It could be the ever-increasing demand for instant gratification, higher rates of migration or simply jam-packed daily schedules, but one thing is for sure. Convenience is now a significant factor when people choose end-of-life services.
The big, complex burials that involve numerous vendors, multiple locations and dozens of people in attendance don’t have the same appeal that they had just a decade or so ago. It turns out that today when people are planning funerals, saving time and stress is almost as important as saving money, and it’s even more important than following tradition.
Surveys Show Convenience is One of the Top Reasons People Choose Cremation
Since 2005 a number of surveys have been conducted that have tracked the shift in funeral services as more Americans move away from burial and gravitate towards cremation. In addition to determining the percentage of people who are choosing cremation, some of the surveys also reveal why people choose cremation over burial.
Some of the top reasons for choosing cremation, like lower cost, are expected. But one surprising finding across surveys is that convenience plays a big role in the decision making.
One of the earliest findings came from a 2005 Cremation Association of North America (CANA) survey. The second most common reason why people choose cremation was because cremation is simpler than burial. Then in 2007, a survey of Nevada residents found that the state had the highest cremation rate in the country largely due to having a sizeable transitory population. For that population, the convenience of cremation was a big advantage over burial.
More recently, the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) and Funeral One have discovered convenience is an even bigger factor than before. In 2015 the NFDA reported convenience was the second most common reason people choose cremation. And the followed year over 20% of respondents told funeralOne they prefer cremation because it’s easier.
Why Convenience Has Importance Today
If you’ve been following along with our series on the factors that are affecting cremation rates, then you might already have a good idea of why convenience is so important today.
Less Religious Influence
As fewer people make funeral decisions based on religion., more people are making convenience a priority. In the past, religious traditions dictated the process, which meant people simply dealt with any inconvenience. When a person doesn’t feel beholden to the traditions they tend to base funeral decisions on pratical matters like convenience and cost.
Migration trends have impacted cremation, and one obvious effect has been the emphasis on convenience. When a loved one lives out of state or across the country planning a burial can be difficult. Cremation, on the other hand, can be arranged over the phone without the need of transporting the body long-distance.
Less Environmental Impact
Cremation also has a convenience factor for the environment given the negative impacts that traditional burial can have. Environmentalists that don’t want to make climate change worse gravitate to cremation because there’s less of an impact in terms of pollution and land conservation.
More Freedom and Flexibility
Personalization is a huge factor in funeral services today. Few people want the standard-issue traditional burial that feels impersonal and leaves some families without the sense of closure they were looking for. Part of the issue with burial is the timeframe. Everything needs to get done in a matter of days, which makes doing something unique and personal hard to achieve, especially when the family is grieving. Cremation gives families the freedom and flexibility to hold a memorial on their own timeline. It allows for more time to plan a memorial service that’s in a meaningful location on a date when as many loved ones as possible can attend.
Check out the rest of the series to find out what other factors are influencing cremation rates including migration, religion, environmental impact and the rising costs of funeral services.