Cremation is still more common, with 73.2 percent of those who died in 2006 being cremated, according to Sveriges Begravningsbyråers Förbund (the Swedish Association of Funeral Directors – SBF). But last year was the first that fewer people chose cremation than the previous year. Of the roughly 91,000 people who died in Sweden, 66,767 were cremated.
The number of people cremated was still much higher than in 1936, the first year that figures were collated. Then, only 4.5 percent of those who died were burned.
“Burials look set to increase even more this year,” said Ulf Lernéus, head of SBF.
“Young people in particular are talking a lot about earth burial. When we visit upper secondary schools the pupils are always surprised that cremation is more common. They think it seems scary,” said Lernéus.
Lernéus said there were two explanations for the rise in burials. The first was environmental considerations, with younger people in particular viewing a buried coffin as more environmentally friendly than burning for example poisonous tooth fillings in a crematorium. He also pointed to some immigrants to Sweden having cultural objections to cremation.