Funeral Industry Statistics: A State by State Look

Funeral Industry Statistics

The funeral industry is large and mature. According to which funeral industry statistics you follow, sales in 2019 were somewhere between $17-$20 billion.

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed more than 25,000 people employed in the funeral services industry. Funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians make up approximately 16,000 of these.

The industry is highly regulated. On a Federal level, the Funeral Rule applies. The FTC administers The Funeral Rule, legislation enacted in 1984. It was amended in 1994 to include more up-to-date consumer protections.

>>Learn more about The Funeral Rule.

While The Funeral Rule focuses on a broad slate of consumer protections, each state is responsible for more comprehensive regulation. That means that each state has its own set of requirements and regulatory agencies. To help you understand the distinction between how each state regulates the industry, we have compiled a summary of each state’s funeral industry and regulations.

Besides facts and figures, each synopsis has information on which agency to contact if you have a question or complaint. Also included is information on how to request a death certificate.

Click on one of the bars below to choose a state.

Funeral Industry Statistics and Regulation by State

Alabama Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 286 funeral homes, 78 cemeteries, and 540 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in the State of Alabama.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 31.3% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. You can scatter ashes, but you must request permission if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required if the body is leaving the state.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals.
  • The law requires you to use a funeral director.

Complaints/Questions:

Alabama Board of Funeral Service, 334-242-4049

Death Certificates:

Alabama Center for Health Statistics, Alabama Department of Public Health

Alaska Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

The funeral industry in Alaska is relatively small, with approximately 15 funeral homes and seven cemeteries. Embalming is not required, and there is no waiting period for cremation.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 68% (2017). There is no legislated cremation waiting period. You may scatter ashes, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is legal for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required.
  • Home funerals are permitted. Check local zoning laws for home burials.

Complaints/Questions:

Alaska Attorney General’s Office, 907-269-5200

Death Certificates:

State of Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics, 907-465-3391

Arizona Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 143 funeral homes, 42 cemeteries, and 210 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in the State of Arizona.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 70.3% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans. You may scatter ashes but check with the property owner or municipality to be sure.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming or refrigeration is required after 24 hours.
  • Home funerals are permitted.

Complaints/Questions:

Arizona State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers, 602-542-3095

Death Certificates:

Office of Vital Records, Arizona Dept of Health Services

Arkansas Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 225 funeral homes, 44 cemeteries, and 380 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Arkansas. Most families opt for in-ground burial. Home funerals are permitted, and the use of a funeral director is not required.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 42% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. You may scatter ashes, but permission should be requested from the property owner or municipality. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but can be used for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming or refrigeration after 24 hours unless cremating. If leaving the state, embalming or refrigeration is required.
  • Home funerals are permitted, and no funeral director is required.

Complaints/Questions:

Arkansas State Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, 501-682-0574, www.arkansas.gov/fdemb

Death Certificates:

Arkansas Bureau of Vital Statistics, 501-661-2336

 

California Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 778 funeral homes, 272 cemeteries, and 1,200 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in the State of California.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 67.8% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 12 hours. You may scatter ashes under certain circumstances. We recommend you contact the California EPA before making plans to scatter. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal for both humans and animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Funeral directors must embalm or refrigerate within 24 hours.
  • Home funerals are legal. Embalming is not required.
  • Bodies must be buried in established cemeteries.

Colorado Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 140 funeral homes, 50 cemeteries, and 250 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Colorado. The cremation rate is high, at 76.2%. Consequently, there is a high demand for the scattering of ashes. We recommend you request permission, especially on State or Federal Land. A permit is required to scatter in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 76.2% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required if disposition doesn’t take place within 24 hours. Must be embalmed or hermetically sealed if transported out of state by common carrier.
  • Scattering is permitted on your private land. You should ask permission if the property does not belong to you. A permit is required to scatter in Rocky Mountain National Park. To be safe, you should always request permission to scatter on State or Federal land.

