Filing for bankruptcy is just like any other phenomenon in American culture. The trends are often surprising, and they can teach us a little bit about the risks for financial distress and how to prevent it.

The middle class represents the vast majority of those who file, based on a 2007 study. The 2011 statistics paint a much more vivid picture and might be able to shed some light on current bankruptcy trends in the U.S.

Filings Since 2010

According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCA), things are looking up when it comes to consumer debt. 2011 saw an 11% drop in filings from 2010, with 1.3 million individuals seeking relief from unmanageable debt.

2011 also featured over 53,577 cases of completion under Chapter 13. And for every one of the cases, there’s another individual or business that has emerged from bankruptcy and is currently rebuilding his/her/their credit. It’s an encouraging thought, especially for those who consider bankruptcy to be a worst-case scenario.

It’s possible, with the help of attorneys and consumer protection laws, to work your way out from under crushing debt. Over 50,000 Americans have done it, and there’s no reason why there can’t be more.

Filings By State

While trends bankruptcy rates roughly follow consumer spending and credit card debt, they also reflect the population level in any given state. Curious to know how many cases have been reported in your state? Check out this chart detailing statistics from 2011.

If nothing else, charts and statistics can make our clients feel a little less alone when it comes to struggling with debt. Thousands of businesses and individuals find themselves in precarious financial situations every year. There are options and protections in place to help pull you out of these circumstances.

An attorney can help you navigate through the legal issues and keep you informed of your rights.