What is the average cost of a funeral? (2021)

The average cost of a funeral in the United States is $6,500, according to research conducted by our staff. The exact price you might pay in your particular case might vary, however, based on a number of factors. Prices vary based on the type of ceremony you are intending on conducting, what sort of casket or urn you purchase and more.

A traditional, full-service burial or cremation includes the following:

  • Funeral director and staff fees: $2,000
  • Pickup of body and transportation: $300
  • Embalming and body preparation: $700-$900
  • Casket: $2,400
  • Viewing facilities: $400
  • Funeral or memorial service: $200
  • Graveside service: $200 – $500
  • Hearse: $320

Beyond the funeral, you might also have to pay for a lot or crypt in a cemetery, the cost of perpetual care and potentially a marker or monument should you choose to get one. Beyond these individual costs associated with funeral services, the overall amount of money you have to put up will also depend on the profile of the deceased. For example, children or infants are usually priced lower on more boilerplate services (though individuals tend to also pay more for bigger memorials). 

In this article:

  • Cost of a Funeral By City and State
  • Low income funeral cost and options
  • Children, Infants & Babies
  • Veterans
  • Funeral Cost Calculator

How does the cost of a funeral vary from state to state?

Perhaps the biggest determining factor in how much you will pay for a funeral is where you reside. Funerals, like other services, respond to market forces of supply and demand. High populated areas, where land is expensive and incomes are high, will see higher costs than more rural parts of the nation. Our team of researchers conducted a rudimentary analysis of funeral costs across some of the biggest cities in each state. While these prices are likely to vary depending on the circumstances we laid out above, they are directionally correct.

Little RockArkansas$7,195$2,619
Los AngelesCalifornia$9,067$2,607
Des MoinesIowa$6,457$3,771
New OrleansLouisiana$6,028$3,893
Kansas CityMissouri$4,536$3,698
Las VegasNevada$8,754$3,424
ManchesterNew Hampshire$5,509$3,643
NewarkNew Jersey$11,531$3,407
New MexicoAlbuquerque$8,857$2,936
New YorkNew York$9,475$3,572
CharlotteNorth Carolina$2,366$4,466
FargoNorth Dakota$3,906$3,644
Oklahoma CityOklahoma$10,252$3,492
ProvidenceRhode Island$2,885$7,567
CharlestonSouth Carolina$4,437$3,406
Sioux FallsSouth Dakota$2,443$3,817
Salt Lake CityUtah$10,636$3,385
Virginia BeachVirginia$5,719$4,987
CharlestonWest Virginia$4,848$4,541
Washington D.CDistrict of Columbia$2,206$3,928

Low income funeral costs

Many families struggle with the cost of a funeral – even for someone in middle class, coming up with $6,000 or $10,000 suddenly can be a large financial burden. You can save on the cost of a funeral by opting for a direct burial or direct cremation – with no ceremonies or visitation memorials. These low-cost burials will run you anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on where you live.

You may want to also consider whether any charities or religious institutions in your area provide discounted rates for those in need. Note that neither medicaid or medicare will cover any part of a funeral expense.

Cost of a funeral for babies, infants and children

Burying a child, no matter the age, is one of the most painful moments in one’s life. While there is a lot going through one’s head at a time like this, it can be challenging to think about the best way to honor the child, and to think about the costs involved. Because they are smaller than adults, children require smaller plots of land, fewer materials for embalming and smaller caskets/urns. As a result, the cost to bury or cremate a child is significantly lower – starting at somewhere between $3,000 and $5,300. This would cover a burial plot, a simple casket or urn as well as the cost of a burial and a basic ceremony.

As with the cost of funerals for adults, this price can go up significantly, should you choose to arrange a more elaborate memorial. In some geographies, you may pay as much as $14,000 for a burial plot. Likewise, ceremonies can sometimes creep up to north of $8,000 alone. If costs are a significant factor for you, we recommend shopping around across different funeral homes to compare prices and find one that will suit your budget, while still giving you the right care and attention you need while you say goodbye.

The cost of a funeral for veterans

In the United States, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) covers a portion of the cost for Veterans. How much of a benefit is paid out, depends on two factors: 

  • Service-related deaths. If the veteran passed while in the service of the United States government, the VA may cover up to $2,000 for burials expenses (this applies to deaths after September 11, 2001). If the veteran is to be buried in a VA national cemetery, the department may also cover some or all costs for transporting the body.
  • Non-service-related deaths. For deaths on or after October 1, 2019, the VA will cover up to $796 towards burial and funeral expenses.

These benefits are payable to surviving spouses, the survivor of a legally recognized union,

the children, regardless of age, the veteran’s parent or the executor or administrator of the veteran’s estate. 

Note that the VA does not pay out these benefits if the veteran died during active military service. The VA will also not pay if the veteran was dishonorably discharged from service.

To learn more or to apply for these benefits, visit the VA’s website.

Funeral cost calculator

We wanted to help readers more easily model out the price of a funeral, so we put together a cost calculator in the form of a Google Sheet. You can find the funeral cost calculator here. Simply download or copy the sheet to be able to edit it. You can do so online with the free Google Sheets service (requires a Google Account) or through Excel on your computer.

Enter different amounts into each of the service fees, and you can see the total cost of the funeral. Try and leave column B unchanged so that you can always see how what you pay differs from the nationwide average.

How to save money on the cost of a funeral

Before we finish this guide, we also wanted to provide readers with some helpful tips on how to save money on the cost of a funeral.

  • Shop around different funeral homes. Funeral directors are required to provide you with the cost of general services, so you should be able to compare different costs in your city, to find something that aligns with your budget.
  • You can sometimes save thousands of dollars on the cost of a funeral by shopping around for some items, such as caskets, on your own.
  • Should you bury or cremate a body directly, with no viewing or memorial services, you may be able to save on body preparation and viewing costs.

Social Security may provide up to $255 towards the cost of a funeral. You may contact the Social Security Administration by dialing 800-772-1213, or visiting a local branch.