Connecticut Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 215 funeral homes, 88 cemeteries, and 300 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Connecticut. Funeral regulations are relatively strict. A funeral director or embalmer must be used to handle, transport, and tend to final disposition. A cremation permit is required, and it must designate where the ashes will be stored.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 59.2% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 48 hours. A cremation permit requires the designation of the final disposition of the ashes. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is only required if death is by contagious disease.
  • Home funerals require the use of a funeral director.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Examiners of Embalmers and Funeral Directors, 860-509-7648

Death Certificates:

Connecticut Department of Public Health Vital Records Section, www.ct.gov/dph

Delaware Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 47 funeral homes and 18 cemeteries in Delaware. Delaware requires that the body be preserved if disposition does not take place within 24 hours.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 55% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. A cremation permit requires the designation of the final disposition of the ashes. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but the body must be embalmed, refrigerated, or hermetically sealed if disposition takes place later than 24 hours.
  • Home funerals are permitted, but you should check local zoning laws. Permits are required for transportation.

Complaints/Questions:

Delaware Board of Funeral Services, (302) 744-4500, [email protected]

Death Certificates:

Delaware Health and Social Services, (302) 744-4549

Florida Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 6665 funeral homes, 208 cemeteries, and 1,660 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in the State of Florida.

Cremation: The cremation rate is nearly 70% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 48 hours. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal. Ashes may not be scattered on public land or water.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • If the final disposition will not take place within 24 hours, the body must be embalmed or refrigerated.
  • Home funerals are legal.
  • State regulation of funeral and related industries falls under the purview of the Funeral, Cemetery & Consumers Services division of the State of Florida.

Complaints/Questions:

Funeral, Cemetery & Consumer Services, 850-413-3039

Death Certificates:

Florida Bureau of Vital Statistics, 904-359-6900

Georgia Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 448 funeral homes and 113 cemeteries in Georgia, with 700 licensed funeral directors/morticians. Embalming is not required, and home funerals are permitted.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 46.6% (2017). Scattering is permitted, but you should check with the property owner, federal agency, or municipality to be sure. Scattering at sea must take place within 50 days. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are allowed, but permission must be granted from a medical examiner or doctor to transport the body.
  • If transporting out of state, a final disposition permit is required.

Complaints/Questions:

Georgia Board of Funeral Service, 844-753-7825

Death Certificates:

Georgia Department of Public Health Vital Records, 404-679-4702

Hawaii Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are 21 funeral homes and 12 cemeteries in Hawaii. Cremation is extremely popular in Hawaii. In 2017 the rate was 76.5%. We expect that it is even higher today. Burial at sea is a popular disposition method for the ashes. Laws regarding scattering are relatively light. Large at-sea gatherings must be approved in advance, and federal regulations followed.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is nearly 76.5% (2015), and the waiting period is 24 hours. Scattering is permitted but confirm with the property owner, federal agency, or municipality to be sure. No permit necessary for scattering at sea unless it is a large event. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans..

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are legal.
  • If transporting out of state, a final disposition permit is required.

Complaints/Questions:

Dept of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, 808-587-4272

Death Certificates:

hawaii.gov

Idaho Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 71 funeral homes in Idaho. Home burials are permitted, and embalming is not required. Embalming or refrigeration must take place within 24 hours.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 66.3% (2017). Scattering is permitted, but you should check with the property owner, federal agency, or municipality to be sure. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are legal, and there are no preservation requirements.
  • Embalming is required for transportation by common carrier.

Complaints/Questions:

Death Certificates:

Idaho Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics. (208) 334-5988

Illinois Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest figures, there are 796 funeral homes, 243 cemeteries, and 1,180 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Illinois. The state requires that a funeral director file the death certificate.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 52.8% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Scattering must take place in a legally established scattering area. Permission should be from Federal, state, and private landholders. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • There are no laws covering embalming.
  • At home burial is permitted but confirm local regulations.

Complaints/Questions:

Dept. of Professional Regulation, 217-785-0823, http://www.idfpr.com/profs/FunDirEmb.asp

Death Certificates:

Division of Vital Records, 217-782-6554

Indiana Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest funeral industry statistics, there are 508 funeral homes, 158 cemeteries, and 690 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Indiana. The state requires that a funeral director handle disposition permits and receive cremated remains.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 45.5% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 48 hours. Scattering should be in a legally established scattering area. Permission should be from Federal, state, and private landholders. Disposition of ashes form must be filed with the county within 10 days of placement or scattering. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is legal for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required. Infectious disease(s) should be reported to the attending physician.
  • Home burial is permitted, but local regulations should be confirmed.

Complaints/Questions:

Indiana State Board of Funeral & Cemetery Service, www.state.in.us/pla/funeral.htm

Death Certificates:

Indiana State Department of Health, Department of Vital Records, http://www.in.gov/isdh/25993.htm, 1-800-382-9480

Iowa Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 344 funeral homes, 89 cemeteries, and 420 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Iowa.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 53.8%. Ashes may be scattered contingent on the permission of the landholder. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required only in the case of communicable disease.
  • A funeral director is required to handle all dispositions.

