As the last great subject never to be spoken of in pleasant company, it seems strange that something as universally inevitable as death and dying remains such a taboo in Western Culture. All denial aside, the realities of death – and the necessary funeral or cremation plans and preparations required after a loved one passes on – remain a significant and sometimes totally unexpected financial burden for many American boomers. The funeral industry also remains a quietly thriving business, despite being relegated to the obituary pages of your local newspaper. But with America’s rapidly aging population, it’s an area we probably need to come to terms with. Here are some of the stats on an underappreciated (but universal) part of the human experience.