18 September 2017

Cremations have been creeping ahead of traditional burials to become the most popular form of burials in Australia, with 67 to 68 per cent of burials in Australia’s major cities being cremations.

Research has suggested that this trend stems from religion, space, and economic rationalisation, with many cemeteries running out of space and mausoleums that can fit a lot of ashes into a relatively small area becoming a more viable alternative.

Death Rates in Australia

In Australia, each year there are roughly 300,000 annual births compared to less than 150,000 deaths. Of these deaths, there are more men than women, with 2012 seeing 107 men die for every 100 women.

Winter is often regarded as the ‘death season’, as June sees 11 per cent more deaths than the monthly average, July 26 per cent more and August 24 per cent more. This is particularly the case in Victoria, where the state sees 66 per cent more deaths in winter than it does in summer.

Moving a little closer to home, in Western Australia, Perth has the lowest death rate in the state, while Derby-West Kimberley has the highest.

Australia’s Changing Burial Habits

There are a number of cemeteries across the country that can no longer accommodate any more bodies, where the only way to fit more people in is to start burying people on top of each other.

In the past, cremation has often been chosen because it’s the cheaper option, with cremations usually costing around $1,000 less than a traditional burial in a cemetery.

READ MORE: The Tradition Behind Mausoleums and Burial Vaults

However, it seems that a cultural shift in Australia is one of the biggest reasons cremation rates have risen. We’ve always been a country where traditional Christian burials have dominated the funeral sphere, but the existence of different faiths as we become more culturally diverse is beginning to show.

For instance, people within the Chinese, Indian and Thai communities often prefer cremations as they line up with their Buddhist beliefs, while followers of Jewish, Muslim and Orthodox creeds rarely deviated from their traditional burial customs.

Cremations also seem to be popular within non-religious communities, as well as baby-boomers burying their parents who want a no-fuss sort of funeral. In these instances, it’s quite common for the cremation to be unattended by family members, followed by a memorial service once the ashes are in the families possession. Alternatively, a traditional funeral service with a casket is often held with either a priest or more commonly, a celebrant, followed by a cremation that’s attended by family.

In Western Australia, if you want to add a personal touch to your loved one’s final place of burial, talk to G.C Smith & Co about our services today!