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Report on Consumer Bankruptcies Comparing 2014 and 2013 Data

Sharon Edmondson, Washington Legislative Team Member | July 23, 2015

Bankruptcy petitions filed by individuals with consumer debt are down 12 percent when compared to filings in 2013, and there are more repeat filers, according to an annual report released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The report unveiled July 21 also found that 34 percent of debtors filed under Chapter 13, up from 32 percent in 2013.

According to the report, 883,930 consumer bankruptcy cases were filed in 2014, down 12 percent from the 1,000,143 bankruptcy petitions filed in 2013. Approximately 66 percent of the petitions, down from 68 percent in 2013, were filed under Chapter 7, the report said.

Only Chapter 13 cases filed in 2014 were up by 2 percent from 2013, the report indicated. In 36 percent of the 301,103 Chapter 13 cases filed in 2014, debtors reported that they had filed a bankruptcy petition during the previous eight years. One-tenth of one percent of petitions filed by individuals with consumer debt was filed under Chapter 11.

Assets and Liabilities

Consumer debtors seeking bankruptcy protection under Chapters 7, 11 or 13 during 2014 reported holding total assets in the aggregate amount of $87 billion, and total liabilities in the aggregate amount of $140 billion. The total assets fell 21 percent below the 2013 amount, and the total liabilities fell 18 percent below comparable data for 2013, the report said.

Income and Expenses

The median average monthly income of debtors was $2,616, which is 2 percent lower than in 2013.

The median average reported monthly expenses were $2,600, 3 percent lower than in 2013.

Time Intervals

A total of 351,960 Chapter 13 consumer cases filed on or after Oct. 17, 2006, were closed by dismissal or plan completion in 2014, the report said. Of these cases, 173,322 cases were dismissed.

The only cautionary note about the data is that many of the tables in the report are provided by debtors when they submit forms, schedules, motions, agreements and other filings to the court and because they are not validated by the AOUSC, they may be inaccurate.

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