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Bankruptcy Statistics

The current recession is considered by many to be the worst economic period in the United States since the Great Depression. Even as the economy begins to turn around, unemployment remains high. Families all over the country are facing debts that they cannot pay off. Despite laws making it increasingly difficult to file for bankruptcy, more and more families are making the tough decision to file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. There has been a significant increase in businesses and corporations filing for Chapter 11 protection as well.

Filing for bankruptcy is a way to eliminate or significantly reduce debt for those who can no longer make payments. It can be difficult and it comes with great penalties. Someone who has filed for bankruptcy may struggle to get a new job, get a loan and to reestablish credit. Despite all the complications that may come from filing for bankruptcy, statistics show that there has been a large increase in filing for bankruptcy. An experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney can guide debtors through the necessary steps that should help them get back on their feet.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts compiles quarterly reports to document the rate of bankruptcy filings. According to this report, the largest increase in bankruptcy filings comes from businesses. Business bankruptcies have shot up 54 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year. As companies struggle they are forced to let go of their workers. The trend seems to be the more people that lose jobs, the greater the number that may have to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 filings have risen 43 percent. All non-business related filings have also increased by 31 percent in 2009 compared to the previous year.

There has been an overall increase in monthly bankruptcy filings for years now. In January of 2008 there were 70,300 bankruptcy filings. Compare that to the 89,000 in January of 2009 and the 102,600 filings in 2010. In 2008, there was a total of 1,096,100 total bankruptcy filings. In 2009, that number increased 31 percent to 1,434,600. The trend continues in 2010.

Every month in 2010 thus far has seen a significant increase in filings over the same month the year before. In 2009, there were about 102,000 filings in February. In February of 2010, there were 117,800 filings. Also, in March 2009, there were 131,000 while in March 2010, there were 158,000 bankruptcy filings.

The average age of debtors filing for bankruptcy is 38. About 44 percent of all filers are couples while 26 percent are single men and 30 percent are single women. About two out of every three filers have recently lost their job. Many people file for bankruptcy when they have built up credit card debt and then lose their job. Credit cards help create debt by offering credit to people who may not have a means to pay off their debt. Spending money you do not have can lead to insurmountable debt. Others may be living within their means but without health insurance when they become ill or injured. Medical bills can add up fast making bankruptcy seem like the only way out of debt.

Experienced bankruptcy attorneys can review your financial situation and help determine if bankruptcy is the best solution for you. The New Jersey bankruptcy process is complicated and is best navigated with the help of an experienced lawyer. You have a lot at stake when you are filing for bankruptcy. It is critical that you retain the services of a skilled New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer to help protect your financial interests and explain the process every step of the way.