New Survey Shows Shift in Funeral Preferences

Dec 8, 2010 | 0 comments

There’s a new survey just out from that shows people prefer either a “celebration of life” or no funeral at all.

The new survey revealed an important funeral planning finding for the industry – almost half of those surveyed would like a “celebration of life” ceremony versus only 11% who prefer a traditional funeral. Also, a startling fact came to light – over 30% do not want a funeral.

The survey was conducted with 1,643 respondents who entered the Create a Great Funeral Sweepstakes, held in association with the 11th annual Create a Great Funeral Day. Seeking to find out if people wanted to experience their own funeral, the survey found that 19% would, if it was possible, to attend their own funeral and 14% would consider throwing themselves a funeral in their lifetime.

“Overall, this survey points out contrasting funeral preferences,” said Rick Paskin, co-founder of “On the one hand, there is a trend toward viewing funerals as celebrations of life, particularly with younger age groups. But on the other hand, nearly one-third of respondents said they do not want a funeral – that’s a significant percentage. Funeral directors need to be keenly aware of these attitudes.”

In summary, the interesting revelations of the survey include:

•    48% would like a celebration of life
•    11% want a traditional funeral
•    31% do not want a funeral (goes up to 37% for those over 75 years old)
•    14% would consider throwing themselves a funeral
•    19% would like to attend their own funeral

How should the funeral industry respond to these findings? “This shows how important it is for people to be educated on the importance of funeral planning before there’s a death in the family,” explained co-founder Larry Anspach. “At the very least, families need to discuss their funeral preferences. It’s okay to not want a funeral, but have you considered the impact on family and friends? They may want a ceremony to remember you and say good-bye.” provides free, online funeral planning via its website. Aiming to provide “Everything You Need to Know About Funerals,” also features extensive information on funeral-related subjects including funeral customs, funeral etiquette, and grief support. Visitors to the site can subscribe to its “Word to the Wise” series of free guides at Funeralwise can also be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at @funeralwise.

A Good Goodbye