It's the one journey we all make. On an average day, 5,500 people pass away. And with a regular funeral costing over $5,000, death in America is big business.
Cemeteries takes a long, hard look at the funerary industry, talking to people lie the president of Quirling Monuments and the Senior VP of Operations for Forest Lawn Memorial Parks to get a sense of how it works. Historians reveal how cultural attitudes about death have evolved over time, and how economics has long been integrated into these views--the ancient Greeks, for example, put coins on the eyes of the deceased to pay the tolls required to pass into the afterlife. Now, a basic casket will set a grieving family back $3,600, and more elaborate arrangements, like putting ashes into orbit around the moon, are far more expensive.
No matter how you look at it, death is a very healthy business, with millions of guaranteed customers every year. 50 minutes
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