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U.S. Bankruptcy Filings Increased by 9% in 2010, By More Than 10% in Oregon

Jan. 28, 2011

It’s not a great idea to decide to make a major decision in life because “everyone’s doing it.” But that may be a good reason to look more closely at what “everyone” is doing and then decide whether doing it makes sense for you. This is true even about something as personal as filing bankruptcy.

In 2010, more than 1.5 million bankruptcies were filed in the U.S. That’s 9% more than in 2009. That means about 1 in every 150 people filed a bankruptcy last year.

Oregon saw an even higher increase: about 10.2% more people filed bankruptcy in 2010 than in the previous year.

Of the states with the highest increases from the previous year, ALL of the top 6 were in western states, including whopping increases of nearly 30% in Hawaii, and close to 25% in California, Utah and Arizona.

The nationwide increase of 9% is significantly lower than the 30% annual increases for each of the previous three years. But it still means that the total number of people filing bankruptcy is continuing to climb, although at a slower pace.

The decision whether or not to file a bankruptcy is an intensely personal choice. It’s personal in two different ways:

  • Just as every human being is different, everybody’s financial situation is a little different. Deciding whether to take a step as filing bankruptcy involves looking at your entire financial picture, and at your goals, and deciding the best way to reach your goals in your unique situation.

  • Bankruptcy is personal because it is inevitably tied into feelings and ego. These include feelings of fear, disappointment, exhaustion; as well as those of relief, hopefulness, and appreciation.

You may well be up against many of the same forces that are encouraging or forcing so many of your neighbors to file bankruptcy. If you are dealing with those same forces, the wise thing to do is to find out all your options, so that you can make an informed and empowered choice.