The U.S. death care market size was valued at USD 22.19 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 28.29 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 4.13% during the forecast period. The U.S. death care market is witnessing significant growth due to the increasing number of funeral homes and cemeteries, rising demand for online funerals, increasing demand for designed caskets & urns, and rising demand for green burial.
Death care refers to companies and businesses offering post-death services, such as cremations, memorials, and funerals, to their clients. In the US, funeral homes, cemeteries, and crematories are death care service providers. Around 15,000 death care service providers in the US prepare the dead for burial or interment, conduct funerals, and operate sites or facilities reserved for the interment of human or animal remains.
The U.S. death care market has been rising since the COVID-19 pandemic due to growing infectious diseases. In the South and West region, there are many states where natural disaster causes a greater number of deaths, which causes the rise in demand for death care services.
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U.S Death Care Market Trends & Drivers
- Increasing Employment Opportunities for Funeral Service Workers
The employment of funeral morticians and directors has been growing significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic in the US. As the aging population rises, the country's demand for funeral service workers will grow. Many companies have openings for crematory operators, funeral directors, embalmers, etc. As consumer preference for buying funeral services rises, workers will have more employment opportunities.
- Efforts to Legalize Composting Deceased Human Bodies
The composting of human bodies is also called terramation. For the terramation process, the required energy is far less than that of the cremation process. The stimulation of microbes in human bodies takes sixty days to transform into fertile, usable soil. Terramation is fast gaining traction in the U.S. death care market. Many states are trying to legalize composting human bodies. For instance, New York has become the 6th state to gain permission to compost human bodies.
- Rising Demand for Green Alternatives
The number of green alternatives for cremation and burial is increasing in the US. At present, there is a preference for environment-friendly ways of burial and cremation. A biodegradable burial suit made of microorganisms and mushrooms is one of the green burial methods. The demand for biodegradable urns and caskets has risen over the last few years. Alkaline hydrolysis, water cremation, and human composting are different types of green cremations.
- Dominance of Family-Owned Funeral Homes
Most businesses in the US death care industry are small businesses or family-owned businesses. Over 85% of funeral homes are privately owned. Most cemeteries are owned privately, and many are owned by religious institutions, non-profit organizations, municipalities, or families. Hence, there is intense competition in the market. Due to the intense competition, companies offer their services at discounted prices. Consumers also get price benefits and good facilities. Thus, consumers prefer funeral homes post-death of family members, which drives the death care market in the US.
High Cost of Death Care Services Have been One of The Major Restraint
The cost of death care services is very high in the US. This includes the cost of headstones, gaskets, or urns, the wages of cemetery laborers, the funeral director’s salary, and other costs of funeral home services. The median cost of a funeral is around USD 8,000, while the cost of cremation is around $7,000. The average cost of funeral homes has been higher than the average cost over the last few years. This has increased during the pandemic and may hinder the growth of the death care market in the US.
INSIGHTS BY OPERATIONS
Funeral homes hold a major share of the U.S. death care market. Analysts at Arizton expect a growth rate of over 4% by 2028. The market is witnessing significant growth due to the rising demand for professional funeral services, the rising geriatric population, and the increasing number of deaths. Funeral homes in the US offer professional services for the deceased and their families. These companies offer end-to-end funeral services per customer needs. Funeral homes often offer high-value services in line with family reputation and tradition. Further, the rising trend of eco-friendly and green burials, including biodegradable caskets, virtual grave visitation, and online memorials, is rising in U.S. cemeteries. The cemeteries segment is expected to grow at the fastest CAGR during the forecast period.
INSIGHTS BY ARRANGEMENTS
The Preneed arrangement segment of the U.S. death care market is growing significantly during the forecast period as it reduces the stress of funeral arrangements and financial burden. Most funeral homes and cemeteries offer Preneed services. Companies that offer such services also offer attractive discounts, which is a major factor in driving the death care market in the US. The rising geriatric population is one of the major factors driving the growth of the preneed arrangements market. Also, the rising number of deaths due to injuries caused by accidents, suicides, and others drives the Atneed arrangement segment.
INSIGHTS BY OWNERSHIP
Family-owned/ individual businesses in the death care industry of the U.S. increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. Post-pandemic, the demand is rising due to the rise in infectious diseases—the family-owned business segment will reach more than USD 20 billion by 2028. Further, as large companies continuously acquire family-owned/individual businesses, with rising consumer preference for professionalism and availability of a wide range of services, corporate/ large companies’ ownership segment is rising significantly in the US.
INSIGHT BY REGION
The South region of the U.S. contributes almost more than 40% of the market revenue. The Southern region of the United States boasts the highest concentration of funeral homes nationwide. Within this region, several states, including Texas, Washington D.C., North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia, are home to over 500 funeral homes each. This phenomenon significantly contributes to the overall growth and vitality of the death care market in the United States.
One notable aspect of the Southern region is its comparatively higher death rates, partly attributable to a lower life expectancy than other regions. This elevated mortality rate fuels the demand for funeral homes and cemeteries in this area. Furthermore, the Southern region faces unique challenges, such as the prevalence of tropical diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. These diseases have a substantial impact on the death rate in this region. Additionally, extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, contribute to increased physical injuries and fatalities. Furthermore, increased exposure to dust due to expanding agricultural activities has led to a surge in cardiovascular and respiratory health problems, ultimately resulting in a higher number of deaths.
SCI, Carriage Services, StoneMor Partners L.P., NorthStar Memorial Group, Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks & Mortuaries, and Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home are the leading players and have strong market penetration. Further, over the last few years, many large companies have followed the market's acquisition strategy. For instance, SCI and Carriage Services have acquired many funeral homes and cemeteries over the last few years. Many companies offer personalized services and products, such as caskets and urns, trending in the U.S. death care market.