Florida saw a dramatic increase in bankruptcy filings during the last fiscal year. Florida’s Middle District was reported to have the second highest levels of bankruptcy filings in the nation between October 2009 and September 2010. California’s Eastern District, which includes Los Angeles, reported the highest volume of filings. So how do each district’s numbers compare to the other? Let’s take a look:
- Florida’s Middle District had a total of 66,861 filings
- California’s Eastern District had a total of 138,858 filings
Although there is a significant difference in bankruptcy filings between the two districts, when considering 2009 U.S. Census population estimates, the numbers work out to mean that one person files for bankruptcy out of every 100 in each district. These filings include Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, but the majority of individuals have opted to file under Chapter 7.
As we have discussed in previous posts, many people are turning to bankruptcy because of the harsh economy. People have been laid off and have lost their jobs. Real estate values and retirement funds have plummeted. All of these economic conditions put a financial strain on one’s budget, and soon bills become unmanageable. One bankruptcy attorney explained, “People feel wealthy when they have equity in their home. When that equity evaporated, people said they’d never pay off their credit cards. That shock was what caused a lot of people to [file bankruptcy].”
Although many individuals may be embarrassed by the fact that they are considering bankruptcy, the truth is, people don’t care as much as they used to. Ever since the economic downturn in 2007, individuals have struggled with debt across the nation and have taken advantage of the benefits bankruptcy can provide. People have a different attitude towards bankruptcy, and they understand that filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 may be the best solution to creating a fresh start.
The Florida Times-Union: “First Coast No. 2 in country for filing bankruptcy,” Kevin Turner, 12 Jan. 2011