Bankruptcy Filings Increasing – Part 2 of 2

This is a continuation of The Institute for Financial Literacy’s Annual Consumer Bankruptcy Demographics Report for 2010. Part 1 of this blog covered income, education and cause of financial distress.  Part 2 covers the remaining areas: gender, age, employment and marital status.

Additional Key Findings

The largest increases from responders in the last five years were those in older age groups, self employed, and married.

Gender – There wasn’t much change in the gender breakdown since 2006, with a slight increase in males filing in 2010. The distribution was 48 percent male and 52 percent female.

Age – The proportion of the 2010 responders by age group was as follows:  18 to 24 years of age 1.33% (696), 25 to 34 years of age 15.44% (8,099), 35 to 44 years of age 27.54% (14,441), 45 to 54 years of age 28.45% (14,923), 55 to 64 years of age 18.12% (9,504), and 65 years of age or older 9.12% (4,782).  The 45 to 54 age group was the largest; this was a shift from the 35 to 44 age group, which was the largest in the previous five years. The 55 to 64 age group increased the most at 29.4 percent over the five years; the proportions were 14 percent in 2006 and 18.12 percent in 2010.  In the past five years, the combined increase of the “55 to 64” and “65 and above” age groups was 25 percent.  In comparison, the combined decrease of the combined 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups was 31 percent.

Employment – The distribution of responders in 2010 by employment status was:  employed 58.51% (30,632), unemployed 16.02% (8,386), retired 9.78% (5,121), self-employed 10.74% (5,623), homemakers 3.98% (2,082), and students 0.98% (511).  Over the five years, the self-employed had the highest increase of 29.4 percent; the proportions were 8.3 percent in 2006 and 10.74 percent in 2010.  The unemployed increased by 21.4 percent; the proportions were 13.2 percent in 2006 and 16.02 percent in 2010. Those employed responders decreased by 8 percent in the same time frame; the proportion was 63.6 percent in 2006 and 58.51 percent in 2010. The employed was the largest group and represented 58.55 of the responders in 2010.  The biggest shift in the numbers occurred in 2009 and 2010.

Marital Status – The breakdown of responders in 2010 by marital status was as follows:  married 64.10% (33,646), single 17.09% (8,968), divorced 14.66% (7,692), widowed 3.25% (1,708) and cohabitating 0.91% (475).  Those married increased by 12.1 percent from 2006 to 2010, and were 57.2 percent and 64.1 percent respectively.  The other categories decreased.

Even though the greatest increases were in those that were older, self employed and married; they weren’t always the majority of those filing. The largest groups were female, 45 to 54 years of age, employed and married. These trends indicate that the economic conditions have had an impact on those that usually don’t file for bankruptcy.

Credit Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at, the credit blogger for, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.

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