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Expand chart
Data: Cremation Association of North America; Note: Data includes instances of alkaline hydrolysis. Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

More Americans are choosing to be cremated after death rather than having a traditional burial, according to data from the Cremation Association of North America (CANA).

Between the lines: Most people choose cremation over burial because it's cheaper, but others simply "don’t see the value in these old traditions. They’re interested in creating new traditions," Barbara Kemmis, executive director of CANA, told Axios.

By the numbers: In 2004, less than 1/3 of the deceased were cremated in the U.S. In 2016, half of American deaths resulted in cremation. CANA projects the share will rise to 65% in 2028, at which point growth is expected to slow, according to their trend analysis of individual states.

Areas with high affiliation to Christianity as well as lower income and lesser educated populations tend to prefer traditional burials to cremations, according to CANA's research. For example, "bible belt" states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana have some of the lowest cremation rates.

  • Meanwhile, cremation is more popular in areas of the country with more immigrants, other religious groups and higher income people.

New preferences have rattled undertakers, who make significantly more money off of burials than cremations and are now facing urn and casket competition from Amazon and Walmart, the Economist reports ($).

  • Relatives and friends have been making more outlandish requests for their loved ones' funerals or "life celebrations." They've asked for pizza and margaritas, karaoke and tiki huts and even fireworks to shoot their loved one's ashes into the sky, according to an undertaker who spoke to the Economist.

The bottom line: The popularity of traditional, more expensive embalming, caskets and funerals is dying along with the silent generation and baby boomers.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  3. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators seeks stimulus dealChuck Grassley returns to Senate after recovering from COVID-19.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. Economy: Wall Street wonders how bad economy has to get for Congress to act.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.