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One in five households hold someone’s cremated remains


Well that is what a survey of residents of California and Washington State revealed. I came across this delightful infographic the other day and thought it was worth sharing.

A number of funeral homes got together and commissioned a small survey on people attitudes to keeping ashes in the home and is does make a few claims which I think are well worth sharing:

  • One in five people have cremation ashes stored in the house.
  • Of the ashes stored within people’s homes 50% are parents, 15% are their spouse and 5 % are a friend.
  • 54% who had cremated remains in the house mainly did so because of the lack of knowledge regarding other options
  • The majority of people who have ashes store have only the remains of one individual at home (76%), although a significant number (24%) have kept the remains of more than one person.
  • If they choose to inter the ashes at a cemetery the top reasons given were: having a place for family members to visit (48%), showing respect (47%), memorialising loved ones (43%) and helping future generations connect with their heritage (43%).

About the Survey: 405 respondents in California and Washington State were surveyed online July 2014; all individuals surveyed kept the ashes of loved ones at home. Mountain View Funeral Home and Cemetery, Chapel of the Chimes Hayward, Chapel of the Chimes Oakland, Sunset Lawn Chapel of the Chimes Sacramento and Skylawn Funeral Home sponsored the survey.

Now this is fascinating and I think it is good of the funeral homes to share the data, no one so naïve that they believe this is purely an altruistic exercise, of course not, so read with that in mind it helps to paint more into the picture.

You would think me remise if I didn’t ask the obvious questions, so here they are.

  • If all respondents had cremated remains already how do they know that one in five of all households contain them? If they used a calculation it is not evident.
  • If you total up whose ashes are kept (parent, spouse, friend) it leaves a gap of 20% … strangers? Likely that 20% did not state who, so they should have pointed that out.
  • The percentage spilt between parent and spouse is interesting (strangely low), one can’t know the research methodology but the fact that it is an online survey may be one reason, in that internet demographics influence the age range of respondents.

Of what can be considered fairly robust is: if someone is thinking about interring in a cemetery the data seems fairly reasonable about their rationale.

Another fact that we can glean is that nearly a quarter of those that have ashes in the house have more than one person.

Lastly is the statistic that more than half of people have them at home because they don’t know what the choices are, which chimes with our understanding too.

So well done them and thanks for the information. Here is the link to the full press release published on Reuters



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