According to this news release from Administrative Office of thre U. S. Courts, 2003 saw the highest number of bankruptcy filings than any previous calendar year. A total of 35,037 businesses and 1,625,208 non-business entities (individuals) have filed for bankruptcy in the past year. The non=business filings increased 5.6% since 2002 while business filings declined 9.1%.
Among all the filings, around two thirds chose Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a bit less than a third chose Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The rest chose either Chapter 11 or Chapter 12. (Backgrounder: "Chapter 7 is designed to allow individuals to keep certain exempt property while the remaining property is sold to repay creditors. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, creditors may be repaid in installments, in full or in part, over a 3- to 5-year period. Chapter 11 provides for a business to continue operations while formulating a plan to repay its creditors. Chapter 12 is designed to meet the needs of financially distressed
The news release also included more details as of quarterly filing numbers and breakout by bankruptcy court, state and filing type.
The nation apparently needs more bankruptcy judges. As a matter of fact, "[i]n calendar year 1993, filings per judgeship totaled 2,685. By 2003, filings per judgeship had increased 90.8 percent to 5,124."