Rate of U.S. Households Filing for Bankruptcy Plunges in 2006

Rate of U.S. Households Filing for Bankruptcy Plunges in 2006

Contact: John Hartgen
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May 9, 2007, Alexandria, Va. — The frequency of U.S. households filing for bankruptcy cooled dramatically in 2006 to one personal bankruptcy for every 208 households in calendar year 2006. The figure represents more than a threefold decrease from the number of households that filed for bankruptcy in calendar year 2005, in which there was an average of one filing for every 60 households.

The drop-off in the frequency of filings per household is consistent with the overall decrease in consumer bankruptcies in 2006, which fell to their lowest levels since the 1980s. The record levels experienced in 2005 are largely attributable to families looking to file for bankruptcy protection prior to the implementation the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA). Most provisions of the new law became effective on Oct. 17, 2005.

“Notwithstanding the drop in bankruptcy filings last year, many American families are still facing financial stress,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “Rising levels of household debt and declining home values could lead to higher bankruptcies this year.”

The data can be viewed at http://www.abiworld.org/stats.  The table, based on data from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (2005 nonbusiness bankruptcies as of December 31, 2006) and the U.S. Bureau of the Census (U.S. household unit estimates as of July 1, 2005), ranks households per filing by state and nationally. The five states with the highest bankruptcy household-per-filing rates are Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Indiana and Arkansas. States with the lowest rates include Maine, Hawaii, Vermont, Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia. By contrast, states with the highest bankruptcy household-per-filing rates in calendar year 2005 were Indiana, Ohio, Utah, Tennessee and Oklahoma. The states with the lowest rates in 2005 included South Carolina, Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont, as well as the District of Columbia.


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 nearly 11,500 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 www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.