The funeral business is just one part of the overall death care industry. As an industry, death care includes funeral homes, coffins, burial lots, and memorial-related products. Many funeral homes handle traditional burials and cremations. The latter consists of selling urns and potential internment space, among other more conventional funeral services.

This article discusses funeral business statistics and death care industry trends in the United States. It also examines the future of the funeral industry. Let’s start with the latest overall funeral business statistics.

Funeral Business Industry in the US ‒ Market Research & Statistics 2021

According to IBISWorld, the total market value of U.S. funeral homes in 2021 is $16 billion. This market value represents a growth rate of 0.4% in 2021. However, the overall market growth of U.S. funeral homes has declined by 0.8% since 2016. The changing business environment of the funeral industry because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand. 

This increased demand has, unfortunately, come from an increase in the number of deceased. At the same time, public health restrictions and social distancing protocols have decreased the size of funerals. Fewer people are attending in person and more funerals or memorial services are being live-streamed on platforms such as Facebook. 

Despite challenges related to the pandemic and declining growth, the funeral business industry ranks 13th in the United States within the “Other Services” category. The business is ranked 425th overall in the U.S. 

Funeral Business Trends 2021 in the US

Funeral industry statistics 2021 and funeral trends 2021 reveal that the number of funeral homes is on the decline. In 2004, there were 21,528 homes and by 2018 that number had decreased to 19,322. In 2021, the number of homes listed in the National Directory of Morticians Redbook has declined even further to 18,765.   

Besides the effects of the pandemic, macroeconomic pressures have led families to spend less on funerals. Since cremation costs less than a traditional burial, many loved ones have turned to this option as a way to save on funeral costs. Less spending on funeral expenses has led to a downturn in profits for the death care services market. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth in the funeral services industry is expected to be 4%. Similar to general funeral business statistics, this reveals a slower-than-average growth rate or decline when compared with related industries or overall U.S. benchmarks. By comparison, all job openings in the United States are projected to grow at 8% through 2030. Still, about 4,000 openings are expected each year, according to funeral services market research.

Death Care Services ‒ Statistics & Facts

According to Statista, the cemetery services market was valued at $4.45 billion in the United States as of May 2021. Funeral business facts show that workers tend to fall into the following categories: funeral home managers, funeral services workers, and morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers. The average pay for all death care services employees is $58,170 per year, or the equivalent of $27.97 per hour. 

Funeral home managers, on average, make $74,200 per year. Morticians, undertakers, and funeral arrangers make the least at $54,100 per year. However, these average salaries are above typical pay for all industries. The typical U.S. worker, regardless of sector, takes home $41,950 a year.

Funeral Homes Industry Analysis

A funeral homes industry analysis shows that the acceleration in deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to recent growth. However, that growth is relatively modest and impacted by overall declines in spending on funeral expenses. The number of funeral homes is decreasing, likely because of a loss of profits.

When looking at how big the funeral industry is, there is a downward trend in market value. It is more difficult for a large number of businesses to survive in a declining industry. A majority of funeral homes in the United States are privately owned. 

The ins and outs of your business financials include a need to generate enough profits to remain in business, which could also explain the less-than-average growth in employment. Labor costs tend to eat up a sizable portion of any organization’s overhead.  

Industry Market Size for Funeral Business in the US

There are some conflicting funeral business statistics regarding market value and size. Funeral services market reports show an annual value between $16 billion and $20 billion. Approximately 2.4 million funerals happen each year. 

What is consistent is the reported increase in cremation rates, with 42% of American families choosing this option as of 2014. This is projected to grow to 60%, as some states, such as Hawaii and Nevada, already have cremation rates of more than 60%. Some of the states with the lowest cremation rates include Kentucky and Alabama.  

Biggest Companies in the Funeral Homes Industry in the US

A whopping 80% of funeral homes are privately owned, with 20% being publicly owned. The three publicly-listed companies in the United States are Carriage Services Inc., Service Corporation International, and Stonemor Partners L.P. Service Corporation International owns an estimated 15%-16% of the funeral services market.

This percentage range is according to annual revenues, whereas the company’s market share is 10.8% when measured by the number of funeral homes. The other two companies, Carriage Services and Stonemor Partners, each have between 1% and 2% of the market’s share. Of note, Stonemor Partners concentrates on cremation services while Carriage Services focuses on traditional burial.

Future of Funeral Industry      

The funeral homes industry in the U.S. won’t be going away as long as there is a continued demand for funeral services. And demand for funeral services tends to coincide with the amount of the country’s aging population and general economic health.

As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age and the long-term effects of the global pandemic are felt, there will be a need for funeral services.

However, the shift toward cremation versus traditional burial will likely continue. Learning how to choose a business entity means considering trends and industry projections. 

About the Author, Madison Taylor

Madison Taylor is the Brand Ambassador at ROK Financial. She is responsible for raising brand awareness and business relationships with business owners across the country. Madison loves that she plays a small role in getting Business Back To Business Through Simple Business Financing and looks forward to hearing what you think about the blogs she creates! Madison has been working in the financial space for six years, and loves it! When she is not at work, you will find her at home learning a new recipe to test out on her family or going on new adventures with her friends.