ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 27 (UPI) -- Minnesota was the top Midwest state in 2008 cremations and surpassed the national average for the funeral option, figures show.
State health department figures show the cremation rate in Minnesota last year was nearly 45 percent among those who died in the state, easily surpassing other Midwest states like Wisconsin and its 32 percent cremation rate, the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer-Press said Saturday.
The national average for cremations in 2008 was nearly 35 percent.
The Cremation Association of North America estimates in five years' time, nearly 60 percent of those individuals who die in Minnesota will have their remains cremated.
Funeral industry officials are attempting to determine why cremation rates are higher in major cities and the North Shore region of Minnesota than the state's farm areas.
"It might have a tie to the whole perspective to how one uses the land or sees the land availability," Minnesota Funeral Directors Association President Cory Michaelson suggested to the Pioneer-Press.