Over 80% of Koreans Choose Cremation

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    September 20, 2016 13:05

    More than 80 percent of Koreans now choose cremation for their funeral, a massive cultural shift from just two decades ago.

    The Korea Funeral Culture and Policy Institute last week said 221,886 people, or 80.5 percent, of the 275,700 people who died last year were cremated. The institute estimates that cremations accounted for 81.1 percent of all funerals from January to May this year.

    The proportion was just 20 percent in 1994, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, and grew by an average of three percent a year.

    The ministry said the main reason for the increase is that cremation is more sanitary, simpler and cheaper than burial.

    In a survey last year by the institute, 40.6 percent said they want to be cremated because that makes their grave easy to maintain, while 36.2 percent said it is clean and sanitary. Some 13.6 percent said the procedure is simple, and 2.6 percent cited the low cost.

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