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As Bankruptcy Filings Fall, the Percentage of Chapter 13s Rises

posted by Bob Lawless

Percentage 13sThe latest bankruptcy filing statistics from Epiq Systems have just been released. They show that U.S. bankruptcy filings in November were just over 3,700 per business day. That is a 15.0% decrease on a year-over-year basis from last November. With just one month left in the calendar year, it looks like 2013 will see a total of around 1,030,000 total bankruptcy filings, representing a 13.1% decline in bankruptcy filings as compared to 2012.

My posts on the bankruptcy filing rate inevitably lead to questions about the reasons for the decline. If you are new to the blog, you can find many old posts discussing the reasons for the decline on our bankruptcy data page. I will try to write more about the patterns and trends I see in the bankruptcy filing rate decline after the first of the year when the full year's worth of data is in. 

Until then, it seemed useful to note that the percentage of bankruptcy cases that are chapter 13s has been increasing ever since the bankruptcy filing rate started declining in 2011. In an earlier post, I noted that the decline in the filing rate seems to be less in judicial districts where chapter 13 rates are high. A similar dynamic appears to be present in the annual data. Chapter 7 filings seem to have greater variation than chapter 13 filings, although it is fair to say the effect is not of a huge magnitude. 


This rise in chapter 13 bankruptcy may mean that people somewhat prefer to get to keep their property instead of losing them.

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless ([email protected]) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.