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Total May Bankruptcy Filings Increase 2 Percent over Last Year, Commercial Chapter 11s Increase 7 Percent

Alexandria, Va. Total U.S. bankruptcy filings increased 2 percent in May 2019 over May of last year, according to data provided by Epiq Systems, Inc. Bankruptcy filings totaled 68,796 in May 2019, up from the May 2018 total of 67,346. The 65,313 consumer bankruptcy filings in May 2019 were also up 2 percent over the May 2018 consumer total of 63,966. Total commercial filings increased 3 percent in May 2019, as the 3,483 filings were up from the 3,380 commercial filings registered in May 2018. Total commercial chapter 11 filings increased 7 percent to 478 in May 2019 from the May 2018 total of 448.

“High filing costs place additional debt burdens on struggling families and businesses seeking the financial fresh start of bankruptcy,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “ABI’s Chapter 11 Reform Commission and Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy provide recommendations to modernize the Bankruptcy Code to remove barriers for financially distressed households and businesses looking to access bankruptcy.”

Recommendations from ABI's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 for restructuring small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are included in the “Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019.” The Senate is considering the legislation (S. 1091), and a forthcoming House version could be considered by the House Judiciary Committee next week. ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy issued its Final Report of recommendations in April to improve access to the consumer bankruptcy system. Click here to get your copy.

Meanwhile, increasing financial distress and bankruptcies in the farm belt could benefit from pending legislation (S. 897, H.R. 2336) that would raise debt limits in chapter 12.

May’s commercial chapter 11 filing total represented an 8 percent increase from the April 2019 commercial chapter 11 filing total of 442. Total commercial filings in May increased slightly from the 3,468 filings in April 2019. Conversely, total bankruptcy filings for the month of May decreased 4 percent when compared to the 71,278 total filings recorded the previous month. Total noncommercial filings for May also represented a 4 percent decrease from the April 2019 noncommercial filing total of 67,810.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate in May was 2.53 (total filings per 1,000 per population), a slight increase from the 2.50 filing rate during the first four months of the year. Average total filings per day in May 2019 were 3,127, a 2 percent increase from the 3,061 total daily filings in May 2018. States with the highest per capita filing rates (total filings per 1,000 population) in May 2019 were:


1. Alabama (5.65)

2. Tennessee (5.38)

3. Mississippi (4.34)

4. Georgia (4.31)

5. Illinois (3.85)

ABI has partnered with Epiq Systems, Inc. in order to provide the most current bankruptcy filing data for analysts, researchers and members of the news media. Epiq Systems is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. To view the full monthly statistical tables provided by Epiq Systems, be sure to visit ABI’s Newsroom.

For further information about the statistics or additional requests, please contact ABI Public Affairs Manager 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 11,000 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 Systems is a leading provider of managed technology for the global legal profession. Epiq Systems offers innovative technology solutions for electronic discovery, document review, legal notification, claims administration and controlled disbursement of funds. Epiq System’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 Systems, Inc., please visit