Fewer Bankruptcy Filings in Fiscal Year 2012

Fewer bankruptcy cases were filed during fiscal year 2012 than in the previous year, according to information from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. For the 12-month period ending September 30, 2012, a total of 1,261,140 bankruptcy cases were filed in U.S. courts, down 14 percent from the 1,467,221 bankruptcy cases filed in FY 2011. The total number of bankruptcy case filings includes business and non-business bankruptcy cases, but does not distinguish cases of married couple joint filings.

Business bankruptcy cases fell 16 percent, from 49,895 total business cases filed in FY 2011, to 42,008 in FY 2012. Business bankruptcy cases are those where the debtor is a corporation or partnership, or the debt is predominantly related to the operation and may include Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 filings  Non-business bankruptcy cases totaled 1,219,132, down 14 percent from the 1,417,326 non-business bankruptcy filings in September 2011.

In FY 2012, filings fell for all bankruptcy chapters:

  • Chapter 7 filings in FY 2012 totaled 874,337, down 16 percent from the 1,036,950 Chapter 7 filings in FY 2011.
  • Chapter 13 filings fell 10 percent, from 417,503 in FY 2011 to 375,521 in FY 2012.
  • Chapter 11 filings fell to 10,597, down 12 percent from the 11,979 Chapter 11 filings reported in FY 2011.
  • Chapter 12 filings fell to 541, down 20 percent from the 676 Chapter 12 filings in FY 2011.


Chapters 7 and 13 are reserved for individual, consumer bankruptcy cases. Chapter 11 is the business chapter of the bankruptcy code. Corporations and qualifying individuals are able to file under Chapter 11. Chapter 12 is reserved for family farmers or family fishermen with a regular annual income.

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