The dismal state of the economy has prompted more Americans to choose cremation over traditional burial services to save money, reports the New York Times. Cremations have been steadily rising in popularity since 1985 (41% now vs. 15% then) but the spike has been more pronounced in the last decade. A study last year found that one-third picked cremation mainly to save money, up from 19% in 1990.
The Times provides the example a woman battling terminal cancer who opted for a $1,600 cremation over a conventional burial that would have cost her family $10,000 to $16,000. A major manufacturer of crematories noted that sales of the ovens are increasing nationally, and the company is marketing a new type of process called "biocremation" that uses chemicals to dissolve the body instead of fire.