Can You Afford to Die Where You Live?

March 19th 2016

Lucy Tiven

All of us must eventually face death, but when the time comes to relocate to 'a better place,' some states' funeral and cremation costs are more expensive than others.

Parting, a website that provides information and resources on death care, created an interactive map that illustrates how funeral and cremation pricing varies across the U.S.

Parting examines options for funeral services and looked at costs for three kinds of death care: traditional funerals, cremation memorials, and direct cremations. A traditional funeral includes a wake, funeral service and a committal — a ritual in which loved ones gather while the casket is lowered. Parting noted that these averages included a $1,500 casket but did not factor in a cemetery plot or tombstone.

Cremation memorials include a ceremony with an urn or photograph in lieu of a casket, while direct cremations, by far the cheapest way to go, omit the ceremony altogether.

Here's what a permanent vacation costs across the U.S.

These are the cheapest places to have a traditional funeral.

There were only five states where the average traditional funeral cost was less than $6,000, according to Parting. At $5,767, Oregon had the lowest average cost in the country. Oregon was also the first state to legalize assisted suicide and enacted the Death With Dignity Act in 1997.

Oregon Funeral Cost

Washington, neighboring Oregon to the North, also boasted a reasonable traditional funeral cost of $5,927, the fourth lowest in the nation. Arkansas came in second, with a price tag of $5,859, while Montana and Arizona averaged at $5,903 and $5,993.

Cremation memorial pricing closely mirrored traditional funeral costs.

Arkansas offered the cheapest average cremation memorial, at $2,891, while Oregon and Washington averaged at $2,922 and $3,021. Montana also ranked on the cheap end, at $2,917.

Arkansas Cremation Ceremony

However, direct cremation, where "the body is immediately taken to the crematory and returned to the family, without any ceremony" is the cheapest option other than donating the deceased to science, Parting wrote.

Both Oregon and Washington offer bargain-priced direct cremation, at $1,461 and $1,442. However, Nevada, a state with high funeral and cremation ceremony costs, offered the cheapest average direct cremation, at $1,428.

Nevada Cremation

These are the states where it's most expensive to die.

Whatever your death care preferences, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Connecticut are some of the priciest locations, according to Parting.

High Funeral Cost Minnesota

An average Minnesota traditional funeral costs $7,507. Heading further east, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey funerals averaged $7,198, $7,136, and $7,059. Nevada, known for its shot-gun style weddings, also happened to be one of the most expensive states to hold a traditional funeral, at $6,834.

For the most part, cremation ceremonies and direct cremations were most costly in the same states where funerals were expensive.

CT Cremation

The most expensive state to have a direct cremation was Connecticut. Minnesota came in second.

The cost of dying is different in major U.S. cities.

Those dedicated to live and die in L.A. may be pleased to learn that the city's funeral and cremation costs are quite low: $5,562 for a traditional funeral, $2,789 for a cremation ceremony, and $1,543 for direct cremation.

CA Funeral Costs

On the other end of the spectrum, Chicago was one of the most expensive major cities, averaging $7,062 for a funeral and $4,039 and $2,009 for cremation ceremonies and direct cremations respectively.

Chicago Funeral Cost

While New York state's average funeral and cremation prices fell below the median, death care was considerably pricier in New York City than the state average. In New York City, which boasts the seventh steepest cost of living in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal, the average traditional funeral costs $6,886, above the median, while cremation memorials and direct cremations cost an average of $3,924 and $2,071, Parting reported.

New York Funeral Cost

The cremation business is booming.

In 2013, the cremation industry was growing faster than any other kind of death care, according to an NBC report. Anchor Tyler Mathisen proposed that this was due to financial factors, the Catholic Church softening its ban on cremation, and family burial plots becoming less popular as more Americans moved away from their families.

Cremation has also become increasingly popular in the UK, according to a 2016 BBC report. Catherine Powell, the customer experience director at the company Pure Cremation, told the BBC that people opted to forgo funerals for emotional reasons as well as financial ones, and often chose to hold "a more 'celebratory' event, such as a summer beach party or function at a golf club, to take place weeks or months later" instead.

You can check out the average price of death care in your state and around the country on the Parting website.