer non-religious ceremonies and carry out various event planning services that can include playing the deceased’s favourite music and a highlight reel of their most precious memories. For those who don’t have a religious background, cremation is a fuss-free and straightforward way to be sent off.

Final remarks

For anyone wondering if cremation is right for them, it may help first to consider personal values, circumstances, and expectations. Cremation offers another avenue for those who may not have the financial capability to afford a traditional burial or for those who want more freedom of choice when it comes to their final send-off. It’s also a more environmentally-friendly option requiring no land use or coffin.

Carefully planning your funeral arrangements and discussing cremation with loved ones can ultimately help you to make the right decision. When you choose cremation, it simplifies funeral arrangements and makes things easier for loved ones during a difficult time.


About the author

Luke Fitzpatrick has been published in Forbes, The Next Web, and Influencive. He is a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney, lecturing in Cross-Cultural Management and the Pre-MBA Program. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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