Total bankruptcy filings in the United States decreased 16% in the first calendar quarter (January 1 – March 31) of 2013 from the same period in 2012, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute citing data provided by Epiq Systems. Bankruptcy filings totaled 263,516 in the first quarter of 2013, down from the 314,832 filings registered in the first calendar quarter of 2012.

Total commercial filings for the first three months of 2013 were 11,521, representing a 27% decrease from the 15,869 filings during the same period in 2012. The 251,995 total noncommercial filings recorded in the first calendar quarter of 2013 represented a 16% decrease from the 2012 total of 298,963.

“Bankruptcy filings continue to fall due to persistent low interest rates, reduced consumer spending and sustained deleveraging by businesses and households,” said ABI executive director Samuel J. Gerdano. “We expect that the 2013 bankruptcy totals will be lower than last year as companies and families remain committed to cutting costs and shoring up their balance sheets.”

For March, the 102,627 total filings were up 25% from the 82,304 filings in February 2013, but down 16% from the 122,238 filings in March 2012. The 98,553 total noncommercial filings in March 2013 represented a 25% increase over the February 2013 total of 78,603, but a 15% drop from the 116,537 noncommercial filings in March 2012. Total commercial filings in March 2013 increased 10% to 4,074 over the 3,701 filings in February 2013, but were 29% less than the 5,701 commercial filings in March 2012.

The average nationwide per capita bankruptcy-filing rate for the first three months of 2013 increased to 3.40 (total filings per 1,000 per population) from the 3.11 filing rate of the first two months of the year. Both totals are still below the 3.83 per capita filing rate of 2012 (Jan. 1- Dec. 31). States with the highest per capita filing rate (total filings per 1,000 population) for the first quarter of 2013 were:

1. Tennessee (6.70)

2. Georgia (5.77)

3. Alabama (5.71)

4. Illinois (5.35)

5. Nevada (5.03)