$130K For 2 ft2 Niche: Hong Kong’s Land For The Living, Not The Dead

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Written By Henry Dalziel

I've been living and working in Hong Kong since 2016 as an SEO Professional.

Because there is hardly enough land for the living, never alone the dead, privately controlled columbariums in Hong Kong charge more than $130,000 for a niche that is only 2 square feet in size and is used to hold the ashes of the deceased. This is due to the fact that Hong Kong has a population density of nearly 7,000 people per square kilometre, making it one of the most densely populated areas on the face of the planet. As a direct consequence of this, there is a very limited supply of land that may be used for cemeteries, and the government maintains stringent regulations over the expansion of these areas. As a direct consequence of this, the cost of purchasing a spot in a columbarium has increased, rendering it unattainable for a great number of families.The fact that traditional Chinese culture holds that it is an act of filial piety to bury one’s ancestors in the city in where they were born only makes the matter much more difficult. The high expense of living in Hong Kong, on the other hand, forces many families to relocate away from their ancestral houses, making it difficult to meet this cultural commitment.The high price of columbarium niches has contributed to an increase in the number of people who choose cremation as their final disposition option. However, even this is becoming more difficult to accomplish, not to mention more expensive, as the crematoriums in the city are frequently operating at or near capacity. Because of this, a lot of families have to wait several months or even years before they can cremate their departed loved ones.The lack of available land in Hong Kong is a contributing factor to the city’s sky-high funeral costs. Because there is so little space in the city, even for the living, let alone the dead, the people who live there are facing an increasingly uphill battle to find a location where they may be at peace.
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