Free Consultation
The office is open as per the NYS Covid-19 guidelines. We are now doing both in-person and telephone consultations. Please call the office at 718-855-6840 to schedule a time to speak with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

How Many People File New York Bankruptcy Each Year?

I recently analyzed bankruptcy data to find out who chapter 7 New York bankruptcy debtors are. The dataset came from the federal courts’ 2016 BAPCPA Report, which contains information on people who file bankruptcy but owe mainly consumer debts. However, not all bankruptcy debtors are consumer debtors, so the post gave incomplete information on how many total bankruptcy cases are filed in the New York City area. To answer how many people file New York bankruptcy or Brooklyn bankruptcy—as well as which chapter they file in—we can look at data appearing in the Statistical Tables for the Federal Judiciary, also provided by the federal courts.

The following table shows the number of bankruptcy filings in 2016 by federal district and chapter. The Eastern District covers five counties: Richmond (Staten Island), Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk. The Southern District includes Bronx County and New County, plus a handful of others downstate. I’ve included calculations showing the percent of total filings by district.

Circuit and District Total Filings Total Chapter 7 Total Chapter 9 Total Chapter 11 Total Chapter 12 Total Chapter 13 Total Chapter 15
TOTAL 794,960 490,365 8 7,292 461 296,655 179
NY, E 12,122 8,704 0 215 1 3,202 0
NY, S 7,778 5,500 0 527 1 1,680 70
Percent of Total Filings by District
Circuit and District Total Filings Total Chapter 7 Total Chapter 9 Total Chapter 11 Total Chapter 12 Total Chapter 13 Total Chapter 15
TOTAL 100.0% 61.7% 0.0% 0.9% 0.1% 37.3% 0.0%
NY, E 100.0% 71.8% 0.0% 1.8% 0.0% 26.4% 0.0%
NY, S 100.0% 70.7% 0.0% 6.8% 0.0% 21.6% 0.9%

As I noted in the post relying on the BAPCPA Report data, New Yorkers are noticeably more likely to file in chapter 7 than the national average. Also of interest is that there were two chapter 12 filings, which protect farms. Proportionally more people file in chapter 13 in the Eastern District than the Southern District. Finally, the Southern District’s role as a business and financial hub is clear from the elevated number of chapter 11 and chapter 15 filings. In fact, in 2016, the Southern District accounted for 7 percent of all chapter 11 cases and 39 percent of all chapter 15 cases.

The next table separates debtors’ cases by the nature of the debtors’ obligations, again with a section showing the percentage of filings as a share of the total by chapter.

Circuit and District Total Filings Predominant Nature of Debt
Business Filings Nonbusiness Filings
Total Chapter 7 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Total Chapter 7 Chapter 11 Chapter 13
TOTAL 794,960 24,114 15,033 6,174 461 2,259 770,846 475,332 1,118 294,396
NY, E 12,122 496 313 182 1 0 11,626 8,391 33 3,202
NY, S 7,778 857 255 500 1 31 6,921 5,245 27 1,649
Percent of Total by Chapter
Circuit and District Total Filings Predominant Nature of Debt
Business Filings Nonbusiness Filings
Total Filings Total Chapter 7 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Total Chapter 7 Chapter 11 Chapter 13
TOTAL N/A 3.0% 3.1% 84.7% 100.0% 0.8% 97.0% 96.9% 15.3% 99.2%
NY, E N/A 4.1% 3.6% 84.7% 100.0% 0.0% 95.9% 96.4% 15.3% 100.0%
NY, S N/A 11.0% 4.6% 94.9% 100.0% 1.8% 89.0% 95.4% 5.1% 98.2%

It appears that overall, business bankruptcy in multiple chapters is slightly more common in the Eastern District—and much more common in the Southern District—than the national average. For the Southern District, this is true in every chapter. There were more chapter 7 business filings in the Eastern District than the Southern District, but these were offset by more chapter 11 and chapter 13 business cases in the Southern District.

In a table not worth presenting, Table F, I see that while bankruptcy filings fell by nearly 6 percent nationally, they rose in the Southern District by a fraction of a percent and by 5 percent in the Eastern District. This is a reverse in direction from the year before, and it appears filings are on the rise through 2017 as well.

The Statistical Tables for the Federal Judiciary can be found here. The Eastern District of New York maintains its own statistics here, but for some reason they differ from those presented here.

Naturally, the number of people who file bankruptcy doesn’t say whether anyone should file, but the information provided by the government shows how frequently debtors file in each chapter, as well as how common business bankruptcies are. It also tells us that bankruptcy filings are on the rise, which may be a bellwether of future economic troubles, at least in New York. If you are experiencing serious financial hardship, then talking to an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer can help you strategize your options.

For answers to more questions about bankruptcy, the automatic stay, effective strategies for dealing with foreclosure, and protecting your assets in bankruptcy please feel free to contact experienced Brooklyn bankruptcy attorney Bruce Weiner for a free initial consultation.

Rosenberg, Musso & Weiner, L.L.P
26 Court St # 2211
Brooklyn, NY 11242, USA

Recent Posts

Beware Grace Periods, Debtors

Too often, debtors see grace periods offered by lenders as free benefits. “Grace” makes it sound so innocent. However, debtors who routinely rely on grace periods when making payments will find themselves facing financial difficulties that might lead to bankruptcy. The reason is that although creditors offer grace periods to debtors, they also use them

Read More »

Bankruptcy May Not Rescue You From Vicious Personal Disputes

Bankruptcy is a technical process that assumes everyone working within it is mostly rational. To the extent that it expects parties to deviate from irrational behavior, the Bankruptcy Code and its accompanying rules include incentives to keep parties in line. Creditors are usually large and impersonal, and they rarely care if their debtors file bankruptcy.

Read More »

Non-Lawyers’ Explanations of Bankruptcy May Be Wrong

Do you have financial problems? Do you tend to ask your friends for advice? Is one of your friends an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer who will explain the process for you? Are your friends otherwise knowledgeable people? The answer to these questions may be, “Yes but you don’t know it.” Although many bankruptcy lawyers

Read More »

6 Steps to Take Before Filing Bankruptcy

Leaving your case to an experienced New York bankruptcy lawyer is not the only step on the to-do list before filing bankruptcy. There are many things debtors should do (and not do) before they file, and the more organized and mindful debtors are, the easier the process will be and the more effective the result.

Read More »

Social Security Number Not Necessary for Bankruptcy

A question that’s commonly asked about New York bankruptcy is whether a debtor needs a Social Security number to file. Debtors ask because they sometimes run across the bankruptcy form title, “Your Statement About Your Social Security Numbers” (B 121), which asks debtors to list their current and prior Social Security numbers. The new bankruptcy

Read More »

How Can a Debtor (or Creditor) Get a New Trustee?

The trustee in a New York bankruptcy case is usually not the debtor’s ally. His or her purpose is mainly to administer the bankruptcy estate or ensure the debtor’s repayment plan goes according to plan. Trustees pursue preference payments, fraudulent conveyances, and other malfeasance committed by debtors. They frequently initiate adversary proceedings against debtors. In

Read More »
Scroll to Top