rate in the United States continues to climb. It has now reached
a national average of nearly 42%, although the New England states tend
to have a higher than average cremation rate. Three states
in New England; Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont have cremation rates of
over 60% are among the top 10 states with the highest cremation rates.
New England may be considered
a more affluent region within the U.S., often times leading the way in
health care initiatives. The six states of New England rank within
the top 13 "healthiest states" of the U.S, with the highest percentage
of residents covered by health insurance. So how does this compare to death
care in the New England region? Does this focus on health care extend
into end-of-life care?
What is the cost of a funeral
in the New England states?
The National Funeral Directors
Association state that the average funeral in the U.S. costs $7,755 (excluding
any cemetery costs) and the average cremation costs around $3,500.
Of course, these are just simple ‘benchmark’ figures based on surveys made
across the nation. In general funeral costs for a traditional
funeral in the New England region are similarly in line with the national
average. You can arrange a simple funeral package for between $6,000
and $10,000, depending on the type of service you select [graveside, chapel,
or memorial], and the casket you select.
the only New England state where residents must employ a funeral director
Why is cremation such a popular
choice for New England residents?
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont
have all witnessed a significant rise in the cremation rate over the last
decade, whilst Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Islands’ cremation
rate is around the national average. The idea of a ‘traditional funeral’
has significantly changed in this region over recent years.
Cost is claimed to be one key reason why New England residents choose cremation,
which is understandable when it can save over 50% of the cost for a traditional
burial. However, it is not simply just price, cultural attitudes,
religious beliefs (or an increasing secular community) and a more transient
population are all attributed as to why the cremation rate is increasing
across the New England region.
Local funeral businesses
are stepping up to the plate. The number of crematories in Maine
has doubled in the last 6 years, as families demand more cremation alternatives.
A number of new "cremation only" companies have established themselves
to cater to this demand for affordable cremation services.
Even Bio-cremation is legal in Maine and may be passed into law again in
New Hampshire. This is a ‘greener cremation’ alternative where the
body is dissolved in lye and water, and is also referred to as ‘aquamation’.
Does this signify that New England residents prefer cremation as a more
ecologically sound choice?
What is the cost of direct cremation
across the New England states?
In our experience in researching
funeral costs in New England, it appears the average cost of a direct cremation
is higher than average across the New England states.
In all 6 states the cost
of a basic, direct cremation is higher than most other metro areas across
the U.S. The direct cremation prices listed below for each state
are the lowest cost direct cremation packages offered for an ‘at need’
basic cremation service by a local, family-owned funeral business.
Direct Cremation Cost $1,248 Call (203) 864-6010
This means that the average
cost of a direct cremation across New England is $1,318. The average
cost of a direct cremation nationally is $1,110 (according to the National
Cremation Research Council 2011), although there are now many areas in
the U.S. where a direct cremation can cost less than $800.
Maine - Direct
Cremation Cost $995
Direct Cremation Cost $1,300 Call (617) 221-7497
New Hampshire – Direct Cremation
Rhode Island - Direct
Cremation Cost $1,485
Vermont - Direct Cremation
Cost $1,275 Call (802) 472-1921
State/County assistance for
burial and cremation expenses
Residents of some areas of New
England are fortunate that there is an ‘above average’ availability of
state assistance for funeral expenses. This reflects to some degree
the higher standard of living and state welfare/healthcare in this region.
Watch out for corporate death
Service Corporation International
SCI (the largest corporate death care company in North America) certainly
has a presence in the New England region, as one would expect being an
affluent area where the cost of death care is higher than average.
The Dignity Memorial brand operates a number of funeral home and cemetery
locations, and if you want to keep funeral and cremation costs down, you
should certainly ensure you compare any prices quoted against the same
funeral service from a local, family-owned funeral home.
SCI do not operate their
budget cremation brands, such as the Neptune Society and National
Cremation Society, out of New England. However, they do run one
Advantage Funeral & Cremation Services location out of Portland,
Maine. As with many of their other family-sounding funeral
locations, Advantage Funerals of Portland, appears on the surface
to be a ‘Mom and Pop’ business. This is typical of how SCI can insidiously
penetrate into an area and draw in trust based upon a community value,
when the revenue they generate ends up back in Houston and in the pockets
If you are comparing costs,
especially with a view to securing ‘affordable’ funeral services – then
we would recommend you make yourself very aware of who the corporate funeral
homes and crematories are in your area.
Affordable and dignified
death care should be a basic human and civil right. Unfortunately
as it is still considered somewhat taboo in our culture to discuss end
of life care, many of us find ourselves caught off-guard, unprepared and
vulnerable. You can prevent this by doing some simple research and
preplanning. The funeral landscape is being ‘re-surfaced’ as you
read this article. You have more choices, and YOU are in the driving
seat! Make yourself informed of what average costs to expect for
a cremation or funeral in your area, and you can save yourself and your
family from undue expense or distress.
If you have any questions
about arranging a funeral or cremation in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island or Vermont, please contact us.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.
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