List of countries by cremation rate

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Funeral pyre in Ubud, Bali. Cremation is the preferred method of disposal of the dead in Buddhism.[1]

This article is a list of countries by cremation rate. Cremation rates vary widely across the world.[2] As of 2019, international statistics report that countries with large Buddhist and Hindu populations like Bhutan, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Japan, Myanmar, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand and India have a cremation rate ranging from 80% to 99%,[2] while Roman Catholic majority-countries like Italy, France, Ireland, Latvia, Poland, Spain, and Portugal report much lower rates.[2] Factors include both culture and religion; for example, the cremation rate in Muslim-, Eastern Orthodox–, Oriental Orthodox–, and Roman Catholic–majority countries is much lower due to religious sanctions on the practice of cremation, whereas for Hindu-, Jain-, and Buddhist-majority countries the cremation rate is much higher.[2] However, economic factors such as cemetery fees, prices on coffins and funerals greatly impel towards the choice of cremation.



Cremation is still considered taboo in Zimbabwe, but the practice is not forbidden. The Bulawayo City Council, the second largest city in the country, planned mandatory cremation for those that died before the age of 25. However, this plan was cancelled after many protests from Pentecostal Christian groups.

South Africa[edit]

The rate of cremation is about 12% in Cape Town, which has a significant White population, but it is lower in other parts of the country.[3]


There is a crematorium in Accra, the capital of Ghana, but the cremation rate is low. Pentecostal Christians, which constitute the largest religious group in the country, are officially against cremation.


Nairobi has the only crematorium in Kenya. Since Kenya is a Christian-majority country, the opposition against cremation largerly derives from Christian beliefs about the practice.


Cremation is legal in the Lagos State of Nigeria.



The People's Republic of China reported 4,534,000 cremations out of 9,348,453 deaths (a 48.50% rate) in 2008.[4] The cremation rate was 45.6% for 2014, according to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs.[5]


Burning ghats in Varanasi, India; the ashes of the dead are released along the banks of the River Ganges.[6]

Almost all people in India adhering to Hinduism (79.8%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%) and Jainism (0.4%) - as well as half of India's 2.3% Christians - choose cremation as the method for disposing of the dead. However, with 14.2% of the population being Muslims (for whom cremation is not allowed) and with the many Christians and indigenous tribes who also prefer burial, the cremation rate in India is about 80% (Estimated in 2014).[6]


Japan has one of the highest cremation rates in the world, with the country reporting a cremation rate of 99.97% in 2019.[2][7]


Almost everyone adhering to Hinduism and Buddhism cremates their dead, which makes Nepal one of the countries with the highest rate of cremation. The rate of cremation is around 95%.[citation needed]


Given its tiny land area, Singapore has one of the highest cremation rates in the world, reporting a cremation rate of 80.54% in 2018.[8]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea had the cremation rate of 92.1% in 2022. It is increasing as people born later are more likely to be cremated. About 94 percent of those under the age of 60 were cremated, with 99 percent of those in their 20s being cremated in 2014.[9]


According to information from Ministry of Interior, the cremation rate was 92.47% in 2013, 144,162 of the 155,908 deaths that year. [10]


United Kingdom[edit]

The cremation rate in the United Kingdom has been increasing steadily since the early 20th century, after having begun to accelerate in the 1930s. The national average rate was 0.07% in 1900, 0.15% in 1910, 0.24% in 1920, 0.87% in 1930, 3.85% in 1940, 15.59% in 1950, 34.70% in 1960, 55.41% in 1970, 65.26% in 1980, 69.58% in 1990, 71.51% in 2000, 73.13% in 2010, 78.46% in 2020, and 79.83% in 2022.[11]

Cremations are most common in England and Wales, while still uncommon in Northern Ireland. The 2022 cremation rate was 82.40% for England and Wales, 71.66% for Scotland and only 23.00% for Northern Ireland.[11]

Nordic countries[edit]

Cremation rates in the Nordic countries vary, but have increased significantly since the 1940s. In 2022, the cremation rate in Denmark was 86.8%,[12] in Sweden 82.9%,[12] in Finland 62.4%,[12] in Norway 47.9%,[12] and in Iceland 41.6%.[12]


The first cremation in the Netherlands was performed in 1914. In the hundred years since the cremation rate has risen to 63% in 2014.[13]


The cremation rate in Flanders has increased from a little over 50% in 2010 to 74% in 2020.[14]


Cremation remains a minority practice in rural France where burial places are available, but is increasingly common in urban areas. In 1979 just 1% of funerals involved cremation: in 2012 it was 32%, rising to 45% in Paris.[15]


Cremation has been on the increase in Ireland in the last decade. This is largely due to both the expense of burial plots and their (lack of) availability. In 2017, almost 20% of deaths in Ireland involved cremation.[16] There are five crematoria in Ireland, three of which are located in Dublin (Glasnevin (the first facility of its type in Ireland, established in 1982), Newland's Cross, Harold's Cross), one in Cavan[17] and one in Cork. However, access to these cremation facilities is not restricted to people living in Dublin or Cork. Anyone may arrange for a cremation to take place in any of these crematoria.[18] Another crematorium opened in Shannon in 2017.