Complaints/Questions:

Iowa Dept. of Public Health/Lucas State Office Building, 515-281-4287, http://www.idph.state.ia.us/licensure/MortuaryScience.aspx

Death Certificates:

Iowa Dept. of Public Health, https://idph.iowa.gov/

Kansas Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest funeral industry statistics, there are 236 funeral homes, 45 cemeteries, and 320 funeral directors, undertakers, and morticians in Kansas.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 56.3%. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal but is not yet available to the general public.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Preservation must take place after 24 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Specific diseases may require a funeral director handle the body.

Complaints/Questions:

Kansas State Board of Mortuary Sciences, https://ksbma.ks.gov/contact-us/complaint, (785) 296-3980

Death Certificates:

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, http://www.kdheks.gov/vital/death.html, (785) 296-1500

Kentucky Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 387 funeral homes, 96 cemeteries, and 900 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Kentucky.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 32.2%. No waiting period is specified but most states require at least 24 hours. Scattering permitted contingent on receiving the permission of the property owner. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Reporting of contagious or communicable diseases to the attending physician is recommended.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Home burial is possible depending on local regulations.

Complaints/Questions:

Kentucky Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, 502-426-4589

Death Certificates:

Kentucky Vital Statistics Office, 502-564-4212, http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/vital/deathcert.htm

Louisiana Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 261 funeral homes, 60 cemeteries, and 420 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Louisiana.

Cremation:

In 2017, the cremation rate was 33.4%. No cremation waiting period is specified but most states require at least 24 hours. Scattering is permitted contingent on receiving the permission of the landowner. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • A funeral director is required for filing of the death certificate. Bodies must be embalmed or refrigerated after 30 hours.
  • Home funerals are permitted but burial must be done in an established cemetery. To use private land you must establish a family graveyard.

Complaints/Questions:

Louisiana State Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, 504-838-5109, http://www.lsbefd.state.la.us/file-a-complaint/

Death Certificates:

Lousiana Department of Health Vital Records, 504.593.5100, http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/subhome/21

Maine Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 90 funeral homes, 33 cemeteries, and 120 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Maine.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 77.8% (2017) and the cremation waiting period is 48 hours. Ashes may be scattered but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal and available to the public.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required but if shipped by common carrier, the body must be embalmed or in a sealed container.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Diseases should be reported to the attending physician.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Funeral Service, (207) 624-8624

Death Certificates:

Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Systems, 207-287-5500

Maryland Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 218 funeral homes, 99 cemeteries, and 380 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Maryland. By law, bodies must be buried in an established cemetery. To establish a family cemetery contact the county clerk.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate in Maryland was 47.1%. Scattering of ashes is permitted but the public is encouraged to do so “responsibly.” Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is legal for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required but contagious diseases should be reported to the attending physician.
  • Deaths must be registered with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within 72 hours.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Morticians and Funeral Directors, http://dhmh.maryland.gov/Pages/contactus.aspx, 877-463-3464

Death Certificates:

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, http://dhmh.maryland.gov/vsa/Pages/death.aspx, (410) 764-3038

Massachusetts Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 404 funeral homes, 115 cemeteries, and 850 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Massachusetts.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 51.1%. Embalming is not required, but there is a waiting period of 48 hours. Scattering of ashes is permitted contingent on local laws and landowner permission. Bio cremation (alkaline hydrolysis is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Death must be registered with the Board of health within five days.
  • A permit to transport is required.

Complaints/Questions:

Massachusetts Health & Human Services, http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/borim/info-for-consumers/complaints/consumer-complaint-guide.html

Death Certificates:

Registry of Vital Records, (617) 740-2600, http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/admin/dmoa/vitals/

Michigan Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

Based on recent statistics, there are 552 funeral homes, 115 cemeteries, and 850 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Michigan.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is approximately 64.2% (2017). Scattering of ashes is permitted pending permission of the landowner. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) for humans is not yet legal in Michigan. It is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • A Funeral Director must file the death certificate and oversee disposition.
  • Embalming is required only in the case of rare or infectious diseases.

