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2012 Report Shows More Repeat Bankruptcy Filers

During calendar year 2012, 1.1 million bankruptcy petitions were filed by individuals with primarily consumer debt. Filers had a median average monthly income of $2,743, most filed under chapter 7, and for more debtors in 2012 this was not the first time they had filed for bankruptcy.

These and other statistics on individuals filing for bankruptcy in 2012 under chapters 7, 11, and 13 are found in the annual report (pdf) required by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005 and now available online.

Among the data collected:​

  • Approximately 69 percent of consumer bankruptcy petitions filed in 2012 were filed under chapter 7, down from 70 percent in 2011. 
  • In 30 percent of the chapter 13 cases filed during 2012, debtors reported that they had filed for bankruptcy protection during the previous eight years, 2 percent more than in 2011.
  • Consumer debtors seeing bankruptcy protection reported holding total assets in the aggregate amount of $140 billion. Total assets reported fell 18 percent over the comparable 2011 numbers. Aggregated liabilities totaled $218 billion, falling 22 percent over comparable data for 2011.
  • Median average monthly income reported by all debtors was $2,743, one percent lower than in 2011. Filers in the Northern District of California had the highest median average monthly income at $3,673.
  • Median average monthly expenses were $2,769. Filers in the U.S. Virgin Islands had the highest median average expenses with $4,715.

Information available in the BAPCPA Report includes data on all three chapters for debtors' assets, liabilities, income, and expenses; median time intervals from case filing to disposition; creditor misconduct; attorney sanctions; prior filing status, property valuation orders, cases closed by plan dismissal or completion for chapter 13 cases; and statistics on reaffirmation agreements in chapter 7 cases.

  • Many BAPCPA tables, particularly those reporting data on debtors’ assets, liabilities, income and expenses, rely on data provided by debtors when they submit required forms, schedules, motions, agreements, and other filings. Most of these data are not validated either by the courts or the Administrative Office.  

Related Topics: Bankruptcy Filings, Statistics