Bankruptcy Filings for 2015 Lowest Since 2007

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By Diane Davis

Feb. 4 — Bankruptcy filings during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2015, dropped 9.9 percent, according to new statistics released Feb. 4 by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (AOUSC).

The AOUSC's statistics reveal that 844,495 cases were filed in federal bankruptcy courts during the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2015, down from the 936,795 bankruptcy cases filed in calendar year 2014.

This is the lowest number of bankruptcy filings for any 12-month period since 2007, and the fifth consecutive calendar year that filings have fallen, the AOUSC said.

Business vs. Non-Business

Both business and non-business bankruptcies have continued to decline steadily.

During the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2015, the total number of business filings was 24,735, down from 26,983 in the previous year.

The total number of non-business filings was 819,760, down from 909,812 in the previous year

Breakdown by Chapter

Bankruptcy filings by chapter of the Bankruptcy Code decreased for Chapter 7 filings, in which a debtor's nonexempt assets are liquidated and the proceeds are distributed to creditors, and Chapter 13 filings, which allow individuals receiving regular income to obtain debt relief while retaining their property by proposing a plan that uses future income to repay a portion of their debts over a three to five year period.

Bankruptcy filings increased for Chapter 11 filings, which is for businesses or individuals whose debts exceed the statutory thresholds for Chapter 13, and Chapter 12 filings, which is for family farmers or fishermen.

The number of bankruptcies filed by Bankruptcy Code chapter ending Dec. 31, 2015, are as follows:

  •   Chapter 7 (consumer liquidations) filings totaled 535,047, down from 619,069 the previous year.
  •   Chapter 11 (reorganizations) filings totaled 7,241, slightly up from 7,234 the precious year.
  •   Chapter 12 (family farmers or fishermen bankruptcies) filings totaled 407, an increase from 361 the previous year.
  •   Chapter 13 (consumer reorganizations) filings totaled 301,705, down from 310,061 the previous year.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Diane Davis in Washington at

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jay Horowitz at

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