More Americans choosing cremations over burials in funerals

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OWENSBORO, Ky, (WEHT) A recent report shows funerals are changing.

More than half of Americans are choosing cremations over a traditional burial.

“There has been an increase in people becoming aware of their options,” says David Bell of Glenn Funeral Home in Owensboro.

A recent report from the National Funeral Directors Association estimates 56% of all funerals in 2020 involved cremations. That’s up from a little more than 40% a decade ago. It also projects cremations will jump to 78% by 2040.

“My colleagues and friends out west, they’re seeing 70-80% cremation, and that will trickle and come to us at some point,” says Nathan Morris of Haley-McGinnis Funeral Home in Owensboro.

Funeral directors at both Haley-McGinnis Funeral Home and Glenn Funeral Home say they’re seeing more people choose cremation.

“Across all locations, we are just under 50% of families choosing cremation,” says Morris, describing what other funeral homes owned by Morris Family Homes, which also owns Haley-McGinnis, are also seeing. Morris also says giving out of town family and friends the chance to pay their respects in person is one reason some are selecting cremations.

“People, nowadays, are all over the country, and cremation is often times selected because of people being dispersed everywhere,” he explains.

But a report from the Cremation Association of North America shows Kentucky in the bottom five of states in percentages of funerals with cremations, at just more than 35% as of 2019. Bell says its important for funeral homes to adapt with the changes, and make sure those who passed can be remembered by their loved ones.

“It is important for the grief process that there is an event that establishes the significance that someone has passed away, that is often a key foundation to grief that is an effective and proper grief process,” he says.

(This story was originally published on October 13, 2021)

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