How Much Does Cremation Cost in North America?

Death is the ultimate fact of life. It is something most of us avoid talking about. In many cultures, people are uncomfortable dealing with the realities of dying and most know the pain and grief that accompany the loss of a loved one all too well. In such a scenario, asking how much does cremation cost may seem undignified to many of us. However, times are changing and so are people’s attitudes. With economic downturn impacting the globe, many people are openly seeking answers and conducting research in order to prepare for a funeral in the future. The economic aspect of a funeral is an inevitable concern for all of us.

In the past, funeral homes never openly revealed the cost of memorial services nor did their websites exhibit any price list. The desire to not be perceived as insensitive and commercializing could be one of the driving factors behind their discretion. Nevertheless, the need of transparency led the law to make it mandatory for all the funeral service providers to disclose the prices of all their supplies and services. I In 2002, The Funeral, Burial and Cremation Services Act, was passed in Canada. Funeral homes must now provide detailed and itemized price lists, which gives one the liberty to purchase items separately. For instance, a funeral home cannot deny handling a casket you procured from somewhere else. They cannot charge you anything other than their basic fees for doing so.

People are now choosing cremation over a traditional burial, for two major reasons. Firstly, cremation is much less expensive when compared to a traditional burial. Secondly, growing concern for the environment has led to this shift. Let us compare the cost associated with a burial vs. cremation. Where an all-inclusive traditional burial can cost around $5000 to $15,000, a cremation can be performed for half the cost. The cost of cremation depends upon the state or province you reside in. A basic cremation is a no-frills affair. It does not involve a funeral director to co-ordinate the process, such as, preparing the deceased for viewing or a funeral service.  Therefore, the average cost of cremation is a fraction of the cost of a burial, coming in at $650. However, if you wish to include a viewing, flowers and funeral services, the cost varies between $2,500 and $3,500.

The cost of cremation will vary with certain add-ons. The following items may be an extra cost:

  • Processing of paperwork pertaining to procurement of death certificate
  • Fees of the medical examiner
  • Fees of funeral service
  • Transportation of the deceased from home or the place of death to the premises of the cremation services

In the cremation process, the casket is the key item that absorbs the majority of the cost. It is entirely up to the family of the deceased whether to rent a casket or buy one. A casket would be needed in the case that they choose to have a viewing ceremony. Many cultures consider a viewing ceremony an important ritual because it gives an opportunity for the family and friends to pay their respects and say their goodbyes to the departed. The cost of a casket ranges from $1000 to $30,000, depending upon its type and style. Unlike a burial, a cremation does not require an elaborate casket, and the most basic of wood caskets will suffice. Therefore, it is advisable to rent a casket if a family wishes to have a viewing ceremony prior to cremation, which normally costs just a few hundred dollars.

We hope that this has provided you with sufficient guidance in this time of need. Do not forget to compare the rates offered by different funeral homes. Remember, the key is to ask as many questions to the funeral director that you need in order to make the right, informed decision.


  1. My grandma put in her will that she be cremated. We all really wanted an open casket for her but we will respect her wishes. I have no clue how much it will be because I have never looked into something like it before.


    1. That’s interesting! It happens a lot that families don’t completely agree with each others funeral wishes. Either way, sorry for your loss and we hope you find the information you need.

  2. Interesting topic you have chosen. When people prefer to choose cremation, the first thing come in their front is cost. You have given the cost of North America in your blog. I think it will be helpful for the people. Besides cost could be differ according to places but almost are same.


  3. This is some really good information about cremation. My grandmother isn’t doing too well. My family is thinking about pre-planning her funeral. It is good to know that you can do a viewing and then do a cremation after the viewing.

    1. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, Ivy! We are happy that we can be a resource during a difficult time.

  4. It got me when you said that cremation just costs a fraction of the traditional burial. With that in mind, I will be choosing this for the burial of grandmother since we are on a limited budget right now. We spent a lot on the surgery of my grandmother. However, it did not save her, so we are left with a small amount of money for her burial.

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