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2014 Report Shows Fewer Debtors Filing for Bankruptcy, But More Repeat Filers

Bankruptcy petitions filed by individuals with consumer debt were down in 2014 when compared with 2013; more individuals filed for bankruptcy protection under plans that included installment payments to creditors; and for more individuals, this wasn’t the first time they’d filed for bankruptcy in the last 8 years.

These bankruptcy statistics are included in a report required by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) to be submitted annually by the federal Judiciary. The reports cover certain bankruptcy statistics regarding debtors with primarily consumer debts seeking relief under Chapters 7, 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Among the data provided in the 2014 report:

  • 883,930 consumer cases were filed in 2014 under chapters 7, 11 and 13, down 12 percent from the 1,000,143 million bankruptcy petitions filed by individuals in calendar year 2013.
  • 34 percent of debtors filed under chapter 13, up from 32 percent in 2013. Under chapter 13, individuals make installment payments to creditors under court-confirmed plans.
  • In 36 percent of the 301,103 chapter 13 cases filed in 2014, debtors reported they had filed a bankruptcy petition during the previous 8 years.
  • 73 percent of the assets reported by individual debtors  were real property, and 27 percent personal property.
  • Overall, debtors categorized 93 percent of debts and obligations as dischargeable debt.
  • The median average monthly income of debtors was $2,616, a 2 percent decrease from 2013, while the median average expenses in 2014 also dropped 3 percent from 2013 to $2,600.
  • A total of 351,960 chapter 13 consumer cases filed on or after October 17, 2006 were closed by dismissal or plan completion in 2014. Of these cases, 173,322 were dismissed. Repayment plans were completed in another 178,369 of the cases or 51 percent, up from 45 percent in 2013.
  • Nationwide, failure to make plan payments was cited in 54 percent of dismissed cases as the reason for dismissal.

The data for many of the tables in the 2014 BAPCPA Report are provided by debtors when they submit forms, schedules, motions agreements and other filings to the court and are not validated by the courts or the AO. Debtors may inaccurately report assets, liabilities, income, or expenses at the time of filing. Caution should be used when analyzing columns of data or comparing any column of data to the number of cases filed. 

Related Topics: Bankruptcy Courts, Bankruptcy Filings, Statistics