NEW YORK, NEW YORK, August 10, 2017 (New York Times): Now, for the first time, more Americans are being cremated than having traditional burials, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. The cremation rate in 2016 achieved a milestone, edging past 50 percent to 50.2 percent, up from 48.5 percent in 2015, according to a report issued recently by the funeral directors' association. The president of the association, W. Ashley Cozine, predicted that the cremation rate would continue to rise. By 2025, the association is forecasting that 63.8 percent of the people who die in the United States will be cremated, and by 2035, 78.8 percent.
The reasons include the weakening hold of religion on American life as well as a loosening of strictures against cremation by some denominations. The proportion of consumers 40 and older who think it is important to have religion as part of a funeral has dropped by 20 percent since 2012, according to the funeral directors' association. "Most funeral directors have seen a lot of families move away from tradition, move away from ceremony," said R. Bryant Hightower Jr., the secretary of the funeral directors' association, "and in their minds, ceremony and tradition are tied to the burial side more than the cremation side. So they have said, 'If I want it simple and I don't want it in a church or a synagogue and I don't want a rabbi or a minister, then I want cremation.'" In addition, cremation typically costs less than a third of a funeral with a conventional burial.
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