How Much Does a Cremation Cost?

More and more families are opting for cremation upon the death of loved ones and preferring it over a funeral and burial. The main reason is that the cremation cost is much less than that of the cost of a funeral. Moreover, there are very less places available for burial due to the fact that land is scarce and hence cremation becomes a better alternative. In some cases a person requests that on his death his ashes be scattered over various places and in this case cremation is more suitable.

The Catholic Church had outlawed cremation in the past until 1963 and still prefers burials of mortal remains. But since the ban was lifted in the past and now that circumstances favor cremations, there is a rise in figures. Also, of late there is a predominance of nuclear families in the United States. Since people live far away from their hometowns there are very few family burial plots. This is another reason why cremations are being preferred.

It is estimated that about 2.5 million people die in the United States every year. According to figures that are available about 40% are cremated and the rest follow traditional funeral procedures. The percentage of cremation is almost double that of the figures that were seen about 15 years ago. In the western part of the United States the cremation rates are higher with Washington State being the highest. On the other hand Mississippi has the lowest rate of cremation at about 15%.

Taking a ballpark figure, the average cremation cost if it is a service availed through a funeral home will be anywhere between $ 2000 and $ 4000. In case the services are availed from a crematory the cost will be between $ 1500 and $ 3000. These figures include the actual cremation cost and a basic memorial service. In many cases the body is directly cremated after viewing all a funeral ceremony.

Methods of Cremation

The cost of cremation may vary and depends on how a persons remains are finally disposed. Morticians are available for cremation and will supply you with detailed pricing information for the different services that are performed by them. Many families prefer direct cremation and you can also hold memorial services along with pictures. The body can be present for viewing in certain cases according to the requirements of the family members.

The cremation first comes to about $ 3500 for body viewing and a complete funeral service. This also includes transportation of the remains by trained staff, a funeral director, embalming and preparing the body for viewing. Prior to cremation the body is placed in a non-pliable container.

In case of cremation with a memorial service the cost is $ 1200 and includes renting a facility at the funeral site, transportation of body to the site, minister?s fees and other services. If it is a private memorial service it can be held anyway and does not involve external funeral firms. In this case the fees are paid at the discretion of the family and according to the venue and ceremonies. Services include transportation, embalming fees and cremation fees which may be up to $ 1000.

Some families decide on direct cremation which is held without the services of a funeral director. This involves taking the body directly to the crematorium and can cost up to $ 300. The body can be buried on private property, or in cemeteries. 

Disposal of Remains

People choose various options for disposing the cremated remains. Some people opt to float the ashes in a river or use a burial plot. There are various types of biodegradable urns which are used for this purpose. You can also get cardboard boxes which are used by crematoriums to hand over the ashes. In case the ashes are spread over at sea it will include expenses related to transporting the remains at sea.

Similarly, if the remains are scattered from the air using a jet plane the expense will be much higher. The services are carried out by professionals who have adequate experience and who provide certificates that state the location and the time of scattering the remains. There is also an option of having the remains entombed in a mausoleum or in a columbarium.

The cheapest method is to scatter the ashes at public city park or at a location that the deceased like to visit. Another meaningful way to bury the remains is in a cemetery at a suitable place.


There are various ways of doing a cremation and the cremation costs vary accordingly. You can place the remains of a loved one in a burial space, or a columbarium both of which have different expenses associated with it - so do scattering the ashes at sea or in the air using an air plane. In any case, it will set you back by about $ 1000 considering today's costs.