The Top 7 States with the Highest Burial Costs: A Comprehensive Analysis

Written by Kim Wilhelm

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Last Updated 14 Apr 2024

The process of saying goodbye to a loved one is never easy. Apart from the emotional turmoil, families also face the challenge of managing the financial aspects of a burial. 

Across the United States, burial costs can vary significantly due to factors like geography, local customs, and legislation. 

This article delves into the states with the highest burial costs, exploring the reasons behind the differences and offering insights for families and individuals planning their final arrangements.


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The Top 7 States with the Highest Burial Costs

Do you live in any of these states? Here are the top 7 states with the highest burial costs: 

Hawaii: The Aloha State

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 funerals. 

California: The Sunshine State

California is another state known for its high burial costs, with the average funeral expenses ranging between $7,500 and $14,000. The Golden State's large population and increased demand for burial plots contribute to these costs.

Some of the key factors responsible for California's high burial expenses include:

  • Land scarcity: California's extensive coastline and mountainous terrain limit the available space for cemeteries, driving up the cost of plots.
  • Environmental regulations: The state's strict environmental regulations can increase the cost of developing new cemeteries or expanding existing ones.
  • High cost of living: Similar to New York, California has a high cost of living, which affects the prices of goods and services, including funeral expenses.

New York: The Empire State

New York ranks as one of the most expensive states for burials in the United States. The average cost of a traditional funeral, including a casket, funeral service, and cemetery plot, can range from $7,000 to $12,000 or more. New York City sees some of the highest costs, with Manhattan's average burial costs reaching upwards of $20,000. The high costs can be attributed to several factors:

  • Limited availability of cemetery plots: With a densely populated city like New York, space is scarce, and cemetery plots come at a premium.
  • Higher costs of living: New York has one of the highest costs of living in the country, which translates to higher prices for goods and services, including funeral expenses.
  • State regulations: New York has strict regulations surrounding funeral services, which can increase the overall costs.
  • Oregon: The Beaver State

    While funeral costs in Oregon may be higher than in some other states, there are several factors that can contribute to these increased expenses including, cost of living, labor costs, and environmental considerations. 

    The cost of living in Oregon, especially in urban areas like Portland, is higher than the national average.

    Higher wages for workers in Oregon can contribute to increased costs for funeral service providers, which may be passed on to consumers.

    Oregon is known for its environmental consciousness, and this may lead to an increased demand for "green" funeral options.

    Massachusetts: The Bay State

    Massachusetts, especially in the Boston metropolitan area, is known for its high burial costs. 

    The average funeral expenses in Massachusetts range from $7,000 to $13,000. Factors contributing to the higher costs in this state include:

  • Historic cemeteries: Many cemeteries in Massachusetts are centuries-old, with limited space for new burials. As a result, available plots can be quite expensive.
  • High real estate costs: Massachusetts has some of the highest real estate costs in the nation, which influences the cost of cemetery plots and funeral home services.
  • Cost of living: The overall cost of living in Massachusetts is high, which impacts the costs of goods and services, including burial arrangements.
  • Alaska: The Last Frontier

    Alaska has high funeral costs for several reasons, including geographic location, limited resources, and weather conditions.

    Alaska is the largest and one of the most remote states in the U.S., with many communities only accessible by air or water. This can make transportation of funeral-related goods and services more expensive.

    Alaska's harsh weather can also contribute to higher funeral costs. Cold temperatures, heavy snowfall, and limited daylight hours during the winter months can make it more difficult to prepare and transport funeral-related goods and services.

    Maryland: Little America

    Maryland has a high funeral cost for several reasons but mainly due to it’s closeness to Washington, D.C.

    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.

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    While these states have the highest burial costs, it is essential to keep in mind that the final expenses can vary depending on the specific location, funeral home, and choices made for the funeral services.

    Just because you live in a state with a high funeral cost doesn’t mean you have to stress over how you are going to pay for a funeral. 

    There are many options you must pay for funerals. Here are 5 ways you can pay for a funeral: 

    Senior Care Final Expense Insurance

    One of the best ways you can pay for a funeral is with senior care final expense insurance

    Senior care final expense insurance allows your family to pay for your burial costs through cash value that’s accumulated while the policy is in place. 

    Want to learn more about senior care final expense insurance? Here is an article that might help you understand more about it!

    Prepaid Funeral Plans

    Prepaid funeral plans are funeral plans that come with a special “preneed” contract funded with an insurance policy. 

    There are typically two types of prepaid plans you can go with to pay for a funeral: 

    • Preneed policies
    • Funeral trusts 

    These are both great options for many, it's important to understand the difference between the two so you can know for sure if you want to prepay for your funeral.

    Credit Card or Funeral Loan

    Another way you can pay for a funeral is with a credit card or funeral loan! 

    We don’t typically recommend this option as it will put you in debt (this is especially true if you already have a significant amount of debt). 

    However, there are some lending companies that offer funeral loans to families with no interest for the first few months. 

    Crowdfunding

    Some families that don’t have a financial plan in place resort to crowdfunding to cover funerals. 

    Websites such as Gofundme.com or funeralfund.com can help many families share their story and get support to fund their loved ones funeral.  

    Out of Pocket

    Lastly, you can pay for a funeral out of pocket through cash, debit, or credit! 

    Most families won’t pay for a funeral out of pocket because of the cost, but for those with the amount of money available, this is an option. 

    Final Thoughts 

    Regardless of the state, it's important for families and individuals to plan ahead, compare costs, and consider alternatives such as cremation or green burials, which can be more affordable options.

    When planning for end-of-life arrangements, it's essential to consider the following factors:

  • Pre-planning: Pre-planning a funeral can help reduce stress on loved ones during a difficult time, and it may also help lock in prices, mitigating future increases in burial costs.
  • Comparing prices: By comparing prices and services across various funeral homes, you may find more affordable options that still meet your needs and preferences.
  • Alternative options: Consider alternatives to traditional burial, such as cremation or green burials, which can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
  • Financial assistance: Look into financial assistance programs, such as burial insurance, funeral trusts, or veteran benefits, to help cover funeral costs.
  • Understanding the factors that contribute to the high burial costs in states like New York, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut can help individuals and families make informed decisions when planning a funeral. 

    By exploring different options and making informed choices, it is possible to honor the memory of a loved one while managing the financial aspects of a burial.

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