Cremations are booming in Spain: in 2006, just 16% of deaths involved cremation, but by 2016 that figure had risen to 36%.[19] Around half of all deceased are cremated in Barcelona.[20] In 2019, the total number of deaths was 417,000, of which 44% were cremated.


The first crematorium in Portugal opened in 1925, but was closed in 1936. In 1985, it was reopened. Currently (2018 data), 20% of the deceased in Portugal are cremated. In 2005 that figure only reached 4.2%. In the country's capital, Lisbon, the number of incinerations reaches 54%.


Cremation recently became more popular than burial in Hungary: in 1996, the cremation rate was 27%,[21] and in 2016, it was around 60%, with 70–90% in Budapest.[22]


The first crematorium in Russia was built in Vladivostok in 1917, primarily for the cremations of Japanese people, who had a big population in this city. Later, the Donskoy crematorium was built in Moscow in 1927 and remained the only crematorium in the USSR until 1972, when the Nikolo-Archangelskiy crematorium in Moscow was commissioned. In 2021, there are 27 crematoriums in Russia.

The highest rate of cremations is in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg at about 50–70% of all deaths. In other large cities it is 20–25%, while the total cremation rate in Russia is about 10%.[23] The reason for such a low prevalence of cremation is influenced by religious beliefs: the Russian Orthodox Church has a negative attitude towards cremation and both Islam and Orthodox Judaism prohibits it.[citation needed]

North America[edit]


The cremation rate in Canada has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 5.9% in 1970 to 68.4% in 2009.[24][25] The rates vary greatly among the provinces with the most recent (1999) province level statistics showing that British Columbia had the highest rate at 74% while Prince Edward Island had the lowest rate at 8.5%.[26]

The projected Canadian rates for 2010:

Rank Jurisdiction Rate (%)[27]
- Canada 65%+
1 British Columbia 77%
2 Alberta 65%
2 Ontario 65%
2 Nova Scotia 65%
2 Yukon 65%
6 Manitoba 63.1%
7 Saskatchewan 56.6%
8 Prince Edward Island 43.2%
9 Quebec 42.5%
10 New Brunswick 33.3%
Newfoundland N/A
Northwest Territories N/A
Nunavut N/A

United States[edit]

The cremation rate in the United States has been increasing steadily, with the national average rate rising from 3.56% in 1960 to 53.1% in 2018. Projections from the Cremation Association of North America forecast a rate of 59.4% in 2023.[28][29] The rates vary considerably among the states with the highest rates (over 70%) being reported in the Western United States with the lowest rates (under 30%) being reported in the Southern United States.[30]

A survey by the Funeral and Memorial Information Council found that Americans increasingly choose cremation for the cost savings. In 1990, 19 percent reported this motivation; in 2010, one-third reported this motivation.[31]

The following table lists the 2014 cremation rate for each state and the District of Columbia including the national average.

2006 US cremation rates
Rank Jurisdiction Rate (%)[30]
- United States 47%
1 Nevada 75.9%
2 Washington 75.2%
3 Oregon 73.9%
4 Hawaii 72.6%
5 Maine 71.2%
6 Colorado 68.7%
7 Montana 68.6%
8 New Hampshire 68.0%
9 Wyoming 66.4%
10 Alaska 65.8%
11 Vermont 65.8%
12 Arizona 65.5%
13 Florida 62.7%
14 California 61.6%
15 Idaho 59.0%
16 New Mexico 57.8%
17 Minnesota 57.0%
18 Michigan 54.4%
19 Wisconsin 52.4%
20 Connecticut 51.3%
21 Delaware 45.2%
22 Kansas 45.2%
23 Massachusetts 43.1%
24 Pennsylvania 42.9%
25 Illinois 42.6%
26 Ohio 42.5%
27 Rhode Island 42.3%
28 Virginia 41.7%
29 Nebraska 41.3%
30 New Jersey 41.2%
31 District of Columbia 41.0%
32 New York 40.1%
33 Maryland 39.6%
34 Texas 39.5%
35 North Dakota 39.0%
36 Iowa 38.9%
37 Oklahoma 38.5%
38 South Carolina 38.1%
39 Missouri 37.9%
40 North Carolina 37.8%
41 Indiana 36.9%
42 Georgia 36.7%
43 South Dakota 35.9%
44 Arkansas 34.0%
45 West Virginia 30.4%
46 Tennessee 30.3%
47 Utah 29.7%
48 Louisiana 27.6%
49 Kentucky 24.6%
50 Alabama 22.9%
51 Mississippi 19.7%

