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5 Factors That Affect the Amount of Cremains After Cremation

What amount of cremains can you expect to receive? Here are five factors that could make a real difference in the amount of cremains after cremation.
Woman scattering cremated remains at a lake
Woman scattering cremated remains at a lake.

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People have a lot of questions about cremation, many of which involve the cremains that are produced by the process. A lot of people are surprised to learn that cremains are entirely composed of bones. Everything else is burned off or dissolved during the cremation process, including clothes and the wooden casket. 

Knowing the amount of cremains that you’ll likely receive is important for a few reasons:

  • If you are getting an urn you need to make sure it can hold all of the cremains.
  • If you plan to include the cremains in a shared urn you’ll need to make sure there’s enough space collectively.
  • If multiple family members plan to receive part of the cremains you’ll know how much each person is likely to get.

Families that want to get a better idea of the amount of cremains they’ll receive should consider the following five factors to make the most accurate estimate. 

The Weight of the Person

In the funeral industry there is a standard formula for estimating the amount of cremains that will be produced by cremation. The standard formula is:

1 pound of body weight = 1 cubic inch of cremains

Example: 200 pound person = 200 cubic inches of cremains

The cubic inch measurement is key because urns note the amount of storage space in cubic inches. The other rule of thumb is that the cremains will weigh somewhere between three and 10 pounds. Another way to look at it is the cremains of an adult will likely weigh 3.5% of the person’s body weight.

These are simple methods for estimating cremains, but as you will see based on the other factors, these calculations aren’t exact. There are some variables that can adjust the amount up or down. 

The Type of Cremation That’s Performed

Today, families in many states have the choice between traditional flame-based cremation and water cremation, also known as aquamation or alkaline hydrolysis. There are a few advantages to choosing water cremation. One of those advantages is receiving 20-30% more cremains compared to flame-based cremation. 

The reason there’s more cremains is water cremation preserves more of the bone. The process is gentler compared to incineration, which can cause some bone degradation and reduce the volume of bone that remains. 

The Height of the Person

Since cremains are ground up bone, the height is actually one of the best indicators for whether there will be more or less cremains than average. The taller a person is over the average height, the more cremains there will likely be. 

The Age of the Person

As we age, our bones become thinner and less dense. Because of that, younger individuals tend to produce more cremains after cremation. Of course, height is an even bigger factor usually so that could offset the age factor in some cases. 

The Gender of the Person

Bone density is also different based on gender. Men tend to have denser bones, which means more cremains will be produced. This difference is clear in the weight of cremains. On average, a woman’s cremains weigh between 4-6 pounds. However, the cremains of most men weigh between 6-8 pounds. 

If you have any questions about eco-friendly flame-based cremation or water cremation, the Green Cremation Texas team can provide quick, accurate answers. You can give us a call, text or email any time of day, any day of the week.

Picture of Marlaena Gonzales

Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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