Complaints/Questions:

Michigan Funeral Directors Association, http://www.mfda.org/aws/MFDA/pt/sp/facts_complaints

Death Certificates:

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services, 517-335-8656

Minnesota Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 310 funeral homes, 117 cemeteries, 460 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Minnesota.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 69.7%. You may scatter ashes pending permission for the landowner. Minnesota is one of the few states where bio cremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is available to the public.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming or refrigeration is required after 72 hours. Embalming is required after six days.
  • The death certificate must be filed within five days of death and before final disposition.

Complaints/Questions:

Minnesota Department of Health, Mortuary Science Section, 651-201-3829, www.health.state.mn.us/divs/hpsc/mortsci/complaints.html

Death Certificates:

Minnesota Department of Vital Records, http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/death.html

Mississippi Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 223 funeral homes, 35 cemeteries, and 260 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Mississippi.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 23.8%. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans. It is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not mandated, but preservation by embalming or refrigeration is required if disposition doesn’t take place with 48 hours, 24 hours if transporting.
  • Death must be registered within five days. A contagious disease that endangers public health must be reported to the medical examiner.

Complaints/Questions:

Mississippi State Board of Funeral Service, https://www.msbfs.ms.gov/secure/funeralcomplaints.html, 601-932-1973

Death Certificates:

Mississippi Dept of Health, Vital Records, http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/31,0,109.html, 601-576-7400

Missouri Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 420 funeral homes, 128 cemeteries, and 730 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in the state of Missouri.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 50.8%. Embalming is only required in the case of infectious disease, shipment by common carrier, and storage longer than 24 hours. Scattering of ashes is permitted. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • A death certificate must be filed with the local registrar within five days and before the final disposition of the body.
  • Home funerals are permitted. Regulations apply to home burial. Check local laws and ordinances.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, 573.751.0813, http://pr.mo.gov/embalmers.asp

Death Certificates:

Dept. of Vital Records, (314) 613-3016, http://health.mo.gov/data/vitalrecords/

Montana Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

Montana has approximately 58 funeral homes, 25 cemeteries, and 90 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 77.9% with a cremation waiting period of 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required but bodies must be embalmed or refrigerated if they are not at their destination within 48 hours of death.
  • When death is by infectious disease, the body must be disposed of as soon as possible.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Funeral Services, (406) 841-2386, http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/fnr#0?1

Death Certificates:

Office of Vital Records, Department of Public Health and Human Services, (888) 877-1946, http://dphhs.mt.gov/vitalrecords

Nebraska Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are 159 funeral homes, 37 cemeteries, and 290 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Nebraska.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 45.7%. Ashes may be scattered but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required but must be used if shipped by common carrier and won’t arrive within 24 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Contagious or communicable disease should be reported to the attending physician.

Complaints/Questions:

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, 402-471-3121

Death Certificates:

Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services, Vital Records, [email protected], (402) 471-2871

Nevada Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest estimates, there are 59 funeral homes, 18 cemeteries, and 130 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Nevada.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 79.6%. Ashes may be scattered but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Preservation must take place after 72 hours with a maximum of 6 days of refrigeration. Embalming is required for certain diseases and for transportation in any way.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. The death certificate must be filed with the local registrar within 72 hours after death.

Complaints/Questions:

Nevada State Funeral Board, http://funeral.nv.gov/Complaint/Complaint/, (775) 825-5535

Death Certificates:

The State of Nevada, Office of Vital Records, 775-684-4200

New Hampshire Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest statistics, New Hampshire has 68 funeral homes, 20 cemeteries, and 130 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 78.4%. The waiting period for cremation is 48 hours. Scattering of ashes is permitted, but you should check with the property owner. Biocremation is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Bodies must not be exposed to the public for longer than 24 hours without embalming.
  • Reporting of contagious or communicable diseases is recommended.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Registration of Funeral Directors & Embalmers, https://www.oplc.nh.gov/funeral/faq.htm, (603) 271-2152

Death Certificates:

New Hampshire Department of State, Vital Records, http://sos.nh.gov/certcopies.aspx, 603-271-4650

New Jersey Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the most recent statistics, there are 481 funeral homes, 174 cemeteries, and 680 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in New Jersey. New Jersey requires a funeral director to oversee disposition.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 47.8%. The scattering of ashes is legal contingent on local regulations and laws. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans. Scattering is permitted pending local rules and laws.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are legal, but a funeral director is required for paperwork and to oversee disposition.
  • Embalming required if shipped by common carrier and won’t reach the destination within 24 hours.

