The Rising Cost of Cremation: Top 7 States with the Highest Cremation Costs

Written by Kim Wilhelm

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Last Updated 14 Apr 2024

In recent years, cremation has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional burial services in the United States. 

For most people, they choose cremation for a few reasons. This could be due to the environment, saving money, or even personal reasons. 

However, it's important to recognize that cremation costs can vary significantly by state and even by locality within a state. 

In this article, we will explore the top 7 states with the highest cremation costs in the US and discuss the factors contributing to these costs.


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Cremation Costs at a Glance

There are four types of cremation costs that change the price of cremations drastically. 

  • Cremations with a traditional funeral service
  • Cremations with a memorial service
  • Cremations without a memorial service
  • No cost cremation

Each of these cremation types come with different fees associated with them. Here is what you can expect from each cremation type:

Cremations with a Traditional Funeral Service

The first type of cremation comes with a traditional funeral service. 

This is where a conventional funeral is held and then after the service, the body is cremated, and the ashes remains are returned to the family in an urn or container of their choosing.  

This type of cremation will cost around $7,000, but that varies based on the state. 

Here is a breakdown of the costs associated with this type of service: 
  • The cremation fee: $350
  • Basic service fee: $2300
  • Removal or transfer of the body to the funeral home: $350
  • Embalming fee: $775
  • Body preparation fee, eg cosmetology, dressing, and grooming the body: $275
  • Use of the facility for viewing: $450
  • Use of the facility for the funeral service fee: $515
  • Service car or van fee: $150
  • Basic memorial printed package fee: $183. 
  • These figures don’t include the other optional expenses of a cremation urn at $1310, a rental casket at $1000, an alternative cremation container at $150, or an urn at $300.

    Cremations with a Memorial Service

    The second type of cremation is a cremation with a memorial service.

    This type of cremation has a memorial service to honor the life of the deceased.

    Most cremation memorial services consist of elements from a funeral service without the burial. 

    This could be pieces such as an opening greeting, a prayer, a eulogy, and the sharing of memories by friends and family. 

    This type of cremation can cost as high as $5,500 but typically costs around $1,500. 

    Here are the fees you can expect to pay for a cremation with a memorial service: 

  • Cremation fee: $368
  • Use of the facility for the service fee: $515
  • Use of a service van or car fee: $150
  • Basic printed memorial package fee: $183 
  • Cremations without a Memorial Service

    The third type of cremation is a cremation without a memorial service. 

    This type of cremation is also referred to as a “direct cremation” and it consists of taking the deceased straight to the crematorium or cemetery without a funeral service. 

    This type of cremation costs between $750 - $2,000.

    No Cost Cremation

    The last type of cremation is a no cost cremation! 

    This type is one where you donate your body to science. 

    Many people like donating their body to science because it gives them the opportunity to make a difference and leave a legacy for scientific research. 

    States with the Highest Cremation Costs

    The cost for cremations varies from each state for different reasons. 

    Here are the top 7 states with the highest cremation costs: 

    The Reasons for Cremation Costs in Each State

    Each state is different and has different reasons for the costs of their cremation. 

    Here is a cost breakdown of each state: 

    California


    Cremation costs in California tend to be higher than in many other states, mainly because of the high cost of living and a large population. 

    The state's stringent environmental regulations also contribute to increased costs, as crematories must invest in equipment and processes to meet emission standards. 

    Additionally, the demand for cremation services is higher in California due to the state's diverse cultural landscape and limited cemetery space, which can drive up prices.

    Hawaii

    Hawaii tends to have high burial costs and cremation costs because of its remote location and limited land resources.

    Due to the islands' isolation, the cost of importing necessary supplies and equipment can be significantly higher than in mainland states. 

    Additionally, Hawaii has a high cost of living, which can directly impact the cost of cremation services. 

    Cultural factors also play a role, as many residents of Hawaii choose cremation for religious or personal reasons, leading to increased demand and higher costs.

    New York

    New York is known for its high cost of living, and cremation services are no exception. 

