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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

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.