July 5, 2022

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Bankruptcy Filings Drop 24 Percent

Bankruptcy filings fell again for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2021. A steady decline in filings has continued since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Annual bankruptcy filings in calendar year 2021 totaled 413,616, compared with 544,463 cases in 2020, according to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That is a decrease of 24.0 percent.

Business filings fell 33.7 percent, from 21,655 to 14,347 in the year ending Dec. 31, 2021. Non-business bankruptcy filings fell 23.6 percent, to 399,269 compared with 522,808 in the previous year.

Unemployment temporarily spiked in March 2020, when the COVID-19 emergency intensified. However, several factors may have impacted individuals’ decisions about whether to file for bankruptcy since the crisis began. For instance, increased government benefits and moratoriums on evictions and certain foreclosures may have eased financial pressures in many households.

The following tables are available:

  • Business and non-business bankruptcy filings for the 12-month period ending Dec. 31, 2021 (Table F-2, 12-month);
  • Bankruptcy data for the twelve-month periods ending in December 2020 and in December 2021 (Table F);
  • Fourth quarter filings, (Table F-2, 3-month); and filings by month (Table F-2, October, November, and December)
  • Bankruptcy filings by county (Report F-5A).
Business and Non-Business Filings,
Years Ending
December 31, 2017-2021

Year Business Non-Business Total
2021 14,347 399,269 413,616
2020 21,655 522,808 544,463
2019 22,780 752,160 774,940
2018 22,232 751,186 773,418
2017 23,157 765,863 789,020
Total Bankruptcy Filings By Chapter,
Years Ending
December 31, 2017-2021

Year Chapter
  7 11 12 13
2021 288,327 4,836 276 120,002
2020 378,953 8,333 560 156,377
2019 480,206 7,020 599 286,979
2018 475,575 7,095 498 290,146
2017 486,347 7,442 501 294,637

For more on bankruptcy and its chapters, view the following resources: