Death care services - Statistics & Facts

The death care industry includes companies who provide death-related goods and services such as funerals, burials, cremations, coffins, lots in cemeteries, headstones and memorials. In 2017 around 25,460 morticians and 34,970 funeral attendants were employed in the United States, earning median annual wages of 56,300 dollars and 27,120 dollars respectively. At that time there were 19,322 funeral homes across the United States, a figure that has been steadily declining in recent times. It is estimated that the provision of funeral homes and cemetery services generated a combined total revenue of 19.84 billion U.S. dollars in 2017.

As of July 2018, 86 percent of the death care market in the United States is serviced by small and family owned businesses. The remaining 14 percent is serviced by three main providers: Service Corporation International (SCI), with a market share of 12 percent, followed by Carriage Services and StoneMor Partners, who each have a market share of around one percent.

Overall the industry is growing, with all three of the leading providers seeing moderate increases in revenue over the last three years. SCI’s annual revenue increased from 2.99 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 to 3.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, while over the same period StoneMor Partners' revenue increased from 320 million to 338 million U.S. dollars and Carriage Services’ revenue increased from 243 million to 258 million U.S. dollars. Both SCI and Carriage Services generate the majority of their revenue from funeral homes, while StoneMor Partners generates more revenue from cemetery services.

One factor that has likely contributed to this increase in revenue is the rising cost of funerals in the United States. The median cost of a funeral with a viewing and a burial, and including a vault, has increased from 8,508 dollars in 2014 to 8,755 dollars in 2017. For funerals with a viewing and a cremation, over the same time period the median cost has increased from 6,078 dollars to 6,260 dollars. Price may also be a factor that has contributed to the growing preference for cremations over burials. The cremation rate in the United States increased from 32.3 percent in 2005 to 47.9 percent in 2015, while the at the same time the burial rate decreased from 61.4 percent to 45.2 percent. This trend is expected to continue, with a predicted cremation rate of 79.1 percent in 2035.

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