The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare recently released a report that indicates that since the 1990’s South Koreans have been preferring cremation at a very high percentage. An article published in the Straits Times that you can read here indicates that over 80% of South Koreans now choose cremation.
The article points out that in 1994 the country’s cremation rate stood at 20.5% and last year stood at 82.7%. According to the article a couple of reasons for the growth is the perceived lack of burial space in South Korea as well as environmental concerns. Finally, the article points out that with an elderly population there will be an increase in deaths as the country now has 7.26 million people age 65 and older but that number will soon increase to 10.5 million.
Funeral Director Daily take: These statistics don’t surprise me. Their society merely reflects the death care practices that have evolved in the United States. I’m a firm believer that cremation dispositions will continue to rise – and it will be done for a variety of reasons — price, simplicity, less decisions, and more.
One thing that I am interested in watching is how these decisions will be made with an eye towards the environmental bent that most younger people seem to have. Will we be seeing more of alkaline hydrolysis or will ecolation (freezing and breaking apart) eventually come to be? I think that those are two services that trend watchers should watch. I also feel that getting in on alkaline hydrolysis (green cremation) early will pay off.