YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – According to a 2021 report from the National Funeral Directors Association, 60.9% of NFDA-member firms are experiencing increased cremation rates due to the pandemic.

Locally, this is due to a couple of factors. Funeral Director Chris Engartner, with Fox Funeral Home in Youngstown, said Covid has increased the popularity of cremations over traditional casket burials.

Not only are some people opting out of services, but cremations allow people who live out of town a chance to pay their respects in person.

Cost can also be a big determination. The average cremation is cheaper than the traditional earth burial.

“If that trend will level off, who’s to say? A lot of it will depend upon how long this pandemic goes on for,” Engartner said.

According to the report, the U.S. cremation rate is projected to reach 78.4% by 2040.

The report also finds that the state of Ohio has the fifth most crematories of any state with a total of 153.