Funerals By The Numbers

Funeral Trends Ticker Funerals Plans Created on 63,214

Interment Choices: Burial/Entombment - 37,590 • 59% Cremation - 22,370 • 35% Body Donation - 2,148 • 3% Other - 1,100 • 2% Service Choices: Traditional - 29,626 • 47% Memorial - 17,545 • 28% Graveside - 7,493 • 12% None - 8,550 • 14%

The Funeral Trends Ticker is designed to offer a snapshot of the options our funeral planners are choosing. The total “Funeral Plans Created on” is the total number of plans that our planners have created to date with our Wise Planning System. The percentages represent the number of people who have selected the indicated options.

There is no question that the way Americans view funerals are changing. Industry survey after industry survey tell us that the use of cremation is on the rise and that many people are opting to forego the traditional funeral.

As an industry leader in funeral planning, we wanted to see for ourselves. We decided to look back over the last 10 years to see what the choices our funeral planners make could tell us about how the world of funerals is evolving. The following charts tell the story.

One of the first choices anyone makes when planning for end-of-life is if they would prefer burial, cremation, or some other method of caring for their remains.

  • In 2010 more than 70% of Funeralwise planners opted for burial. By 2019, this number had fallen to approximately 63%.
  • Cremation has shown a steady increase over the 10 years and we expect this increase will continue.
  • Other methods of disposition, such as Donation to Science have remained steady at between 1-2% on an annual basis.

The decision of what type of service to hold to commemorate your life is a deeply personal one. Historically, most people opted for a traditional funeral led by a clergy person or funeral director.

  • As the use of cremation has grown, so too has the use of a memorial service (no remains present) in lieu of a traditional funeral (body present).
  • The use of graveside services has remained relatively constant over the past 10 years while the number of people opting to forego a service appears to be growing.

A common misconception is that when you have cremation you can’t have a traditional funeral service. However, as the use of cremation has grown, so too has the understanding that it is possible to have a funeral with cremation. We can see that reflected in the chart below.

You have many options when it comes to how your cremated remains are handled. For most people, having their remains returned to the family is the most popular choice.

About Our Data

Our data includes information provided by individuals who have taken advantage of our funeral planner. As a consequence, it reflects those who are more likely to use online resources as opposed to working on a paper planner or directly with a funeral home. We do not capture comprehensive age demographics information but we believe our planner users may skew younger since they rely on the web. Nevertheless, the summaries provided above are generally reflective of trends in the industry and represent the preferences of a wide segment of the market.

INTERMENT CHOICES* (All plans 2010-2019)#%
Burial / Entombment 29,09832%
Body Donation1,4263%
SERVICE CHOICES* (All plans 2010-2019)
Traditional 23,694 51%
Memorial 11,968 26%
Graveside 5,356 12%
No Service 5,162 11%
Analysis based on information included in funeral plans created from 2010-2019.

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