Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Kevin J. Patrick, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sudeshna Ghosh, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Stacey Wicker, M.S.


As America progresses towards a more personalized approach to death, the traditional burial becomes less popular in the face of cremation. In Pennsylvania, cremation still accounts for less than half the total dispositions in the state but has shown a marked increase over the last 20 years. What drives this continual increase in cremation rates in Pennsylvania? This study explored cremation rates relative to income, race and religion, all factors known to be important in the decision of cremation. Comparative techniques revealed spatial associations in the distribution of cremation in Pennsylvania. A Local Moran's I exposed grouped areas in the distribution, while a geographically weighted regression uncovered the level of influence from the factors. Results were mixed, showing the complexity of the issue, but they opened the door for the study of cremation as a spatial phenomenon.