Facts & Statistics
Bankruptcy is a legally
declared inability (or impairment of ability) of an individual
or organization to pay their creditors a debt that is
US Bankruptcy Facts
Bankruptcy proceedings are
undertaken in the United States Bankruptcy Courts, part
of the District Court system.
A declared state of bankruptcy can be requested or initiated
by the debtor, or it can be requested by creditors in
an effort to recoup a portion of what they are owed. In
the overwhelming majority of cases, the bankruptcy is
initiated by the debtor.
US Bankruptcy Statistics:
The first week of October 2005 showed over 100,000 filings,
up from approximately 68,000 the week prior. This was
the fourth straight record week when more than 3 times
the normal number of bankruptcies were filed.
More Americans filed for bankruptcy last year in the United
States than in the entire decade of the 1960s.
During the 12 months ending June 30, 2004, a record 1.63
million bankruptcies were filed. This is about double
the number that filed a decade ago in 1993.
The median value of total outstanding debt owed by households
rose 9.6% between 1998 and 2001.
Household debt reached $8.9 billion in 2003 relative to
One out of every 73 households filed for bankruptcy in
the year 2003.
Utah had the highest per-household bankruptcy rate --
one out of every 47 -- followed closely by Tennessee,
Georgia, Nevada and Alabama. Alaska had the lowest rate
in 2003 -- just one filing for every 189 households, followed
by Vermont, North Dakota and New Hampshire. (American
Both the poverty rate and number in poverty increased
for people 18 to 64 years old (11.3 percent and 20.5 million
in 2004, up from 10.8 percent and 19.4 million in 2003).
Credit card lending quadrupled between 1990 and 2003
23.8% of American households have no credit cards at all
-- no bank cards, no retail cards, nothing
The American Bankruptcy Institute stated that during 2003,
consumer bankruptcies were filed at a rate of 185 per
Approximately 98 percent of bankruptcy filings in the
U.S. are non-business
At least one "mega" debtor, (a company with
more than $100 million in assets and 1,000 creditors),
files for bankruptcy every week in Delaware.
The highest hourly fee charged by a bankruptcy attorney
was for the services of a Price Waterhouse partner who
billed her time out at $930.00 per hour.