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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

Topic: vital statistics

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October 26, 2012 at 6:00 AM

For Halloween, Washington’s spookiest statistics

Lake View Cemetery, Seattle (photo by Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons)

Halloween’s just around the corner, so in that spirit, here are some of the state’s spookiest statistics…

Washington is home to 101 cemeteries and crematoriums with paid employees, according to the U.S. Economic Census, and 664 people work in this field statewide.

Does the “death care” industry sound appealing to you?  If so, consider a career in embalming. The average embalmer in Washington earns $42,244, according to the state’s Employment Security Department. Could you call that a living wage? Regardless, it’s not easy work to get; the state says the job market for embalmers in Washington is, uh, grim.

The employment outlook for embalmers would surely improve if so many of us weren’t choosing cremation.  In fact, Washington is the No. 2 state for cremations, according to the National Funeral Directors Association.  We cremated 71 percent of our dead here in 2010; the national average is only 41 percent.  Nevada tops the rankings (73 percent) while Mississippi is on the other end of the cremation spectrum (14 percent).

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