Complaints/Questions:

State Board of Mortuary Science, (973) 504-6425

Death Certificates:

Depart. Of Public Health, Vital Records, http://www.nj.gov/state/archives/catsehealt2.html

New Mexico Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are 65 funeral homes, 17 cemeteries, and 110 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in New Mexico.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 64.7%. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but bodies must be embalmed or refrigerated after 24 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Contagious or communicable diseases should be reported to the attending physician.

Complaints/Questions:

New Mexico Board of Thanatopractice, 505-476-4970, http://www.rld.state.nm.us/thanatopractice/complaint.html

Death Certificates:

New Mexico Department of Health, 1-866-534-0051, https://nmhealth.org/about/erd/bvrhs/vrp/death/

New York Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are more than 1,071 funeral homes in New York, approximately 442 cemeteries, and 1,430 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers. By law, all disposition must be handled by a funeral director.

Cremation:

The cremation rate was 47.1% in 2017, and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required.
  • It is required that a funeral director handle all dispositions.

Complaints/Questions:

Bureau of Funeral Directing, 518-402-0785, [email protected]

Death Certificates:

NY State Dept. of Health, 877-854-4481, http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/services/death-certificates.page

North Carolina Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the last count, there were 530 funeral homes, 154 cemeteries, and 1,050 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in North Carolina. Embalming is not required, but death by certain infectious diseases must be encased in a sealed casket.

Cremation:

The cremation rate was 42% in 2015. The waiting period is 24 hours. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal. Scattering is permitted pending local rules and laws.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are legal, but whoever is handling the arrangements must file a “notification of death” within 24 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals and burials.

Complaints/Questions:

NC Board of Funeral Service, http://www.ncbfs.org/complaints.html, (919) 733-9380

Death Certificates:

NC Health & Human Services, Vital Records, 919-855-4800, www.ncdhhs.gov

North Dakota Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 47 funeral homes, 25 cemeteries, and 110 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in North Dakota.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 47.7%. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required for certain diseases and if disposition is not completed within 48 hours. All disposition must take place within eight days.
  • Scattering of ashes is permitted contingent on local regulations. Permission should be requested if using state and federal lands.

Complaints/Questions:

North Dakota Board of Funeral Service, 701-776-6222, https://www.nd.gov/funeral/complaints/

Death Certificates:

North Dakota Department of Vital Records, http://ndhealth.gov/vital/, 701.328.237

Ohio Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to the latest estimates, there are 857 funeral homes, 269 cemeteries, and 1,100 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Ohio.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate in Ohio was 51.7%. Scattering of ashes is permitted contingent on local laws and ordinances. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but bodies with communicable diseases must be buried or cremated within 24 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals.

Complaints/Questions:

Board of Embalmers & Funeral Directors, http://funeral.test.ohio.gov/Forms/Complaint-Investigation-Process, 614.466.4252

Death Certificates:

Department of Health, Vital Records, (614) 466-2531, https://www.odh.ohio.gov/vs

Oklahoma Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 256 funeral homes, 50 cemeteries, and 330 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Oklahoma.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 49.5% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Funeral homes must embalm or refrigerate within 24 hours, but there are no embalming requirements for home funerals.
  • Burial on private property is possible but subject to local regulations.

Complaints/Questions:

Oklahoma Funeral Board, https://www.ok.gov/funeral/For_the_Consumer/Consumer_Complaints/index.html

Death Certificates:

Oklahoma State Department of Health, 405-271-4040, https://www.ok.gov/health/Birth_and_Death_Certificates/

 

Oregon Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 131 funeral homes, 53 cemeteries, and 280 funeral directors/morticians in Oregon.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 78.8% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is legal and available to the general population.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required for specific communicable diseases, and funeral directors must preserve after 24 hours. Embalming rules do not apply to home funerals. May used a sealed casket when transporting by common carrier.
  • Burial on private property is possible provided written consent is received from local authorities, and certain procedures are followed.

Complaints/Questions:

Oregon Mortuary and Cemetery Board, 971-673-1503, http://www.oregon.gov/MortCem/consumer_information/complaint.pdf

Death Certificates:

Oregon Public Health Division, 888-896-4988, vitalchek.com

Pennsylvania Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are more than 1,021 funeral homes in Pennsylvania, approximately 518 cemeteries, and 1,120 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers.

Cremation:

The cremation rate was 52.3% in 2017, and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but if a funeral director is involved, preservation must take place after 24 hours.
  • Home funerals and scattering of ashes are permitted contingent on local regulations.

