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Death: It's a Living

Death: It's a Living
Death isn’t just a certainty; it’s an industry, built around a set of rituals designed to ease grieving – and drive profits. Once bound by tradition, this highly competitive and little-understood business is reinventing itself for the 21st century.

Extras

  • Popular Celebrity Gravesites Monday, 28 Jan 2013 | 5:01 PM ET

    Celebrity gravesites become popular attractions, visited by tourists hoping to connect with their once living idol. See some of the most popular celebrity gravesites of all time.

  • Michael Stock, at his wife Ursula’s celebration of life party, standing by the open bar she had insisted on including at the party.

    More and more baby boomers are taking life -- and death -- into their own hands, choosing to plan celebration of life parties with clear instructions of how they want to be honored, instead of leaving their families to plan a funeral.

  • Tyler Mathison investigates the business of death for CNBC's "Death: It's a Living"

    Every year in America, 2.5 million people die. In 2011, the last year for which numbers are available, 42 percent were cremated. That’s double the rate of just 15 years ago.

  • Unusual Funerals and Creative Cremations Friday, 25 Jan 2013 | 2:29 PM ET

    A growing number of businesses provide memorable send-offs to the person for whom the average funeral just won’t cut it. Read ahead to see 10 businesses that provide unusual funerals, creative cremations and much more.

Videos

  • Saying Goodbye with a Splash     Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    With cremation rates at 42 percent in the U.S, burial alternatives are a growing business. A look at Eternal Reefs, a company that's taking burials overboard...literally.

  • Inside the Aurora Casket Company     Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    At Aurora's Indiana headquarters, 200 sets of hands touch every one of the 160,000 caskets that go through the assembly line each year. CNBC's Tyler Mathisen explores a company that thinks inside the box.

  • A 21st Century Burial     Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    The National Funeral Directors Convention & Expo is chance for nearly 400 vendors to show off the latest and greatest in how to lay someone to rest. CNBC's Tyler Mathisen gets the lowdown on a high-tech cremation alternative.

  • How Embalming Works     Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    From colorful fluids to makeup, Arapahoe Community College Mortuary Science Professor Martha Thayer shows CNBC's Tyler Mathisen the ins and outs of embalming.

  • Meet the Mortuary Students     Monday, 7 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    They're not majoring in math or music -- but mortuary science. Meet Hailey Matthews and Michael Perez, two future funeral directors who think they have what it takes for a career in the death business.

  • An Unusual Final Request     Thursday, 24 Jan 2013 | 12:00 AM ET

    Funeral directors say most of their time isn't spent with the dead, but with the living, serving the needs of loved ones. Horan & McConaty's Chuck Bowman describes the most surprising request he ever had.

About Death: It's a Living

  • It’s a 24/7, fiercely competitive business that everyone will eventually confront but few understand: the $17 billion-a-year "death care" industry. CNBC's Tyler Mathisen profiles the professionals who deal in the rituals of death, and profit as they help ease the way from here … to the hereafter. CNBC goes behind the scenes at a funeral home as it explores the steady rise in cremation and uncovers some unconventional ways to say goodbye. Can this industry reinvent itself for a Boomer generation that's demanding new ways to deal with the departed and celebrate their lives?

Contact Death: It's a Living

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  • Tyler Mathisen co-anchors CNBC's "Power Lunch." Mathisen also co-anchors "Nightly Business Report produced by CNBC."