Americans of all walks of life are struggling with debt and turning to bankruptcy protections to help them get a fresh start, and a new report from the Institute for Financial Literacy sheds some light onto the demographics of bankruptcy filers.
So, who is filing bankruptcy? The average bankruptcy filer in 2009 was a middle-aged, married, Caucasian woman with a high-school education or some college, employed and earning less than $30,000 a year. Over-extension of credit, unexpected expenses and reduction of income were the biggest motivators in her bankruptcy filing.Speak to a Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
Other findings include:
Females were slightly more likely to file than men: 52.4% to 47.6%. Women account for 51% of the U.S. population.
Senior citizens 65 and older made up 8.3% of filers, compared to 7.3% in 2008. Younger people 34 and under made up 18.9% of filers, down from 21.7% in 2008 and 24.3% in 2006.
African Americans accounted for 11.4% of bankruptcy filers, down from 15.3% in 2006.
Asian Americans accounted for 4% of filers, up from 2.1% in 2006.
Individuals with higher educations are filing in greater numbers, with 28.8% holding at least an associates degree, up from 24.1% in 2006.
Individuals with some college experience but no degree accounted for 28.9% of bankruptcy filings, yet make up on 19% of the general population.
The vast majority of filers had a job of some sort: 59.3% indicated being employed, and another 10.3% identified as self-employed.
An additional 16.2% were unemployed. The official unemployment rate averaged 9.3% in 2009.
Retirees accounted for 9.3% of filings, up from 8.7% in 2008.
Married individuals made up the bulk of bankruptcy filers, at 65.1%, up from 62% in 2008 and 57.1% in 2006.
Singles filers made up only 16.7% of all filings, down from 21.9% in 2006. Of the total population, 30.5% are single.
Divorcees made up 14.4% of filings, down from 15.3% in 2008 and 15.9% in 2006.
In the Institute for Financial Literacy's survey, they asked responders to choose from a list as many causes as applied to them. The top reasons were:
Other reasons cited were:
As you can see, bankruptcy is not just a problem for one small pocket of the population. Anyone can find themselves deep in debt, and many people can benefit from the fresh start that bankruptcy offers.
If you're ready to see how Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you meet your debt-freedom goals, contact a local bankruptcy attorney. Simply fill out our free case review form below to take the next step today.
PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT: THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total Bankruptcy is not a law firm. Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total Bankruptcy does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network nor does it analyze a person's legal situation when determining which participating lawyers receive a person's inquiry. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The information contained herein is not legal advice. Any information you submit to Total Bankruptcy does not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Do not use the form to submit confidential, time-sensitive, or privileged information. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. An attorney responsible for the content of this Site is Kevin W. Chern, Esq., licensed in Illinois with offices at 25 East Washington, Suite 400, Chicago, Illinois 60602. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here, or call 866-200-8052.
FLORIDA ONLY: Total Bankruptcy is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total Bankruptcy is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.
If you live in Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here for additional information.
By an Act of Congress and the President of the United States, we are a federal Debt Relief Agency. Attorneys and/or law firms promoted through this Web site are also federally designated Debt Relief Agencies. They help people file for relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Disclosures Required Under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.