Washington Leads Nation in Growing Cremation Popularity - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Leads Nation in Growing Cremation Popularity

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- New data shows that more people are choosing cremation over the traditional burial for their loved ones and themselves.

In fact, Washington ranks second in the nation when it comes to the growing popularity of cremation.

In a time of loss there are many things to consider when remembering a loved one and can often involve some expensive decisions.

That's one reason why cremation is increasingly becoming the option of choice.

When a loved one dies, the grief comes first and then the planning.

More people are deciding cremation is the way they'll lay their loved one to rest.

At Sunset Memorial Cemetery, 70% of their clients choose cremation and every year that number goes up.

"Every family is a little bit different and it's changing rapidly. So it's hard to get in front of it sometimes, but I think we've done some of that with our cremation niches, our selection, because there's a lot of options," said Pat Hollick, Manager of Sunset Memorial Cemetery.

The cemetery is building new scenic plot for cremated burials.

Cremating someone is cheaper, costing about half as much as a burial in a casket at the baseline prices.

It also buys time.

Burial requires a shorter window before the body is laid to rest, but the service for a cremation allows more time for planning.

"They want to create their own traditions and they want to have a life celebration. I think they perceive cremation that once that process is done then they can have a service that is more uplifting," Hollick said.

Ruth Benson chose cremation for her husband who recently passed.

"A lot of it is because of the cost. Buying a suitable box for the burial is quite expensive," Benson said.

She plans to join him one day. She says once the body is gone, it's the spirit that remains. Just as long as she's with her husband, that's what matters.

"It's the best way to go. Ashes to ashes as they say," Benson said.

A recent study shows that 68% of Washingtonians choose cremation, ranking second in the nation.

And Oregon has the fourth highest number of cremations.