Apr 17, 2018

The world is beginning to approach death differently

Southwest Pakistani Christians carrying a casket

Pakistani Christians carry the coffins of community members who were killed by a gunman. Photo: Banaras Khan/AFP via Getty Images

The death industry was a $16 billion business in 2017, but society is changing the way it thinks about loved ones' funerals as people have begun to seek out non-traditional and cheaper processes to lay them to rest, reports the Economist.

A sign of the times: More than half of all Americans are now cremated — up from just 4% in 1960 — and that number is expected to rise to 79% by 2035. Other religious European countries have begun to trend away from burials as well, but they still have much farther to go: Italy, which buried nearly all of its dead in 1995, buries 77% today.

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