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How Much Does Cremation Cost?

by Kirk Fox

Cremation has become very popular in recent years. In a 2016 report from the National Funeral Directors Association, 50% of Americans chose cremation versus 43% who opted for a traditional burial. Cremation is usually less expensive than burial. How much does it cost to be cremated?

While there is no set cost, the average cost for direct cremation is typically between $1,000 and $3,000. Direct cremation is the most affordable cremation service option. With direct cremation, the body is cremated soon after death, before any funeral or memorial service. Since there is no viewing, you do not have to pay for embalming or an expensive funeral casket. Additionally, you do not necessarily have to buy a burial plot or headstone.

Opting for cremation does not mean you have to go without a traditional funeral. A funeral service can be arranged before or after cremation takes place. And cremated remains can be interred in a cemetery if so desired.


The cost of cremation will be more expensive depending on the funeral and memorial options you choose, as well as where you reside. Expect higher prices in expensive cities such as Los Angeles than in rural areas. Be aware that there is no regulation regarding cremation pricing, so be sure to do your research and compare companies to make sure you are receiving a fair price and to learn about any additional fees that may exist.

Average Cremation Cost

Here are the average cremation prices in the 10 most expensive cities in the country, according to the Cremation Institute.

1. New York City, NY$550 – $10,200
2. Washington, DC$700 – $7,600
3. Houston, TX$675 – $6,800
4. Dallas, TX$850 – $6,300
5. Indianapolis, IN$900 – $6,100
6. Chicago, IL$895 – $4,600
7. Charlotte, NC$875 – $4,400
8. Nashville, TN$1,295 – $4,400
9. Virginia Beach, VA$900 -$4,300
10. Providence, RI$1,400 – $4,100


Additional Costs of Cremation:

Cremation Casket

You will need at least a simple casket for the body to rest in during cremation. A cremation casket typically is made out of wood or cardboard, no metal. The cost of a cremation casket varies, starting as low as $120 for cardboard or $500 for a simple wooden container.

If you are having a traditional funeral, you may wish to have a more elaborate casket for the service. If cost is a concern, consider renting a casket to use at the funeral. The cremation casket containing the deceased can be placed inside the rented casket during the service.

An Urn or Cremation Container

If you wish to keep the cremated ashes of your loved one as a memorial, or inter them in the cemetery, then you will most likely purchase an urn. Depending on material, design, and size, urns range in price from around $100 to upwards of $1,000. Know that you do not have to decide on an urn right away. The cremation company can provide a box where you can keep your loved one’s ashes until you settle on an urn.

Scattering Ashes

Some companies will go to a specified site and scatter your loved one’s ashes if you are not able to do so yourself. Many of these companies are regional and will fly over a particular site or take a boat out in the ocean to fulfill your wishes. The price for these services vary depending on what is required.

Related to Cremation

How the Cremation Process Works
Arranging the Interment of Ashes
How to Plan an Ash Scattering Ceremony
Types of Cremation Urns

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