The National Funeral Directors Association had a slightly different national cremation rate in the United States, reporting a 2016 rate of 50.2 percent, with this expecting to increase to 63.8 percent by 2025 and 78.8 percent in 2035.[32]

South America[edit]

Cremation rates vary from 2.16% in Colombia to 25.41% in Argentina.[33][34]



The Cremation Society (UK) states that the cremation rate in Australia in 2018 was slightly over 69% of all deaths."The Cremation Society, International Statistics". Retrieved 16 February 2020. [35]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand's rate is slightly higher than Australia's, with a cremation rate in 2018 of 75% of all deaths."The Cremation Society, International Statistics". Retrieved 16 February 2020.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Walters, Jonathan S. (2010) [2007]. "Buddhist funerals". In Keown, Damien; Prebish, Charles S. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Buddhism (1st ed.). London and New York: Routledge. pp. 372–373. ISBN 9780415556248.
  2. ^ a b c d e "International Cremation Statistics 2019". Maidstone: Cremation Society of Great Britain. 2020. Archived from the original on 10 July 2022. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  3. ^ [1] [dead link]
  4. ^ "International Cremation Statistics 2008". The Cremation Society of Great Britain. 2010-02-15. Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  5. ^ "Of the 9.77 million Chinese who died in 2014, 4.46 million, or 45.6 percent, were cremated, the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA)".
  6. ^ a b McBride, Pete (7 August 2014). "The Pyres of Varanasi: Breaking the Cycle of Death and Rebirth". National Geographic. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society. ISSN 0027-9358. OCLC 643483454. Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 1 October 2022.
  7. ^ "International Cremation Statistics 2014" (PDF). The Cremation Society of Great Britain. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-06-11. Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  8. ^ "Singapore Cremation Statistics 2018". The Cremation Society of Great Britain. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  9. ^ Lee, Hyun-jeong (2015-11-09). "More Koreans cremated". Korea Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  10. ^ "全國殯葬資訊入口網". 內政部民政司. February 20, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Progress of Cremation in The British Islands 1885-2022". The Cremation Society of Great Britain. 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Kremationsstatistik 2022" (PDF) (in Swedish). Sveriges kyrkogårds- och krematorieförbund (SKKF). 2023-04-11. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  13. ^ "Nederland Crematieland". NRC (in Dutch). 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2016-08-01.
  14. ^ "Crematie is de norm geworden in Vlaanderen". De Standaard (in Dutch). 2021-05-02. Retrieved 2021-05-05.
  15. ^ "Le succès de la crémation en France". Le Point (in French). 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
  16. ^ "Eire 2017".
  17. ^ Lakelands Funeral Home Retrieved 22 August 2016. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Muldowney, Jennifer (June 2013). Say Farewell Your Way (1st ed.). Cork: OakTree Press. p. 79. Retrieved 22 August 2016.
  19. ^ Gutiérrez, Hugo (November 2, 2016). "Spain turns back on burials as cremations gain ground". EL PAÍS.
  20. ^ "Spain".
  21. ^ "International Statistics 1996".
  22. ^ Fruzsina, Előd. "Haldoklik a hagyományos temetkezés" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 2017-08-11.
  23. ^ "Как происходит кремация человека".
  24. ^ Cremation Association of North America (2003-10-06). "Historical Cremation Data - United States vs. Canada" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  25. ^ "Trends and Statistics". National Funeral Directors Association. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-19.
  26. ^ Cremation Association of North America (2003-08-25). "Canadian Cremation Figures" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-09-07.
  27. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  28. ^ "Trends and Statistics". National Funeral Directors Association. 2011. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  29. ^ "Industry Statistical Information". Cremation Association of North America. 2019. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  30. ^ a b Colleen Kane (30 October 2015). "Here's why more Americans are getting cremated". Fortune. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  31. ^ MacDonald, G. Jeffrey (12 February 2012). "The Cremation Problem". Boston Globe Magazine. p. 8.
  32. ^ Barron, James (2017-08-10). "In a Move Away From Tradition, Cremations Increase". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-08-14.
  33. ^ "colombia".
  34. ^ "Argentina".
  35. ^ "What's the greenest way to deal with your body after you die?". ABC News. 2019-04-26. Retrieved 2021-11-15.

External links[edit]

  • Welcome - International Cremation Federation Official webpage