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Sharp increase in the number of cremations during the pandemic year

During the corona year 2020, the number of cremations in Sweden increased to the highest ever, new statistics from the Swedish Cemetery and Crematorium Association (SKKF) show.

More than 81,000 people were cremated during the year, which is almost a ten percent increase from the year before. The big reason is the high mortality rate – about ten percent more people also died in 2020 than the year before.

– We are quite convinced that it is linked to the pandemic, says SKKF’s CEO Jan Olov Andersson.

As SVT Småland previously reported, the increasing number of cremations has caused high pressure on certain crematoria in Sweden, including in Växjö.

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More and more people are choosing to cremate their dead, says Mats Lindblad, cemetery manager in Växjö. Photo: Ricardo Garcia/SVT

A longer trend

What is reported in the report as the frequency of cremation, how large a proportion of the deceased were cremated, was largely unchanged from the previous year. But behind the figures is also a longer trend of changing funeral habits in the population.

The largest increase over time can be seen in smaller towns without their own crematorium – in the early nineties fewer than half were cremated, today eight out of ten. One of these places is Älmhult, where the declining number of earth burials has meant that the municipality’s large cemetery is still empty.

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– The difference is being evened out, there is no longer any major difference between countryside and city, says Jan Olov Andersson.

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