Published: March 10, 2022
Bankruptcy statistics show that major crises often affect the financial situations of individuals, businesses, and whole countries. Since the world is currently facing one in the shape of a pandemic, it’s essential to estimate its effect on the world.
So, let’s look at figures relating to different industries, countries, etc.
Top 10 Bankruptcy Stats
- Bankruptcy reflects on your credit score report for 7-10 years .
- The largest bankruptcy filing in the US occurred in 2008.
- As many as 4,866 bankruptcy filings were recorded in California in 2021.
- The US corporate bankruptcy rates went down in 2021.
- Medical expenses are one of the top causes of bankruptcy in the US.
- Corporate bankruptcies are expected to stay low in 2022.
- Sweden saw a rise in bankruptcy rates in 2020.
- The Netherlands recorded historically low bankruptcy levels in 2020.
- Corporate bankruptcies are expected to stay low in 2022.
- Government aid helped businesses stay afloat during COVID.
U.S. Bankruptcies Statistics
Let’s take a look at the most compelling US bankruptcy statistics and find out about the latest figures, how bankruptcy trends changed over the years, the largest bankruptcies ever recorded, and more.
1. Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7–10 years.
Bankruptcy has a negative effect on your credit score, but its impact decreases over time, and it’s possible to build your credit back up over time. In the meantime, you should practice good credit habits like paying your debts on time and paying all your bills on time.
2. The largest US bankruptcy filing occurred in 2008.
According to bankruptcy filing statistics, the largest US bankruptcy filing (as of 2019) was filed by Lehman Brothers, a global financial services firm, on September 15, 2008. The company’s assets were worth $691 billion at the time of the bankruptcy filing.
3. The highest number of Chapter 7 bankruptcies in the past two decades was filed in 2010.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies in the US peaked in 2010 when a staggering 1,139,601 such bankruptcies were filed. Chapter 7 bankruptcy entails liquidating the debtor’s assets to repay as much debt as possible.
4. Only 378,953 Chapter 7 bankruptcies were filed in the US in 2020.
When comparing the number of bankruptcies in 2020 vs those in 2019, it becomes clear that the number of filings has significantly dropped. Namely, the US citizens filed 483,988 Chapter 7 bankruptcies in 2019.
5. The year 2005 was the year with the highest number of personal bankruptcies in the US in the past two decades.
A staggering 2,039,214 non-business bankruptcies were filed in 2005. The number decreased approximately four-fold 15 years later, and the number of personal bankruptcies in 2020 decreased to 522,808.
6. The number of Chapter 13 filings in the US dropped in 2020.
There were 127,036 fewer Chapter 13 bankruptcies in 2020, as the number of filings dropped from 283,413 in 2019 to 156,377 in 2020.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy entails changing the terms of a loan so that the debt can be repaid over a longer period.
7. According to state bankruptcy statistics, 10 states had 70% fewer bankruptcy filings in 2020 than in 2010.
(Source: American Bankruptcy Institute)
They include Washington, California, Alaska, Nevada, Colorado, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine. Only three states (Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina) decreased bankruptcy filings by under 50% in this period.
Corporate US Bankruptcy Trends
Now that we have gotten familiar with the general situation relating to bankruptcy in the US let’s dive into business-related statistics and see how well (or not) the US businesses have been operating .
If you’re curious about the most recent bankruptcy statistics, such as the number of corporate bankruptcies by year and similar details, this is the place to be.
8. The highest number of business bankruptcies in the past two decades was recorded in 2009.
A whopping 60,837 business bankruptcy filings were recorded in the US in that period, which can probably be, at least partly, attributed to the 2008 financial crisis. On the other hand, the lowest number of business bankruptcy filings was recorded in 2006 (19,695).
9. There were 21,655 business-related U.S. bankruptcies in 2020.
This was a slight improvement compared to 2019 figures (when 22,780 business bankruptcies were filed).
10. The largest number of Chapter 11 business bankruptcies in the US was filed in 2009.
There were as many as 13,683 filings in 2009. Since then, the number of filings has been steadily dropping until 2014 (when it reached 6,093). From 2014 to 2020, the figures remained consistent (around 6,000), reaching 6,375 in 2020.
11. It’s possible to get a business loan after bankruptcy.
(Source: Small Business Trends)
Getting a small business loan after filing for bankruptcy might require some serious strategizing and lots of effort, but it isn’t impossible.
12. Texas recorded the highest number of Chapter 11 business bankruptcies between June 2020 and June 2021.
A staggering 1,572 Chapter 11 business bankruptcies were filed in Texas in this period. Delaware closely followed with 1,241 filings. On the other hand, Vermont recorded the lowest number of Chapter 11 business bankruptcy filings (only two).
13. The US corporate bankruptcy rates went down in 2021.
After exploding in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, where many businesses have closed, the number of commercial bankruptcy filings started lowering in 2021, dropping to record lows.
Amounting to only 18,511, June 2021 figures for Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcies were the lowest since 1985 and represented a decrease of 17.7% compared to the previous year.
14. Corporate bankruptcies are expected to stay low in 2022.
(Source: SP Global)
The federal stimulus checks and private credit are helping many companies stay afloat and weather the COVID storm. Therefore, experts predict that corporate bankruptcies will stay low at least by the end of 2022 or even 2023.