    In particular, the New York City metropolitan area tends to have higher cremation costs than other parts of the state due to its dense population, expensive real estate, and higher overhead costs for funeral homes and crematories. 

    Additionally, state regulations and licensing requirements can contribute to increased costs in New York.

    Massachusetts

    Cremation costs in Massachusetts are also relatively high, influenced by factors such as the high cost of living, particularly in the Greater Boston area. 

    Furthermore, state regulations and licensing requirements can contribute to the increased cost of cremation services. 

    Massachusetts is also home to a diverse population, with many residents opting for cremation due to cultural or religious reasons, which can drive up demand and prices.

    New Jersey

    New Jersey's high cremation costs can be attributed to several factors, including the state's high cost of living and its proximity to New York City. 

    As with other states on this list, New Jersey's stringent regulations and licensing requirements for crematories and funeral homes can contribute to increased costs. 

    Additionally, the state's limited land resources and dense population can lead to higher demand for cremation services, which in turn raises prices.

    Connecticut

    Connecticut's cremation costs are impacted by the high cost of living in the state, especially in areas close to New York City. 

    Strict state regulations, licensing requirements, and environmental standards can also contribute to the increased cost of cremation services. 

    Like other states in the Northeast, Connecticut has limited land resources, which can lead to a higher demand for cremation services and higher prices as a result.

    Maryland

    Maryland rounds out our list of states with the highest cremation costs. 

    The high cost of living, particularly in areas close to Washington, D.C., contributes to the increased cost of cremation services.

    Maryland also has strict state regulations and licensing requirements for funeral homes and crematories, which can add to the overall costs. 

    Additionally, the state's diverse population, with many residents opting for cremation due to personal, religious, or cultural reasons, contributes to increased demand and higher prices.

    Factors That Influence Cremation Costs

    Note:  On average, cremations cost 40% less than funerals with burials

    Understanding the factors that influence cremation costs can help individuals make informed decisions when planning for end-of-life arrangements.

    There are typically 6 factors that can influence cremation costs. 

    These factors are: 

  • State regulations
  • Licensing requirements
  • Environmental standards 
  • Population density and land resources 
  • Cost of living 
  • Cultural and religious factors 
  • State Regulations

    Each state has its own regulations governing cremation services. 

    These regulations may require certain safety and health standards to be met, such as specific equipment, facility requirements, and employee training.

    Licensing Requirements

    In some states, cremation service providers may need to be licensed by the state or local authorities. 

    Obtaining a license can involve fees, inspections, and ongoing compliance with regulations, which can add to the cost of cremation services.

    Environmental Standards

    Many states have environmental regulations that apply to cremation services. 

    For example, there may be requirements for the handling and disposal of cremation ashes, emissions from the cremation process, and the use of renewable energy sources.

    Population Density and Land Resources

    Limited land resources and high population density can lead to increased demand for cremation services, resulting in higher prices. 

    Areas with limited available cemetery space may experience a higher demand for cremation services as an alternative to traditional burial.

    Cost of Living

    States with a higher cost of living, such as California, Hawaii, and New York, tend to have higher cremation costs due to increased overhead expenses for funeral homes and crematories, as well as higher costs for goods and services.

    Cultural and Religious Factors

    The cultural and religious beliefs of a state's population can impact the demand for cremation services. 

    States with a more diverse population or a higher percentage of residents who prefer cremation for religious or cultural reasons may experience higher cremation costs due to increased demand.

    Final Thoughts

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    While cremation is often seen as a more affordable alternative to traditional burial, it's essential to recognize that costs can still vary widely depending on the location and other factors. 

    When planning for cremation, consider the additional costs associated with memorial services, urns, and interment options like columbarium niches or scattering gardens. 

    These expenses can also vary depending on the provider and the level of customization desired.

    To find the most cost-effective cremation services in your area, it's advisable to compare prices and services from multiple providers. 

    Don't be afraid to ask questions about the specific services included in the price, as well as any hidden fees or extra charges that may apply.

    Being well-informed will not only help you find the best value but also ensure that your final wishes are carried out in a manner that aligns with your preferences and beliefs.

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