The majority of Florida residents choose cremation over burial for their end-of-life plan. In fact, the Cremation Association of North America (CANA) ranked Florida as No. 2 in terms of both number of annual cremations and highest cremation growth in 2010. Over 100,000 individuals were cremated in the state of Florida this year, with a tremendous growth rate of 51.4 percent over the last four years.
Fifty-eight percent of Floridians opted for cremation in 2010, and the number is expected to increase to 65.2 percent by 2016. Along with other large-population states like California and Texas, Florida is driving the trend towards simple, affordable cremation services.
A number of factors are affecting the growing number of cremations around the country. Environmental concerns, cost, and the fact that more people are relocating from their hometowns for jobs and other reasons are major considerations driving the choice of cremation. Additionally, the range of options associated with cremation also makes it preferable to traditional burial. They include the following:
While a direct cremation omits the funeral or viewing service, many Floridians choose to pair affordable direct cremation with a cremation memorial. This memorial is held either during the cremation service or afterwards, nearby the cremation facility or elsewhere. Because the body does not need to be present during the service, a cremation memorial offers families flexibility in where and when to remember loved ones.
While some families opt to keep their loved ones’ remains in an urn or keepsake, others choose to scatter ashes in a special place. Some cemeteries now have dedicated scattering gardens available to their patrons. Others choose to have the cremation urn interred at a columbarium where they can visit often and pay their respects.
Burial at Sea and Memorial Reef
Burial at sea is a popular trend for Florida residents who want a memorable tribute. It’s easy to rent a charter boat and hold a meaningful scattering service in the Atlantic. Neptune Society also provides and maintains a Memorial Reef off Key Biscayne for those who want the ultimate underwater memorial.
Green Cremation Alternatives
Many Floridians are concerned about the environment and opt for eco-friendly cremation alternatives. These include biodegradable urns, “upcycled” cremated remains (i.e. turning the remains into jewelry or other functional objects), and a “living burial” (i.e. using the remains to cultivate a garden, tree, or other plant life.) Also, the first “bio cremation” occurred in Florida in 2011. This water-based cremation technology further reduces the ecological footprint of heat-based cremation and is expected to gain popularity in the near future.