Personal Bankruptcy Higher in Some Black Communities

Black communities in Cook County, Chicago, have a higher personal bankruptcy filing rate than white communities. It's even worse for women. A fascinating and extensive report published this month by the Woodstock Institute finds that in the period studied, 2006 to 2010, the rate of personal bankruptcies filed in predominantly African American communities was 5.2% versus 1.8% in predominantly white communities. Of further interest is that the rate for Chapter 13, or reorganization bankruptcies, was much higher for black communities, 32.8% of personal bankruptcies, than the 24% in white communities. Further, the personal bankruptcy rate for women overall was higher – 2.6% versus 2% for men; the rate for African American women was 5.1%, with the rate for white women at 1.2%. The overall increase in personal bankruptcies in Cook County was over 139% in those years. The study is a must read for folks who find these numbers concerning. For example, because of the Chapter 13 numbers, the researchers wonder if black debtors are getting worse advice. Why reorganize if you can discharge? They further fear that when creditors know these facts, and surely they do before the studies come out, they will undertake predatory lending there.

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