THE ECONOMICS OF DEATH? A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF THE IMPACT OF FUNERAL AND CREMATION COSTS ON U.S. HOUSEHOLDS
Author: Banks, Dwayne A.
Source: Death Studies, Volume 22, Number 3, 1 March 1998 , pp. 269-285(17)
Abstract:The death-care industry in the United States has been virtually ignored by policy makers. Although the industry is highly fragmented, pricing is becoming increasingly influenced by multinational corporations. This fact coupled with the market structure for services, consumers' preferences, and the attributes of deathcare services, has resulted in average funeral cost of over $5,000 per deceased. This figure is over 25 percent higher than the average annual family welfare payment in the United States. As estimated in this paper, the distributional effects of a death occurring within a household varies significantly by income as well as race and ethnicity. The author concludes that Americans should engage more openly in the discussion of death, increase their rate of prearrangements, and seek alternatives to the traditional funeral.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998