LAS VEGAS (AP) - Nevada tops the list of states where residents increasingly see cremation as the preferred method of disposition of remains following death, new national statistics shows.
A national study by the Cremation Association of North American found that in 2007, 66.7 percent of people preferred cremation to burial.
Organization director John Ross said the practice is increasingly popular in westerns states. Nevada ranked first among states, followed by Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado and Montana.
Nevada's rate of cremation was 60 percent in 2006, Ross said. The rate grew nearly 7 percent in 2007.
Economics, transitory populations and environmental concerns typically influence the decision to choose cremation, Ross said. Cremation can cost about $1,700, while burials can be as much as $5,000 or more.
Ned Phillips, vice president of community relations for Palm Mortuary in Las Vegas, said it's difficult to pinpoint why cremation is growing in popularity.
"There's no real concrete answer," Phillips said. "It's been my experience in dealing with families that cremation has become a preference for them."
Nevada law allows ashes to be scattered on private property but only with the owner's permission. Ashes can also be scattered by air, over public waterways, at sea or in a cemetery.
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com