Total bankruptcy filings during calendar year 2018 decreased 2% from 2017, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute from data provided by Epiq Systems.

Total filings fell from 766,761 in 2017 to 755,182 filings during calendar year 2018. Total consumer filings also decreased to 717,360 nationwide for 2018, 2% less than the 728,299 total filings during 2017.

The 37,822 total commercial filings during 2018 also slipped 2% from the commercial filing total of 38,462 during 2017. The commercial chapter 11 filing total of 5,470 during 2018 represented a 5% drop from the 5,762 commercial chapter 11 filings in 2017. During the current federal government shutdown, courts remain open to those needing to file for bankruptcy.

“Total filings fell for the ninth consecutive year as high filing costs continue to weigh on struggling businesses and families,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano. “As the recommendations of ABI’s Chapter 11 Commission aim to remove barriers to filing for distressed businesses, we look forward to the final report in the spring by ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy to improve the bankruptcy system for financially strained consumers.”

ABI’s Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy is preparing to release its final report of recommendations at ABI’s 2019 Annual Spring Meeting in April.

Monthly commercial chapter 11 filings dropped sharply year-over-year. The 453 commercial chapter 11 filings in December 2018 were a 36% decrease over the 703 filings in December 2017. The 2,893 total commercial filings in December 2018 represented a 6% decrease from the 3,072 total commercial filings during the same period in 2017. Total bankruptcy filings for the month of December dropped 1% to 52,020 from the 52,545 filings in December 2017. The 49,127 total noncommercial filings for December also represented a 1% decrease from the December 2017 noncommercial filing total of 49,473.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy filing rate for 2018 decreased slightly to 2.43 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 2.47 rate during 2017. States with the highest per capita filing rate through 2018 were:

  1. Alabama (5.63)
  2. Tennessee (5.38)
  3. Georgia (4.57)
  4. Mississippi (4.25)
  5. Illinois (3.66)