There is no perfect correlation between the economy and bankruptcy filings.

An economic downturn can result in job loss – and therefore an uptick in bankruptcy filings. But it is also true that an improving economy can cause people to take on more debt. And with increased debt can come more problems with making those payments – and therefore the need for debt relief through bankruptcy.

In short, it is hard to infer too much about the economy by the fact that bankruptcy filings were down about 12 percent nationally last year. It is clear, however, that bankruptcy remains a common choice for many people who are seeking debt relief.

In this post, we will take a look at the numbers for Milwaukee County.

Nationally, as noted on the U.S. Courts website, the total number of bankruptcy filings in 2013 was 1,071,932. This was down from 1,221,091 in 2012.

In Milwaukee County, there were a total of 8,548 bankruptcy filings in 2013. This included both business bankruptcy and personal bankruptcy.

The most common type of bankruptcy filing was by far Chapter 7. Out of more than 8,548 total filings, more than 5,700 of them were for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

There were also many Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. The total there for 2013 was 2,834.

The reasons why people file for bankruptcy of course vary considerably from person to person and business to business. But even this brief glance at the numbers shows that it is a commonly chosen form of debt relief.

In other words, there is no shame in filing bankruptcy. This is something to consider as you consider your own options for resolving debt.

Source: USCourts.gov, “Report F-5A, U.S. Bankruptcy Courts,” Accessed March 24, 2014