NFDA Releases Results of 2010 General Price List Survey

| December 8, 2010 | 3 Comments

This entire blog is a quote from the NFDA News Release

Brookfield, Wis. – The National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) released the results of its 2010 member General Price List (GPL) survey today. The report provides a comprehensive picture of the diversity of costs associated with a funeral, providing data that breaks down services by geographic region, size of firm and size of city/town.

Perhaps the most frequently requested piece of information produced by the survey is the national average cost of a funeral. NFDA calculates the median cost of a funeral by totaling the costs of the following items: non-declinable basic services fee, removal/transfer of remains to funeral home, embalming, other preparation of the body, a metal casket, use of the funeral home and staff for viewing, use of the funeral home and staff for a funeral ceremony, use of a hearse, use of a service car/van, and a basic memorial printed package (e.g., memorial cards, register book, etc.).

The national median cost of a funeral for calendar year 2009 was $6,560. If a vault is included, something which is typically required by a cemetery, that number rises to $7,755. The cost does not take into account cemetery, monument or marker costs, or miscellaneous cash-advance items, such as flowers and obituaries. The cost of a funeral can vary by region; costs can also vary based on a funeral home’s location and the size of the business.

The cost of a funeral this decade (2000–2009) rose 21 percent. Over the 1991–1998 period for which studies were completed, the cost of a funeral increased by 25 percent. The percent increase during the 1980s (1980–1989) was significantly higher at 47 percent, reflecting the high rates of inflation during that decade. Inflation was also higher in the 1990s than in the past decade.

NFDA mailed 3,000 self-administered surveys to member funeral homes in June 2010. The response rate of 21 percent accurately reflects (with 95 percent confidence) NFDA’s total membership within a range of ± 3.5 percent. Respondents were asked to give GPL pricing information for certain funeral products and services as of December 31, 2009.

National Average Cost of an Adult Funeral: 2009 vs. 2004
Percent Change in Funeral Costs over the Past Five Years
Item 2009* 2004* % Change
from 2009
to 2004
Non-declinable basic services fee $1,817 $1,460 24.5%
Removal/transfer of remains to funeral home $250 $195 28.2%
Embalming $628 $498 26.1%
Other preparation of the body $200 $175 14.3%
Use of facilities/staff for viewing $395 $339 16.5%
Use of facilities/staff for funeral ceremony $450 $395 13.9%
Hearse $275 $225 22.2%
Service car/van $125 $100 25.0%
Basic memorial printed package $125 $95 31.6%
Subtotal without casket $4,265 $3,482 22.5%
Metal casket (average charge for the most
frequently purchased item) $2,295 $2,100 9.3%
AVERAGE COST OF A FUNERAL $6,560 $5,582 17.5%
Vault (average charge for the most
frequently purchased item) $1,195 $998 19.7%
Total with vault $7,755 $6,580 17.9%

* Median Price – The amount at which half of the figures fall below and half are above.

NFDA is the world’s leading funeral service association, serving 18,500 individual members who represent more than 9,900 funeral homes in the United States and internationally. From its headquarters in Brookfield, Wis., and its Advocacy Division office in Washington, D.C., NFDA informs, educates and advocates to help members enhance the quality of service they provide to families. For more information, visit

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