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Revealed: the most common reasons for bankruptcy

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

People living beyond their means and relationship breakdowns are the two main reasons people file for bankruptcy, according to data.

Figures from The Insolvency Service show there was a total of 48,880 bankruptcy applications made in England and Wales between April 2014 and March 2018.

There were 25,690 court-based petitions, and 23,190 made online via the government site – the Office of the Adjudicator.

Looking at the reasons behind the bankruptcy orders, 8,280 were due to living beyond their means, 7,270 cited a relationship breakdown and 5,720 blamed a reduced income.

Loss of employment was a reason given by 4,970 applicants, illness and accident was cited by 4,590, and the failure of a new venture was behind 1,390.

Total secured and unsecured debt figures showed that more people owed between £20,001 and £30,000 than any other debt bracket (10,570 applicants). However, 3,410 people were made bankrupt as they owed over £250,000.

Based on age, 20 people aged between 16 and 20 applied for bankruptcy, while 1,060 in the over 70s age bracket made a bankruptcy order. The largest number of bankruptcies were made by those aged 36-50.

By gender, 22,170 women were made bankrupt, split between 11,870 court-based applications and 10,300 via the government website. The number of males made bankrupt stood at a higher 27,620, including 13,730 court-based applications and 12,880 via the Office of the Adjudicator.

Related: See YourMoney.com’s guide on bankruptcy and Over 55s facing bankruptcy won’t need to hand over undrawn pension funds for more information.