Health and Bankruptcy
Unfortunately, medical crises can have a terrible impact on one’s financial situation, avalanching to bankruptcy.
Let’s dive deeper into the details and find out how many people file for bankruptcy due to health problems, the average age of a medical debtor, and much more!
15. Medical expenses are the number 1 cause of bankruptcy in the US.
According to a 2019 study, high medical expenses and time lost from work were a cause of a staggering 66.5% of bankruptcies in the US.
16. 50% of Americans had medical debt in 2021.
The number of people with medical debt increased in recent times, from 46% in 2020 to 50% in 2021, likely due to the pandemic. In 2021, 57% of Americans owed at least $1,000 in medical debt due to diagnostic tests, ER visits, and hospitalizations.
17. In 2020, the fear of bankruptcy caused by a major health crisis increased among US citizens aged 18–39.
Since high medical bills often cause bankruptcy (according to statistics), this fear is justified. The same survey revealed that 55% of respondents aged 18–29 and 55% of respondents aged 30–49 feared that a major health crisis in their household could lead to bankruptcy in 2020.
The figures were significantly lower in 2019 (when as many as 43% of respondents aged 18–29 and 46% of respondents aged 39–49 stated they had similar fears).
18. 34% of Americans have $1,000–$5,000 of medical debt.
A survey showed that 20% owe under $500 in medical bills, while 23% owe $500–$1,000. Around 12% owe $5,000–$10,000, and only 1% owe a staggering $150,000 or more.
19. The average medical debt is highest in the South.
(Source: JAMA Network)
According to 2020 statistics, 23.8% of people in the South had medical debt (mean stock of medical debt amounting to $616).
On the other hand, the Northeast was the area with the lowest amount of medical debt, with only 10.8% holding medical debt, with a mean stock of $167.
Global Facts About Bankruptcy
In this section, you can read all about the bankruptcy trends around the world and find out how the pandemic affected bankruptcy rates in different countries.
So, let’s dive in!
20. Bankruptcy statistics show that 1,690 Belgians lost their jobs due to bankruptcy in January 2022.
This is a relatively low number, especially taking into consideration that the highest number of job losses in the past two decades in Belgium due to this reason was 4,128 (recorded in October 2012).
The lowest amount of job loss due to bankruptcy was recorded in May 2020 (when only 604 Belgians lost jobs for this reason).
21. Sweden saw a rise in bankruptcy rates in 2020.
An increase in the number of bankruptcies in 2020 was evident in a wide range of industries. The trade-in motor vehicles had the biggest increase in bankruptcy filings in June (an 86% increase), while the “deadliest” month for restaurants and hotels was April, with a 141% increase.
22. The Swiss filed 928 fewer bankruptcies in 2020 than in 2019.
(Source: Trading Economics)
Switzerland’s number of bankruptcy filings dropped from 13,840 in 2019 to 12,912 in 2020. Despite this decrease, Switzerland is still a leading European country in terms of the number of bankruptcy filings.
23. The number of bankruptcy filings in Switzerland peaked in 2018.
(Source: Trading Economics)
According to bankruptcy statistics, Switzerland recorded a whopping 13,971 bankruptcies in that period, which was the highest recorded number since 2012.
24. March was the worst month for Hong Kong companies in 2021.
(Source: Trading Economics)
A whopping 18,709 business bankruptcy filings were recorded in that period. By the end of the year, the number of business bankruptcies decreased, falling to 11,089 in December 2021.
25. The Netherlands recorded historically low bankruptcy levels in 2020.
While bankruptcy trends started rising amid the pandemic in most of the world, including the EU, the Netherlands’ rates gradually lowered. The number of bankruptcies started gradually dropping in Q2 2020, from 65.4 recorded in that period to 31.4 in Q1 2021.
26. Government aid helped businesses stay afloat during COVID, avoiding a financial crisis like the one in 2009.
Europe’s bankruptcies didn’t jump as high as was expected during the COVID crisis. Government aid and government loans are partly to thank for the lowered number of bankruptcies.
However, experts warn that current bankruptcy stats and the low number of corporate insolvencies isn’t necessarily a sign of corporate health.
Suffering such financial losses that bankruptcy is the only way out can be terrifying. However, filing for bankruptcy doesn’t have to mean it’s the end of the world or your career as an entrepreneur.
Hopefully, these stats showed you how common bankruptcies actually are all around the world and that recovery from such a financial crash is, indeed, possible.
What is the #1 reason for bankruptcies?
According to research, medical expenses were the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US, accounting for 66.5% of all bankruptcies. Other prevalent reasons for bankruptcy include job loss, poor or excess use of credit, divorce or separation, and unexpected expenses.
What percentage of bankruptcies are discharged?
(Source: United States Courts)
Generally (not taking dismissed or converted bankruptcy cases into account), 99% of individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy debtors get a debt discharge. This means they legally no longer owe the money.
What could be driving the number of personal bankruptcy filings downward?
There are many factors that can decrease bankruptcy rates. In recent times, amid the pandemic, they included introducing federal stimulus and low interest rates to keep businesses afloat, according to bankruptcy statistics.