Cremation Questions and Answers


Question: How many Americans choose cremation every year?

Answer: Over 40% of our population choose cremation? Some states have even higher numbers: In Oregon the percentage of cremations is over 63%, Hawaii is 66%, Nevada is 65 %, Washington is 64 %, and Arizona is 59 %. The lowest state is Alabama with 9%. In England and Japan, 90% of its people choose cremation.


Question: Why do people choose cremation?

Answer: The Cremation Association of North America conducted a survey with these results: to save money (30 percent); to save land (13 percent); personal preference (6 percent); it is simpler and more convenient (8 percent); does not prefer their body buried (6 percent). Other reasons cited were concerns for the environment, cold-weather constraints, and ease of transportation to distant burial sites.


Question: What does the cremation process entail?

Answer: According to Everlife Memorials, the cremation process starts with a container/casket containing the body, which is placed inside the cremation chamber. The cremation chamber’s main burner ignites starting the process of incinerating the body. Temperatures within the chamber often reach the 1800°F – 2000°F range. The burners within a cremator are fueled by either natural gas or propane. It generally takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours for a body to be completely reduced to just the bone fragments by cremation. After the entire incinerating process is complete, a cool down period of 30 minutes to an hour is required before the bone fragments can be handled for further processing. When the time finally arrives, the cremated remains or bone fragments are removed from the cremation. The crematory operator removes all metal debris such as screws, nails, surgical pins or titanium limbs/joints with a magnet if the person had artificial implants during their life. The remaining bone fragments are then placed in a special processor that pulverizes the bone fragments to a fine powder called cremains or more commonly referred to as the ashes. The ashes are then placed in a container or an urn provided one is furnished to the crematory. The ashes are then returned to the family.

Cremation Survey Results (compiled by DA Roth)

Today, about a quarter of all deaths in the United States are followed by cremation. A new national survey indicates forty six percent of Americans plan to choose cremation, up fifteen percent from 1990. In some states, the choice of cremation is rising very rapidly.

About thirty percent of those choosing cremation state that they do it to save money; fourteen percent because it is simpler, less emotional, and more convenient; about the same percentage state that they want to save land. One benefit is that one’s remains may be scattered in a place or places that have special meaning, the ocean, mountains, or a memorial garden, among others.

A little over half of the respondents choosing cremation in the survey stated that they would most likely purchase a cremation urn.
About forty percent would chose scattering of the remains.

About twenty five percent would place the remains in a cemetery (sixteen percent to bury), (eight percent to a columbarium), (and one percent to a church columbarium).

Ten percent stated that they would take the inurned remains home.

Fourteen percent were undecided.

Almost ninety percent of all who choose cremation say they would like some kind of a ceremony. A casket can often be rented if a funeral service is desired prior to cremation, and the remains stored in a Cremation Urn (our business here at Signature Cremation Urns), or a service may be held with the Cremation Urn containing the remains.
A 2004 poll for the National Funeral Directors Association found 62 percent of U.S. adults want personalization at their funerals. The most popular forms cited in the survey included friends relating stories (50 percent), playing favorite music (47 percent) and displaying photos and personal items (42 percent).

Urns are available in many styles, materials and sizes that can be placed in cemetery niches or taken home.

Cremated remains can be placed in columbariums or special flush bronze ground memorials with canisters to hold the remains.

For those who choose to scatter the remains, portions can be retained and placed in keepsake urns or special lockets.

Additionally, the deceased’s name can be listed on a scattering plaque in a cemetery’s cremation garden.

People concerned with the environment can choose options that are eco-friendly.

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