Total Bankruptcy Filings Drop 24 Percent in Calendar Year 2021, Commercial Chapter 11s Down 48 Percent

Total Bankruptcy Filings Drop 24 Percent in Calendar Year 2021, Commercial Chapter 11s Down 48 Percent

Alexandria, Va. Total bankruptcy filings during calendar year 2021 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31) decreased 24 percent from 2020 amid stabilization measures and lender forbearance in response to the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data provided by Epiq, total filings fell from 529,106 in 2020 to 401,291 filings during calendar year 2021. Annual bankruptcy filings last registered a similar total in 1984, with 348,521 total filings. Total consumer filings were 378,952 nationwide for calendar year 2021 (Jan. 1-Dec. 31), 24 percent fewer than the 496,589 total filings during 2020. The 2021 consumer filing total is the lowest since the 341,233 filings registered in 1985. Commercial filings also declined, as the 22,339 business filings in calendar year 2021 represented a 31 percent drop from the 32,517 recorded in calendar year 2020. Commercial chapter 11 filings registered the largest percentage decrease during calendar year 2021, as the total of 3,724 was 48 percent less than the 7,129 chapter 11 filings recorded during calendar year 2020.

“The decrease in filings in 2021 is a reflection of the government relief programs, moratoriums, lender deferments and low interest rates intended to help families and businesses weather the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ABI Executive Director Amy Quackenboss. “Consumers and businesses are now facing the new year with less government relief, fewer lender deferments, rising inflation, worker shortages and supply chain challenges as the pandemic continues. Bankruptcy helps struggling families and companies by providing a proven path through financially difficult times.”

Total bankruptcy filings for the month of December decreased 19 percent to 27,978 in 2021 from the 34,342 filings in December 2020. Similarly, the 26,317 total noncommercial filings for December represented an 18 percent decrease from the December 2020 noncommercial filing total of 32,145. The 1,661 total commercial filings in December 2021 represented a 24 percent decrease from the 2,197 total commercial filings during the same period in 2020. The 309 commercial chapter 11 filings in December 2021 were down 22 percent from the 394 recorded in December 2020.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for calendar year 2021 (Jan. 1-December 31) decreased slightly to 1.29 (total filings per 1,000 population) from the 1.71 rate during 2020. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) through December 2021 were:

1. Alabama (3.13)

2. Nevada (2.57)

3. Tennessee (2.40)

4. Indiana (2.17)

5. Georgia (2.12)

ABI has partnered with Epiq in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. Epiq is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. 

For further information about the statistics or additional requests, please contact ABI Public Affairs Officer John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or [email protected].


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 10,000 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

Epiq is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. Epiq offers innovative technology solutions for electronic discovery, document review, legal notification, claims administration and controlled disbursement of funds. Epiq’s clients include leading law firms, corporate legal departments, bankruptcy trustees, government agencies, mortgage processors, financial institutions, and other professional advisors who require innovative technology, responsive service and deep subject-matter expertise. For more information on Epiq, please visit