CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - A new report on people’s funeral preferences shows Virginians are increasingly opting out of going 6-feet under and instead choosing an urn as their final resting place.
The 2019 report by the Cremation Association of North America says by the year 2023 just over 50 percent of Virginians will opt for cremations instead of burials.
Hill and Wood Funeral Home Vice President Stephen Christianson says there are numerous reasons.
“One is cost, cemetery property has become quite expensive but another big factor is that in our society we don’t stay as a family unit in one place," he said.
Christianson says people in more urban areas are more likely to choose cremation, whereas people in more rural areas prefer burials.
Hill and Wood Funeral Home Managing Director Stephen Mathis says,
“It’s hard to change a trend, a family trend or even a religious trend, you know, if certain church groups, certain social groups, are more likely to do burial than cremation.”
In 2003 just under 30% of Americans chose cremation. In 2018, that number jumped to 53%. In Virginia, nearly 44 percent of people chose cremations in 2018 and that number is expected to rise.
The funeral directors also stressed the importance of preplanning and telling family members what you want, which can remove a major stressor during the grieving period.