Bankruptcy Trends 1986-2011

There are 4 types of bankruptcy filings; Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 represents about 90% of all bankruptcy filings. This is the personal bankruptcy filing. This chart was produced to study any associative patterns with bankruptcy in conjunction with population and recession periods to see if there was any insight into what might come about in the future.

Does the number of bankruptcy filings follow consistently with the growth in population in the united states? It would appear so. However, if we look closer, the percentage of filings compared to population would suggest that it is increasing. In 1986 there was approximately 1.9 people out of every 1,000 filing for bankruptcy. In 2011 there was 5 people out of every 1,000. In 2006 where we had the highest number of filings to date it was like 6 out of every 1,000.

The population overlay shows a steady growth in population by roughly 3.5 million per year. However there was a sharp increase in the U.S. population between 1999 and 2000. According to this was because of a change in Census Bureau estimates between 1999 and 2000 and had a lot to do with trying to include immigrants.

There may be other factors to think about. Perhaps the increased use of credit cards is contributing to the overall percentage of people filing for bankruptcy.

Another striking effect on this graph is the sudden drop in bankruptcy filings between 2006 and 2007. According to this is when many of the provisions of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) took effect