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Tuesday, November 9, 2010 - 12:16pm

Cremations Lag Despite Savings

Cremations are on the rise nationwide as Americans hold more tightly to their money during this recession. But Georgia is bucking the national trend.

The number of cremations in America has gone up nearly every year for a century, and the Cremation Association of North America predicts the national rate to average 44% by 2015.

But in Georgia, the 2015 projected cremation rate is 11%. That's based on a regular decline since 2004, when cremations reached nearly 20% of dispositions.

Cremation is significanlty cheaper than a traditional burial. A basic cremation package averages $1,605, while a simple burial costs about $7,300.

But even if Georgians aren’t cremating, they are spending less.

Social Circle funeral home operator Doug Henry says before the recession, families were willing to spend their entire budget to honor a dead loved one.

Now, he says, people are focusing more on the memorial than on the merchandise.

“Most families want to say their good-byes, but as far as the casket or the urn, and stuff like that I don’ think that’s playing into it as much as it used to.”

Henry adds that now that baby boomers just turned 65, they’re budgeting to pay for their parents’ passing while also preparing for their own.

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