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Bankruptcy Filings Continue to Fall Sharply

Personal and business bankruptcy filings fell 29.1 percent for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2021. A steady decline in filings has continued since the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis began.  

According to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the September 2021 annual bankruptcy filings totaled 434,540, compared with 612,561 cases in the previous year.

Business filings fell 27.9 percent, from 22,391 to 16,140 in the year ending Sept. 30, 2021. Non-business bankruptcy filings fell 29.1 percent, to 418,400 compared with 590,170 in the previous year.

The 12-month percentage drop nearly matched the previous quarterly filings report, when new bankruptcies filed in the 12 months ending June 30, 2021, were 32.2 percent lower than in June 2020.

Unemployment temporarily spiked in March 2020, when the COVID-19 emergency intensified. However, several factors may have impacted individuals’ decisions about whether to file for bankruptcy since the crisis began. For instance, increased government benefits and moratoriums on evictions and certain foreclosures may have eased financial pressures in many households.

Business and Non-Business Filings,
Years Ending
September 30, 2017-2021

Year Business Non-Business Total
2021 16,140 418,400 434,540
2020 22,391 590,170 612,561
2019 22,910 753,764 776,674
2018 22,103 751,272 773,375
2017 23,109 767,721 790,830
Total Bankruptcy Filings By Chapter,
Years Ending
September 30, 2017-2021

Year Chapter
  7 11 12 13
2021 310,597 5,622 344 117,784
2020 409,164 8,188 581 194,384
2019 478,838 7,320 583 289,802
2018 477,248 7,014 468 288,550
2017 486,542 7,052 508 296,599

The following bankruptcy filings statistics tables are available:

  • Business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Sept. 30, 2021 (Table F-2, 12-Month);
  • Twelve-month data for years ending September 2020 and September 2021 (Table F);
  • Filings by quarter, (Table F-2, 3 Month); and filings by month (Table F-2, July, August, and September);
  • Bankruptcy filings by county (Table F-5A).

For more on bankruptcy and its chapters, view the following resources:

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