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State bankruptcy rankings, 2010: Nevada holds its sad crown

By CreditCards.com staff

When it comes to filing for bankruptcies, Nevadans continued in 2010 to have the dubious honor of being way out in front of the residents of any other state.

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Of every 1,000 Nevada residents, 11.1 filed for bankruptcy, according to the figures from Epic Systems Inc.

Total personal bankruptcy filings in the United States reached 1.53 million in 2010, an increase of 8 percent over 2009. That means just more than 5 out of every 1,000 Americans filed in the year.

About 7 of every 10 personal bankruptcies filed in 2010 were (Chapter 7 filings, under which debts are discharged; the remainder were Chapter 13) filings, in which a court-supervised repayment plan is created.

States change rankings
Tennessee and Georgia continued to flip-flop for second place and third place among the most bankruptcy-prone states. Georgia took back second place, with 7.92 filings per 1,000 residents in 2010. 

Alaska continued to hold its place as the state whose citizens are least likely to file, at a rate of 1.6 filings per 1,000 people. That means someone from Nevada is about seven times more likely to file for bankruptcy than someone from Alaska.

Overall, bankruptcies continue to climb back toward the record 2.1 million recorded in 2005. In October of that year alone, more than 630,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy, rushing to avoid the effects of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, which made it harder for individuals to erase debt.

"The steady climb of consumer filings, notwithstanding the 2005 bankruptcy law restrictions demonstrate that families continue to turn to bankruptcy as a result of high debt burdens and stagnant income growth, said Samuel J. Gerdano, executive director of the insolvency research group American Bankruptcy Institute, in a prepared statement. "We expect that consumer filings will continue to rise in 2011."

How did your state's residents rank in likelihood to file for bankruptcy? This table ranks the 50 states and the District of Columbia, with most likely to file at the top.

State (Click the state name for details)
2010 end-of-year rank Filings per 1,000 residents
2009 end-of-year rank
Nevada 1 11.1 1
Georgia 2 7.92 2
Tennessee 3
7.89 3
Alabama 4 7.2 6
Indiana 5 7.1 5
California 6 6.9 4
Michigan 7 6.7 12
Colorado 8 6.5 9
Utah 9 6.45 11
Arizona 10 6.3 13
Illinois 11 6.25 7
Ohio 12 6.0 15
Florida 13 5.95 16
Kentucky 14 5.6 8
Arkansas 15 5.58 19
Missouri 16 5.4 10
Idaho 17 5.33 22
Wisconsin 18 5.3 17
Oregon 19 5.17 21
Rhode Island 20 5.15 25
Maryland 21 5.1 18
Washington 22 5.0 23
Delaware 23 4.8 14
Mississippi 24 4.72 20
Virginia 25 4.68 24
New Jersey 26 4.6 29
Nebraska 27 4.3 27
Minnesota 28 4.2 28
New Hampshire 29
4.16 30
Louisiana 30
4.1 26
Oklahoma 31
3.93 32
Kansas 32
3.92 31
Massachusetts 33 3.5 35
West Virginia 34 3.3 33
Connecticut 35 3.24 36
New Mexico 36 3.22 40
Iowa 37 3.2 34
Maine 38 3.11 41
Pennsylvania 39 3.06 45
Hawaii 40 3.06 37
Montana 41 3.0 42
New York 42 2.85 39
North Carolina 43 2.8 44
Wyoming 44 2.79 43
Vermont 45 2.6 38
North Dakota 46 2.5 47
South Dakota 47 2.4 46
Texas 48 2.3 48
District of Columbia 49 2.1 50
South Carolina 50 2.0 49
Alaska 51 1.6 51
Source: Epic Systems Inc.

See related: Bankruptcy filings, state by state, 2005-2010, 5 tips for those considering bankruptcy, 4 ways to re-establish credit after bankruptcy, 5 misconceptions after credit after bankruptcy

Published: January 12, 2011


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