Complaints/Questions:

Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association, (800) 692-6068, www.pfda.org

Death Certificates:

Pennsylvania Department of Health-Vital Records, www.health.pa.gov, 877-724-3258

Rhode Island Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there were 72 funeral homes, 30 cemeteries, and 120 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Rhode Island.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 50.7% (2017). Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but when shipping by common carrier, the body must be embalmed or in a sealed container. Funeral homes must preserve (embalm or refrigerate) after 48 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. The law requires you to use a funeral director. Any contagious or communicable disease should be reported to the attending physician.

Complaints/Questions:

Department of Health Complaint Unit,401-222-5200

Death Certificates:

Department of Health Vital Records, 401-222-5960

South Carolina Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 277 funeral homes, 70 cemeteries, and 270 funeral directors/morticians in South Carolina.

Cremation:

In 2017, the cremation rate was 47.8%. There is no cremation waiting period specified, but most states require at least 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered contingent on local regulations and the permission of the land ower. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required.
  • Reporting of contagious or infectious disease to attending physician is recommended.

Complaints/Questions:

South Carolina Board of Funeral Service, 803-896-4300, http://www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Funeral/index.asp?file=complaint.htm

Death Certificates:

South Carolina Vital Records, (803) 898-3630, http://www.scdhec.gov/VitalRecords/DeathCertificates/

South Dakota Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 78 funeral homes, 20 cemeteries, and 170 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in South Dakota.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 45.9%. You can scatter ashes, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required, but funeral homes must embalm or refrigerate within 24 hours.
  • Reporting of contagious or infectious diseases to the attending physician is recommended.

Complaints/Questions:

South Dakota Board of Funeral Service, https://doh.sd.gov/boards/funeral/complaints.aspx, 605-773-3361

Death Certificates:

South Dakota Department of Health, http://doh.sd.gov/records/death-records.aspx?, 605-773-3361

Tennessee Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 405 funeral homes, 128 cemeteries, and 850 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Tennessee.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 36.5%. Ashes may be scattered, but permission should be requested of the landowner, particularly if public or federal land is to be used. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • A funeral director is not required. Contagious or communicable diseases should be reported to the attending physician.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals.

Complaints/Questions:

TN Dept of Commerce & Insurance, https://www.tn.gov/commerce/topic/funeral-consumer-resources, 615-741-2241

Death Certificates:

TN Dept of Health Vital Records, https://tn.gov/health/article/vr-genealogy, (615) 741-1763

Texas Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are nearly 1,018 funeral homes, 290 cemeteries, and 1,890 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Texas. In 2017 the cremation rate was 49%. A bill to legalize bio cremation is currently working its way through the legislature and is expected to pass.

Cremation:

The cremation rate is 49% (2017), and the cremation waiting period is 48 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans. Biocremation is legal for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Must be embalmed, refrigerated, or in a sealed container after 24 hours.
  • Home funerals and burials are not prohibited by the State. For a burial, be sure to confirm local regulations.

Complaints/Questions:

Texas Funeral Service Commission, http://www.tfsc.state.tx.us/

Death Certificates:

Texas Health & Human Services, https://www.dshs.texas.gov/vs/reqproc/birth_death_general.shtm

Utah Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 99 funeral homes, 16 cemeteries, and 200 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Utah. Embalming or refrigeration is required if disposition takes place more than 24 hours after death.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 37%. Scattering ashes is permitted but you should seek permission from the landowner. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funeral and burial is continent on local laws and regulations.
  • A death certificate must be filed within five days of death and before final disposition.

Complaints/Questions:

Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing, http://dopl.utah.gov/investigations/complaint_process.html, (866) 275-3675

Death Certificates:

Utah Department of Vital Statistics, https://vitalrecords.utah.gov/certificates/order-a-vital-record-certificate, (801) 538-6105

Vermont Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 46 funeral homes, 23 cemeteries, and 70 funeral directors in Vermont.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 76.1%. You may scatter ashes, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is not required.
  • Contagious or communicable diseases should be reported to the attending physician.

Complaints/Questions:

Vermont Secretary of State, https://www.sec.state.vt.us/professional-regulation/file-a-complaint.aspx, 802-828-1134

Death Certificates:

Vermont Department of Health, http://www.healthvermont.gov/health-statistics-vital-records/vital-records-population-data/death, 802-863-7200

Virginia Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

As of the latest statistics, there were 394 funeral homes, 127 cemeteries, and 70 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Virginia.

