List of countries by cremation rate

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This article is a list of countries by cremation rate. Cremation rates vary widely across the world with some countries like Japan, Nepal and Thailand having a rate over 95% while other countries like Italy, Ireland and Poland having less than 10%.

Factors include culture and religion; for example, the cremation rate in Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic majority countries is much lower due to religious sanctions on cremation, whereas for Hindu or Buddhist majority countries the cremation rate is much higher.

United Kingdom

The cremation rate in the United Kingdom has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 34.70% in 1960 to 75.44% in 2015.

Nordic countries

Cremation rates in the Nordic countries vary from Norway’s 36% to Finland’s 51%, Sweden’s 70% and Denmark’s 76%.

Cremation is most common in the older larger cities, which are running out of cemetery plots, and rarest in the countryside and small towns where burial places are readily available.

In all countries the cremation rate in large towns is generally between 70% and 90%.


The first cremation in the Netherlands was performed in 1914. In the hundred years since the cremation rate has risen to 63% in 2014.


Cremation remains a minority practice in rural France where burial places are available, but is increasingly common in urban areas.

In 1979 just 1% of funerals involved cremation: in 2012 it was 32%, rising to 45% in Paris


Cremation has been on the increase in Ireland in the last decade. This is largely due to both the expense of burial plots and their (lack of) availability.

Today, over 6% of deaths in Ireland now involve cremations and approximately 10% of funerals in Dublin, or about 2,000 services a year are cremations.

There are five crematoria in Ireland, three of which are located in Dublin (Glasnevin (the first facility of its type in Ireland, established in 1982), Newland’s Cross, Harold’s Cross), one in Cavan and one in Cork.

However, access to these cremation facilities is not restricted to people living in Dublin or Cork.

Anyone may arrange for a cremation to take place in any of these crematoria.

Another crematorium is due to open in Shannon in 2017.

North America



The cremation rate in Canada has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 5.89% in 1970 to 68.4% in 2009.

The rates vary greatly among the provinces with the most recent (1999) province level statistics showing that British Columbia had the highest rate at 74% while Prince Edward Island had the lowest rate at 8.5%.

United States

The cremation rate in the United States has been increasing steadily with the national average rate rising from 3.56% in 1960 to 48.6% in 2015 and projections from the Cremation Association of North America forecasting a rate of 54.3% in 2020.

The rates vary considerably among the states with the highest rates (over 70%) being reported in the Western United States with the lowest rates (under 30%) being reported in the Southern United States.