NHFA's 2023 US Funeral Consumer Survey concluded in September 2023. Over three hundred respondents participated from across the United States.
In summary -- NHFA found that cost does matter to funeral consumers in the United States. The majority of funeral consumers in our survey indicated that the cost of a funeral posed a substantial burden, and a majority of consumers surveyed indicated that if prices were available online, they would do price comparisons to find the best affordable options. A majority of consumers surveyed also preferred price transparency, stating a strong preference that the costs of funeral products and services be made available online.
Our findings are in contrast to claims made by the National Funeral Directors Association that cost "doesn't matter" for most US funeral consumers, a response to the FTC proposal to make funeral prices more transparent and require that they be made available online.
Here is a breakdown of our findings.
Our respondents were fairly evenly distributed across large cities (27%), moderate cities (29%), small cities (23%), and rural areas (21%).
The majority of our respondents were between the ages of 25 and 64 (85%), with about 15% of our respondents under 25 or 65 and older.
55% of our respondents had personally planned a funeral; 38% of our respondents knew someone who had planned a funeral.
82% of our respondents indicated that the median cost of a funeral* would significantly impact their ability to afford what they needed, with 49% responding that they would need to use credit or crowdfunding to afford the cost of a funeral.
79% of our respondents stated that they have either personally have had trouble covering the cost of a funeral, or that they know someone who has.
When asked "If you had to cover the cost of a funeral this month," 53% stated that "cost would be a significant factor;" 34% stated that cost would factor "a lot" or a "moderate amount."
62% of respondents indicated that the very first thing they would do, if they had to plan a funeral, would be to look at funeral products and prices online (if they were available). 29% ranked "looking at funeral products and prices online" as their second and third preferred steps in funeral planning. 76% of respondents ranked "making an in-person appointment" as their very last or second-to-last action step in their preferred order, despite NFDA's claims that requiring consumers to come in for consultation without prior access to information mirrors what most consumers want.
See a selection of free text responses following the links below.
*According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in 2021 was $7,848.00.
Link to graphs and free text responses.
Selected Free Text Responses