Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Up Nearly 37 Percent Through First Half of 2009

Consumer Bankruptcy Filings Up Nearly 37 Percent Through First Half of 2009

Contact: John Hartgen
             [email protected]



July 2, 2009, Alexandria, Va.— U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings totaled 675,351 nationwide during the first six months of 2009 (Jan. 1-June 30), a 36.5 percent increase over the 494,610 total consumer filings during the same period a year ago, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), relying on data from the National Bankruptcy Research Center (NBKRC). The overall June consumer filing total of 116,365 was 40.6 percent more than the 82,770 consumer filings recorded in June 2008. While the June total represented an increase over the previous year, it was a 6.8 percent decrease from the May 2009 total of 124,838 consumer filings. Chapter 13 filings constituted 27.7 percent of all consumer cases in June, a slight increase from May.
“As unemployment, foreclosures rates and health care costs continue to rise, more consumers are turning to bankruptcy as a last financial resort,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We expect that there will be more than 1.4 million new bankruptcy filings by year end.”



ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 12,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit

NBKRC is an online research center that offers subscribers access to up-to-date research and statistics on bankruptcy filings. The database contains complete information dating back to 1995. For more information on NBKRC, please visit

*Definitions from Bankruptcy Overview: Issues, Law and Policy, by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is available to both individual and business debtors. Its purpose is to achieve a fair distribution to creditors of the debtor’s available non-exempt property.  Unsecured debts not reaffirmed are discharged, providing a fresh financial start.  

Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code is available for both business and consumer debtors. Its purpose is to rehabilitate a business as a going concern or reorganize an individual’s finances through a court-approved reorganization plan.

Chapter 12 of the Bankruptcy Code is designed to give special debt relief to a family farmer with regular income from farming. 

Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code is available for an individual with regular income whose debts do not exceed specific amounts; it is typically used to budget some of the debtor’s future earnings under a plan through which unsecured creditors are paid in whole or in part.