Neither a college education nor high-paying job is enough to protect consumers against filing for personal bankruptcy according to the 2010 Annual Consumer Bankruptcy Demographics Report by the Institute for Financial Literacy, a national nonprofit financial education and counseling organization based.
“The Great Recession has had a dramatic impact on the bankruptcy filings of American consumers across the economic spectrum, including college-educated, high-income earners,” said Leslie E. Linfield, executive director and founder of the Institute for Financial Literacy. “While less-educated, low-income individuals continue to represent the typical bankruptcy filer, this report underscores a sophisticated evolution of the profile of the American debtor that now extends to disparate age, income and ethnic groups.”
Key findings include:
College education doesn't appear to ward off bankruptcy as the rate of degree holders filing bankruptcy increased by 20%;
Bankruptcy filers earning incomes above $60,000 increased their rate of filing by more than 66%;
Asian American filings have doubled while Hispanic/Latino filings increased by more than one-third;
Americans age 34 and younger decreased the rate of filing bankruptcy by more than 30% since 2006;
Americans who are married represent more than 60% of all filings; and
The primary reasons for financial distress include overextension on credit, unexpected expenses, illness/injury, and divorce.
Check out this week’s Research Roundup:
• Census Bureau releases 2010 American Community Survey single year estimates
• Clashes of money and values: A survey of admissions directors
• Mathematica examines federal support for working-age people with disabilities
• Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010
• Fact sheet: Living within our means and investing in the future—the President’s plan for economic growth and deficit reduction
• Comparing compensation: State-local versus private sector workers
• September 2011—MetroMonitor: Tracking economic recession and recovery in America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas
• In U.S., significantly fewer 18- to 25-year-olds uninsured
• In U.S., 6 in 10 do not expect economy to improve soon
• Gallup finds U.S. underemployment stuck at 18.5% in mid-Sept
• Mass layoffs—August 2011
Check back for weekly Research Roundups.
LORA KLOTH is a research librarian in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department.