Individual consumer debt bankruptcy petitions declined in 2014, but for a significant number of people, this wasn’t the first time they’d filed for bankruptcy in the last eight years.
The bankruptcy statistics are included in a report required by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 to be submitted annually by the federal judiciary.
Among the data provided in the 2014 report:
- 883,930 consumer cases were filed in 2014 under Chapters 7, 11 and 13, down 12 percent from the 1,000,143 bankruptcy petitions filed by individuals in 2013.
- 34 percent of debtors filed under Chapter 13, up from 32 percent in 2013. Under Chapter 13, individuals make installment payments to creditors under court-confirmed plans.
- In 36 percent of the 301,103 Chapter 13 cases filed in 2014, debtors reported they had filed a bankruptcy petition during the previous 8 years.
- 73 percent of the assets reported by individual debtors were real property, and 27 percent personal property.
- Debtors categorized 93 percent of all debts and obligations as dischargeable debt.
- The median average monthly income of debtors was $2,616, a 2 percent decrease from 2013, while the median average expenses in 2014 also dropped 3 percent from 2013 to $2,600.
- A total of 351,960 Chapter 13 consumer cases filed on or after October 17, 2006, were closed by dismissal or plan completion in 2014. Of these cases, 173,322 were dismissed. Repayment plans were completed in another 178,369 of the cases or 51 percent, up from 45 percent in 2013.
- Failure to make plan payments was cited in 54 percent of dismissed cases as the reason for dismissal.