The Economics of the Funeral Industry

The U.S. funeral market is estimated to be a
$20.7 billion
per year industry.

2.4 million
Average number of funerals in the U.S. per year

57 million
Approximate number of Americans 60 and older

76 million
Expected number of Americans 60 and older by 2020

A typical funeral in the U.S. costs

Average Cost Breakdown:


Funeral Director's Basic Services Fee

Embalming and Body Preperation

Funeral Ceremony and Viewing

(hearse, death certificates, obituary, etc.)

Grave Space and Cost to Dig Grave


A casket that sells for $1295 at a funeral home will typically wholesale for about $325.

The average rental rate for a hardwood casket for a day long viewing is $1000.

Sealed caskets cost hundreds of dollars more than unsealed caskets, but only cost a minimal amount more to manufacture.

Costco has started offering some low cost options ($924-$2999), and some places offer online coffins kits for approximately $600.


of Americans
choose cremation

Nevada has the highest cremation rate in the U.S. at

Mississippi has the lowest cremation rate in the U.S. at

Cremation rates are rising one-third faster than at the middle of the last decade, and the Cremation Association of North America projects it will pass 50 percent by 2017.

One-third of those who chose cremation in 2010 said cost was a primary factor, up from 19% in 1990.

  • The average salary for funeral home directors ranges from $32,000 to $56,000 per year.
  • For corporate employees with franchise operations, top average salaries lie just under $56,000.
  • For self-employed funeral home directors, top salaries average around $52,000.

Up until 1970's nearly 100% of U.S. funeral homes were independently owned. Now, roughly 14% of U.S. funeral homes are owned by publicly traded corporations that stand to profit from the growing aged population in America.

Service Corporation International is the largest deathcare corporation in the country, and owns the following companies:

In 2012, SCI grossed $2.4 billion in revenue, and currently sits on $7.4 billion in future revenue from their preneed funeral and cemetary sales.

Their funeral properties operate in 43 states, 8 Canadian provinces, and select parts of Germany.

Service Corporation International boasts 21,000 employees, 1,437 funeral homes and 374 cemeteries. However, 41% of its business comes from cremations.