Which Country Has The Highest Rate Of Cremation?
Globally, cremation rates vary wildly from country to country (and even within regions of a given country) based on local social customs and religious beliefs. Within the United States, for example, the national rate of cremation is roughly 33 percent but varies regionally from as high as 68 percent (Nevada) to as low as 10 percent (Mississippi).
The cremation rate in Japan, however, surpasses any regional or national rate around the world by a wide margin. As of 2009, 99.9 percent of all funeral rites in Japan were carried out by cremation.
It wasn’t always this way, however. Historically in Japan cremation was a funerary practice reserved for the wealthy; most commoners were simply buried. Increasing population density in the wake of World War II as well as an increased interest in cleanliness and efficient use of space combined with more affordable cremation services yielded a rapidly rising cremation rate. Some regions of Japan have even banned burial as a practice and all deceased within the region are cremated.
Grave plots are still common in Japan, but instead of a casket-size plot per person, smaller family crypts (which hold the ashes of multiple family members) are the most common arrangement.
Image courtesy of Chris 73.