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Cremation rates soar in difficult economy

December 14, 2011 |  9:10 am

The difficult economy seems to be following people to their graves, as the percentage of families opting for cremations over pricey burials soars.

The cremation rate has been on a steady upward swing since 1985, nearly doubling from 14.9% to 29.5% in 2003 and then reaching 34.3% in 2007, according to the Cremation Assn. of North America. The percentage is projected to reach 44.4% by 2015 and then 55.6% by 2025.

At the moment, 41% of families choose the option, many due to financial pressures, according to the New York Times

Last year, more than half of grieving families said they’d choose cremation, compared with 31% in 1991, according to the Funeral and Memorialization Information Council. A third of those people — up from 19% in 1990 — said cost was a primary factor.

At the Cremation Society of Los Angeles, family members pay $698 for cremation, including all coroner and death certificate fees and body transport. Immediate burial options at Rice Mortuary in Torrance range from $2,095 to $8,090. 


Owners picking cheaper services for deceased pets

Funeral homes seek to legalize 'bio-cremation' as a green alternative

— Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Actress Farrah Fawcett went the traditional route with a casket in 2009. Credit: Kirk D. McKoy / Los Angeles Times