Burnt or buried – what would your choice be for your funeral? It seems that more and more Brits are opting for cremation.
In a YouGov survey of more than 1,500 adults, 58 percent of people said they would rather be cremated, while 17 percent wanted to be buried. And what of the ashes? Seventy-nine percent of respondees wanted their ashes scattered, while 7 percent favoured them being kept.
[In case you were wondering, you can more or less scatter ashes anywhere you want – but check with specific graveyards if they allow this if you want to scatter ashes on a family grave.] Interestingly enough, there is a strong trend towards preferring cremation as people get older.
YouGov suggests that could be because as our bodies wear out, the idea of trying to preserve them is not as appealing. Some four in ten (42 percent) of 18-24 years old want to be cremated, but by the time people get to the age of 65 and over, it’s what more than seven in ten people want (71 percent).
Then there’s the million-dollar question – how long would you like to live for? According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the current UK life expectancy is 81 (79 for men, and 83 for women). Some 44 percent of people questioned said they wanted to be between 81 and 100. This age range was the most popular option across all the age groups questioned in the survey. Unsurprisingly, the age group of 65 plus were most keen.
Only a small amount of people seem to want to live for a very long time. The highest option the YouGov survey offered – to live to be 110 or older – was chosen by just 14 percent of people overall. Men, however, are significantly more likely to choose this option than women, with 19 percent of men wanting to live to be 110 or older compared to 9 percent of women. The ONS reports that in 2014 for every 100 men aged 90 and over, there were 249 women – so we’d advise gentlemen to readjust that little piece of optimistic thinking.
However, despite their desire to live longer, men are significantly less likely to be scared of death than women. Nearly six in ten men (58 percent) say that they are not afraid of death, compared to 42 percent of women. For the general population, half of them say they are not scared of the Big Bad Grim Reaper, while a third (32 percent) say they are, and two in ten people (19 percent) say they do not know.
First-time funeral goers face the dilemma of not knowing what they should wear. Black is traditional, but many people don’t own a black suit or dress and they worry about the expense of a new outfit versus the risk of causing offence.
The survey also found that overall 58 percent of the population don’t have a written will, whilst 39 percent do. As you might expect, as people get older, more of them have wills – 5 percent of 18-24-year-olds have a will, while 80 percent of those who are aged 65 and older have one.