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BBC News: US Funeral Homes Feeling the Pinch as Cremations on the Rise

On May 28, 2012, the BBC News Magazine reported that the increase in cremations in the United States has meant that funeral homes have had to expand their services offered. Approximately 90% of funeral homes in the United States are independently owned and they have seen a significant decline in business due to Americans’ increasing preference for cremation over burials. Cremation is less costly than burial and requires fewer services. Embalming has also seen a reduction, with work in that field declining 28% from 2005 to 2010.

In response, American funeral homes have expanded their services to include the sale of personalized and themed urns and accessories, marketing custom memorial services, and specializing in the service of cremation.

Interestingly, the rate of cremation in the United States is still significantly lower than that in Canada. In the US, the rate of cremation in 2010 was 41%, while in Canada the rate in 2010 was 58%. Even higher is Britain, where in 2010, the rate of cremation was 73%. But since the rate of cremation appears to be increasing in all three countries, this is certainly an issue the funeral industry will continue to grapple with.

Click here to read the BBC Magazine article.


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