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Memorial Day Data Bites: Atlanta poll highlights non-traditional trends in memorials

Memorial Day Data Bites: Atlanta poll highlights non-traditional trends in memorials

Atlanta, Ga. – On Memorial Day, it’s customary to bring flowers and an American flag to the cemetery – but what about grabbing the smartphone to post a picture on Facebook? Posting to social media in a non-traditional memorial setting is seen as acceptable by about one in three Atlanta residents under 35 years old, and older generations are not far behind, according to the Dignity Memorial® Network National Opinion Index (NOI) which tracks local and national sentiments on the topic.

The poll found that in Atlanta, 33 percent of those under 35 and 19 percent of respondents 35 and over think it’s always or usually appropriate to post comments to social media at a non-traditional memorial service. That trends higher than the national rate of 28 percent of those under 35 who said it was always or usually appropriate in a non-traditional memorial setting. These attitudes are part of a larger shift away from traditional funeral customs and toward non-traditional life celebrations aimed at honoring loved ones in upbeat, personalized ways.

One in three Atlanta residents (37 percent) said they would choose to have a non-traditional memorial or life celebration instead of a traditional funeral service, according to the poll. People here said a non-traditional service would include non-religious music (78 percent), a celebratory tone and upbeat atmosphere (72 percent), decorations other than flowers (63 percent), food (60 percent) and alcohol (55 percent). Some individuals’ memorial wishes may be even more novel than their family and friends expect. In Atlanta, 18 percent of survey respondents said they would choose to have their remains incorporated into an ocean reef, and 12 percent indicated they would opt to have their ashes put into a capsule and released into space.

When given a variety of choices, the majority of residents stayed away from traditional burials. Out of eight options for a preferred final send-off, “standard burial” tied for last. “A black dress graveside service just isn’t the only way to do things anymore,” said David Hass, managing director of the local Dignity Memorial network, which owns 35 funeral homes and cemeteries throughout Atlanta. The company commissioned the NOI as part of Life Well Celebrated, , a program that highlights personalized, non-traditional life celebrations. “Families are telling us they want to explore new ways to celebrate a life – whether it be a golf-themed memorial service with customized tees as keepsakes or Memorial Day social media photo sharing with friends and family,” Hass said. About the Dignity Memorial Network National Opinion Index The Dignity Memorial Network National Opinion Index is based on a total of 2,200 online interviews conducted by FBK Research in December 2013. Six hundred interviews were conducted with a representative sample of consumers 18 years of age or older living in the United States.

An additional 400 interviews were conducted with consumers 18 years of age or older in each of four markets: Atlanta, Jacksonville, Nashville, and Oklahoma City. All tests were run at the 95 percent level of confidence. About the Dignity Memorial Network The Dignity Memorial network of more than 2,000 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is North America’s most trusted resource for funeral and memorialization services. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. For more information, visit