Tens of thousands in the United States, including the DC region, die each year without anyone to manage their cremation or burial. This forces state, county and local governments to handle these final arrangements.
Will someone who knew you when you walked the earth be there to bury or cremate you when your time comes? For too many in the DC region and around the United States, the answer is: No.
A six months study conducted by The Washington Post found that tens of thousands of people die each year in the country without anyone burying or cremating them, forcing state, county and local governments to handle these events.
Maryland is one of the few states that tracks the number of unclaimed corpses. State Anatomy Board told the WTOP that 2,510 corpses went uncollected last year. That’s about 3% to 4% of all deaths registered in the state.
The board said the number of people dying without anyone claiming their remains has risen steadily over the past few years. On average, Maryland spends between $ 1 million and $ 2 million a year on managing the organs left behind.
Virginia does not track the number of unclaimed corpses in the state. It leaves it with the final management of remnants to the counties, cities and towns of the Commonwealth.
That Virginia Department of Healthtold the WTOP, however, that 301 of the 8,683 deaths it examined last year resulted in corpses not being claimed.
In 2019, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the district buried or cremated 231 corpses that were never claimed. That The DC office of the chief physician told the WTOP that it has no estimate of how much the city spends on burying or cremating the unclaimed.
Many coroners and others handling the deceased estimate that as many as 3% of the deceased go unclaimed each year in the United States If true, more than 100,000 people would be buried or cremated by the government, according to the Washington Post – the article. In some areas, the unclaimed are buried in unmarked graves.
The Post found that in many cases officials are able to find relatives of the dead, but family members say they do not want to be involved – or can not afford to be, citing high funeral and burial costs . In other cases, the deceased had lived isolated lives, without family members or friends to make final arrangements for them.
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