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What the Speak Up Austin Surveys Tell Us About Austinites’ Feelings on Cremation

Speak Up Austin surveyed Austinintes about their thoughts on cemeteries. The results are surprising.
What the Speak Up Austin Surveys Tell Us About Austinites’ Feelings on Cremation
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In 2016 the city of Austin did something revolutionary. They created a Cemetery Master Plan for the city with the goal of preserving historic cemeteries and responsibly developing future cemeteries. The plan gained national attention and other cities quickly began corresponding with Austin city officials so that they could create something similar. 

Austin realized that times were changing, and body disposition wasn’t the same as it had been decades before. But what many people didn’t realize was that residents played a role in the Cemetery Master Plan. 

Before drafting the plan, Speak Up Austin surveyed Austinintes about their thoughts on cemeteries. The primary goal was to use the information to inform the city’s decisions on how cemeteries in Austin should be developed and managed. But the two surveys revealed something more. It provided insight into how Austinites view burial, cremation and other funeral services in general. One thing was clear. Austinites were ahead of the curve in disposition trends and will likely continue to stay ahead of the curve. 

Austinites Are Aware of Their Options

When asked about their awareness of 12 different burial options, Austinites were at least somewhat familiar with 10.6 of the options on average. Over 90% of the respondents said they were aware of at least 9 of the 12 options.

And here’s the thing. The Speak Up Austin survey creators realized that these numbers might be low. That’s because they failed to explain what columbariums are at the start of the survey. So they weren’t totally surprised that “placement of ashes in a columbarium” was one of the three options that Austinites were less familiar with. In fact, some respondents commented at the end of the survey that they didn’t know what the term columbarium meant. 

What was really impressive is 64% of the respondents actually knew of other forms of disposition that weren’t in the 12 options on the survey. Not surprisingly, the alternatives that respondents noted included eco-friendly services

The Majority of Austinites Prefer Cremation 

Even though Austinites are highly knowledgeable about internment and disposition options, that doesn’t mean they are open to choosing all of the options. On average, the respondents said they would only choose 3.8 of the 12 options for themselves or a loved one. 

The biggest takeaway is that the vast majority of Austinites would choose cremation over burial. Six years ago when the surveys were taken, cremation had just become more common than burial on a national level. But 78% of the Austinites that took the survey said they would choose cremation. Only 63% were open to considering a form of burial. 

One of the top reasons that Austinites prefer cremation is because cremation is more environmentally friendly than traditional burial. Many respondents cited concern over the impact of burial for why they were less interested in traditional interment. 

Austinites Prefer Scattering Cremains Over Keeping Them in a Columbarium

One of the advantages of cremation is that the family has many options in terms of what you can do with the cremated remains. Here’s what Austinites would choose to have done with their cremains (more than one option could be selected):

  • Scatter the cremains – 75%
  • Keep the cremains in an urn in a private place – 28%
  • Keep the cremains in a columbarium – 25%
  • Bury the cremains – 12%
  • Other – 1%

There was another interesting finding regarding the disposition of cremains. When respondents were asked if they would like to see the city offer columbarium niches in public cemeteries most people (73.6%) said yes. However, the majority of that group said they would rather scatter their own remains than have them stored in a columbarium. In other words, people liked having the option of a public columbarium, but they wouldn’t necessarily choose it for themselves.

Want to know more about green cremation options in Austin, TX? Green Cremation Texas specializes in eco-friendly flame cremation and water cremation that has a much lower impact on the environment. Our team is available by phone or email 24 hours a day.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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