Annual Bankruptcy Filings Fall 29.7 Percent
Updated 3/5/2021: Due to technical changes, the total bankruptcy filings by chapter table was updated.
Bankruptcy filings fell sharply for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2020, despite a significant surge in unemployment related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Annual bankruptcy filings in calendar year 2020 totaled 544,463, compared with 774,940 cases in 2019, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That is a decrease of 29.7 percent.
Only one category saw an increase in filings. Chapter 11 reorganizations rose 18.7 percent, from 7,020 in 2019 to 8,333 in 2020. Of those, 7,786 involved business reorganizations.
The number of total filings was the lowest since 1986, when 530,438 bankruptcies were filed. Filings fell sharply in the early months of the pandemic, starting in March 2020, when many courts offered limited access to the public. In addition, bankruptcy filings can lag behind other economic indicators. Following the Great Recession, which began in 2007, new filings escalated until they peaked in 2010.
The following tables are available:
- Business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Dec.31, 2020 (Table F-2, 12-month);
- Bankruptcy data for the twelve-month periods ending in December 2019 and in December 2020 (Table F);
- Fourth quarter filings, (Table F-2, 3-month); and filings by month (Table F-2, October, November, and December)
- Bankruptcy filings by county (Report F-5A).
For more on bankruptcy and its chapters, view the following resources:
- Historic caseload statistics data tables
- Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure
- General information about bankruptcy, including Bankruptcy Basics