Cremation:

The cremation rate was 42.2% in 2017. Ashes may be scattered contingent on local laws and regulations. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • There is no specified cremation waiting period, but preservation must take place after 48 hours.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. The law requires that you use a funeral director.

Complaints/Questions:

Virginia Board of Funeral Directors & Embalmers, https://www.dhp.virginia.gov/funeral/

Death Certificates:

Virginia Dept. of Health, Vital Records, http://166.67.66.226/lhd/portsmouth/VitalRecords.htm, (804) 662-6200

Washington Information

Funeral providers:

According to recent estimates, there are 180 funeral homes, 97 cemeteries, and 300 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in the state of Washington.

Cremation:

In 2017, the cremation rate in Washington was 78.8%. Embalming is not required but the body must be preserved until disposition. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans, but in May 2019, the state passed a law that permits the process known as human composting. Biocremation is permissible for animals. Scattering of ashes is permitted.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are permitted, but burial must take place in a cemetery owned by a corporation.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals.

Complaints/Questions:

Funeral and Cemetery Board, Department of Licensing, http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/funeralcemetery/fccomplaint.html, 360.664.1555

Death Certificates:

Washington State, Dept of Health, 360-236-4313, http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/BirthDeathMarriageandDivorce/OrderCertificates

West Virginia Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

There are approximately 206 funeral homes, 100 cemeteries, and 340 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in West Virginia.

Cremation:

The cremation rate in 2017 was 38.7%. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permissible for pets. Scattering of ashes is permitted, but you should check with the property owner or municipality to be sure.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Home funerals are permitted. Home burial may be possible pending local laws and ordinances.
  • The death certificate must be filed within five days of death and before final disposition.

Complaints/Questions:

WVA Board of Funeral Service Examiners, http://www.wvfuneralboard.com/Home/COMPLAINTS/HowtoFileaComplaint/tabid/642/Default.aspx, (304) 558-0302

Death Certificates:

WV Dept of Health & Human Resources, Health Statistics, 304-558-2931

Wisconsin Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

According to most recent estimates, there are 428 funeral homes, 132 cemeteries, and 760 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in Wisconsin.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 62.9%. The waiting period is 48 hours. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not yet legal for humans but is permissible for animals. Scattering is permitted, but you should get permission from the landowner.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Reporting of contagious or communicable diseases is recommended.
  • A death certificate must be filed within a few days of death.

Complaints/Questions:

Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services, http://dsps.wi.gov/Complaints-and-Inspections/Complaints, (608) 266-2112

Death Certificates:

Wisconsin Department of Vital Statistics: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/vitalrecords/contacts.htm, 608-266-1373.

Wyoming Funeral Information

Funeral providers:

At last count, there are 26 funeral homes, three cemeteries, and 60 funeral directors/morticians/undertakers in the State of Wyoming.

Cremation:

In 2017 the cremation rate was 76.6%, and the cremation waiting period is 24 hours. Ashes may be scattered, but permission must be requested if using public or federal land. Biocremation (alkaline hydrolysis) is not legal for humans but is permitted for animals.

Other Funeral Facts:

  • Embalming is required for certain communicable diseases and for shipment by common carrier.
  • Check local zoning laws for home funerals. Funeral homes must be preserved or disposed of within 36 hours.

Complaints/Questions:

Wyoming Board of Funeral Service Practitioners, http://fspboard.wyo.gov/public/complaint, (307) 777-5403

Death Certificates:

Wyoming Department of Health Vital Statistics, https://health.wyo.gov/admin/vitalstatistics/vital-record/deathrequest/, 866-571-0944

Funeral industry statistics present a snapshot that gives a perspective on the industry’s size and reach. See our page on how the industry has evolved for more information history of the funeral industry.

The industry is, of course, still evolving. Many factors are at work to determine the direction the industry will take going forward. Among the most vibrant industry drivers are:

  • Increased emphasis on personalization.
  • Rapid growth in the preference for cremation over burial.
  • Changing consumer preferences.

While changes have been happening in the industry for some time, the sudden increase in deaths due to the pandemic and virus-related restrictions have accelerated these changes.

As a consumer, you should know that you have never had more choices. That makes preplanning all the more important. Be sure to learn more about your planning options and what you can do now to make sure that you get the funeral you want at a fair and reasonable price.

>>Learn about the Wise Planning System

Sources:

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