YouGov Death Study: Britons on their funeral and how long they think they will be remembered for

Milan DinicResearch Manager
October 06, 2021, 1:42 PM UTC

How many Britons have thought about their funeral?

Half of Britons (49%) say they have pictured what their funeral will look like, the YouGov Death Study finds.

Four in ten (41%) have thought about it in general, while 8% have looked at it in detail. Half (48%), however, have not given any thought to this.

Notably more British women (55%) than men (42%) say they have thought about their funeral arrangements, and this applies across all age groups.

Among the older population, over half (55%) of those aged 60+ have considered what their funeral will look like, which is higher than in the younger age groups. Older women (60 or above) are twice as likely (12%) as men of the same age (5%) to report thinking in detail about their funeral arrangements.

What do Britons want to happen to their body when they die?

Just 15% of Britons say they’d like to be buried. The greatest number – just under half (45%) – want to be cremated, with this view being expressed by slightly more women (48%) than men (42%).

The older Britons are, the more likely they are to say they’d like their body to be cremated, with this preference growing from 22% among 16-24-year-olds, to 58% among those who are 60 or older.

Among the one in five Britons who are religious and actively practising their faith, a similar number want to be buried (34%) as cremated (36%). For those who are religious but don’t practice, 54% prefer to be cremated, compared to 16% who prefer burial. For Britons who do not belong to any religious denomination, 8% would like to be buried and 45% would like to be cremated.

The data also shows that one in eight Britons (13%) say they’d like to donate their body for research. This applies to 18% of those who say they don’t belong to any faith, which is three times higher compared to those who practice their religion (6%).

How many Britons expect to be remembered when they’re gone?

The YouGov Death Study also researched for how long Britons think they will be remembered following their death.

A quarter (24%) think people will remember them for five (15%) or ten (9%) years after they die. One in eight (13%) think they will be remembered for up to 20 years, and 11% expect the memory of them will live on for half a century after they’re gone.

Just 7% think they will be remembered for longer than 50 years. Young Britons (16-24) are twice as likely than other age groups to say they expect to be remembered for longer than 50 years: 13% vs 5-6% of those 25 and above. This view is most notably present among 16-24 year old men (19%), who are more likely than their female peers (8%) to expect to be remembered longer than half a century.

On the other end are the 9% of Britons who expect to not be remembered at all. For those who are in their 60s or older, more men (11%) than women (6%) think they won’t be remembered at all following their death.

See the full results here