Fact: 79% of those wishing to be cremated want their ashes scattered.
Which means about 2/3rds of us in total (80% of people are cremated).
The result of a recent YouGov survey confirmed what we have believed for years, if you want to be cremated then most of you want your ashes to be scattered.
The survey of 1,546 adults did throw up some interesting results, firstly 58% prefer cremation when they die, in comparison with 17% of those who would opt for burial. When in fact around 80% of us end up being cremated. The survey pointed to the fact that the older we got the more we tended to choose cremation. While 42% of 18 to 24-year-olds wish to be cremated, this figure rises to 71% among the over-65s. Their spin on it was “perhaps as our bodies wear out and we no longer idolise the idea of trying to preserve them.” I would tend to think the older we get the more practical we get.
So if 79% want to be cremated what do the others want? 7% want their ashes to be kept after they’ve been cremated. The rest ‘don’t know’
The survey also addressed four other questions relating to death and funerals:
- How long do you want to live for?
- Are you frightened of death?
- Is it appropriate to wear colours at a funeral?
- What about a will?
Covering the first two:
Asked how long they would like to live for, at 44% the most popular answer was to be between 81 and 100 years old. The current UK life expectancy is 81, according to data from the World Bank. This age range was the most popular choice across all age groups, with those aged 65 and older being the most keen at 60%.
Only a fraction of people seem to want to live for as long as they possibly can. The highest option – to live to be 110 or older – was chosen by just 14% of people overall and this figure was broadly consistent across all age groups. Men, however, are significantly more likely to choose this option than women, with 19% of men wanting to live to be 110 or older compared to 9% of women.
Despite their desire to live for longer, men are significantly less likely to be scared of death than women, with nearly six in ten (58%) of men saying they were not afraid of death compared to 42% of women. Overall, half of the population say that they are not afraid of death, whilst a third (32%) say that they are and two in ten (19%) don’t know.
Discussing the results with a friend he came up with a rather witty observation: it is not surprising that blokes aren’t as freighted as death as women, apparently they seem to be convinced it’s further off..
Well we know statistically men don’t live as long, but I would imagine culturally it is more difficult for men to say they are frightened. This is a very tangled web to unweave…
So colours at a funeral. Unsurprisingly the newer you are to the game the more reserved you are, younger people felt safer in black where the older you get the less it seemed to matter.
Wearing black is now only seen as a requirement at funerals by 22% of people. Twice as many (45%) think that wearing other colours is ok, so long as they are dark and sombre, whilst another 29% think it is ok to wear any colour clothing to a funeral.
My take on this: colour is not the issue, it is all about thought and effort, I would much prefer to see someone at a funeral in a colourful paisley pattern suit as opposed to black jeans and t-shirt.
The last question was about making a will, we already know this – it is pitifully small -39%, now in a way that is not so bad, in your 20s and 30s it isn’t top priority but nearly half (45%) of people aged between 50 and 64 still don’t have a will! I hear from so many people – I don’t want to be as burden to my family. Yet they don’t make a will, so if you don’t want burden then don’t! [Sorry, I will calm down now]
There was the quite a few comments as there tends to be on this subject, including the ubiquitous – put me in a cardboard box / I don’t care. To the equally essential element of such things – conspiracy and madness: cremation is popular because of imperial propaganda! [Love it!]
My favourite comment is the following, I can’t imagine why 😉
I thought about this many times as to what should happen to my body when I kick the bucket and fall over. I wouldn’t mind cremation, but if I am getting cremated, I am getting cremated in style with one of those Viking ship burials.
The BBC managed to get a quote from Freddie Sayers, editor-in-chief at YouGov: “It’s always interesting to see real numbers about something that people never really talk about.
“I think these figures lift the lid on one of the great taboo subjects.”
Please don’t call it the great taboo it reinforces historic attitudes to this subject. Still, I am very pleased they did it!