The cremation rate in the United States has risen steadily since the 1980’s in response to the increased acceptance of cremation, its low cost relative to the cost of burial, and increasing respect for the environmental effects of our choices. Annual cremation rates have been recorded since 1990, exhibiting an increase in cremation rate every single year.
In 1990, 17.1% of those who died in the United States were cremated. In 2000, 26.2% were cremated, and in 2010 40.6% were cremated. Preliminary figures for 2011 indicated a 42% cremation rate in the United States. The trend has been so consistent that experts are comfortable predicting that the rate of cremation will continue to rise and exceed 50% in the year 2017 or 2018.
The percent of people choosing cremation varies across the nation and is generally higher in the West and lower in the Southeast. In the Mountain region, overall, 60% of people who die are cremated. The cremation rate in Colorado is currently 7th highest in the nation, where 63.3% of deceased persons are cremated. In 2008, comparatively, the rate was 59.77%.
With the Denver cremation rate already substantially above the national average, yet consistent with other Pacific and Mountain states, it will be interesting to see whether there is a ceiling to the number that will choose cremation. At this time, financial and environmental trends still support the choice of a Denver cremation.