Cremation and the Future of the Death Care Profession

June 12, 2018

In 2005, only about 32% of Americans chose to have their remains cremated as opposed to a traditional burial. Fast forward 10 years and the numbers show a very different result. According to the NFDA, the 2016 cremation rate was 50.1%. At the same time, if you look at the numbers for countries in Europe, the cremation rate has grown to more than 70%. The fact is, cremation rates are on the rise and the funeral profession needs to adjust accordingly.

By the year 2030, experts forecast that more than 70% of Americans will choose to be cremated. This doesn’t mean the end of the funeral profession. however, this does signify a need to adapt to the changing mentality and desires of today’s consumers. With that being said, a rise in cremation rates presents the opportunity for new services for funeral homes to offer and different ways to celebrate a life well lived.


The Rise of Cremation

As the baby boomers and older generations continue to age, end of life planning decisions is beginning to become the responsibility of the younger generations. While areas of the country like the Bible Belt still primarily hold burial services, the tide is changing in other areas across the country.

As religious beliefs continue to decline for younger generations, the need for a funeral is declining with it. In previous decades, a funeral was seen as a tragedy that needed to be mourned. Families would hold religious services to say a goodbye that respected their faith. Today, however, a social change has taken place with fewer people adhering to strict religious beliefs. People no longer want to mourn a loss with a religious ceremony. Instead, they would rather celebrate a life well lived.   

This shift in mindset has not only affected the burial rate, but also the number of funeral services being held. Instead of planning these somber affairs, people would rather celebrate their loved one’s life with parties and upbeat events similar to a wedding or birthday.

Image of flowers

What Funeral Directors Can Do to Adapt

As the cremation rates continue to rise, it’s imperative that funeral directors prepare themselves for what’s to come. In today’s world, offering cremation services is a must for any funeral home. Not only do funeral directors need to be prepared to see a demand for cremation services, they must be ready to offer them.

If you are looking for a refresher or training course, consider earning CEU credits. This past month, for example, we held cremation arranger and crematory operator training courses for licensed funeral directors. In addition to earning CEU’s, the funeral directors that attended enjoyed a day full of learning and valuable training. To learn about our other upcoming events, make sure to visit our Events Calendar.

Tips for Your Cremation Services

If you want to make cremation services a more prevalent part of your business, it’s time to adapt. Here are 3 quick tips to help your cremation business reach more consumers.

  1.    Advertise it and make it a part of your marketing.

Simply put, how do you expect families to know you offer something if you don’t advertise it. Although you might arrange cremation services every day, families may not realize you offer cremation services. It may sound absurd, but many people hear funeral home and think that is the only thing they offer.

  1.    Enroll in cremation and celebrant training courses.

Consider enrolling in a cremation or celebrant training course to better prepare yourself. Each year, we offer several different CEU courses both online and offline. Visit our continuing education page for a list of all the courses we will be offering. Make sure to check back often as we are regularly updating our events.

  1.    Consider adding cremation to your name.

If you really want to let your community know about your cremation services, consider adding it to your name. This is a tactic used by many funeral homes today to help educate families about their services. If a family is considering two firms and one has cremation in the name and the other doesn’t, the former firm automatically has a slight edge in being chosen because the family knows that they offer that service.