The funeral industry was mostly immune to changes in the economy because of deep-rooted traditions in how people memorialize their loved ones after death, but the recession and a shift in those traditional values has caused funeral-related businesses to feel this economic downturn more than others.
The number of people applying for cremation permits in Horry County has increased steadily over the last decade, with an almost 30 percent jump in the past few years and an increase of about 150 permits annually, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. Other areas where the funeral industry is feeling cutbacks range from people opting for same day visitations or choosing smaller memorials or headstones. Cemeteries are also feeling a pinch, with fewer people pre-planning for death and burials by reserving plots ahead of time.
This downturn is different because not only are people concerned about money, but traditional values have evolved with a larger retirement population that has fewer ties to the community, experts say. Thirty years ago, cremations were few and far between because many people traditionally had family plots.
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