These debtor profile charts accompany the Consumer Bankruptcy 1997 Bankruptcy Petition Study, prepared by VISA in July 1997.
Chapter 7 Debtor Profile | Chapter 13 Debtor Profile | California Time Series Comparison


Debtor Profile
Chapter 7

Category

California
Illinois
Massachusetts
Tennessee

Monthly Income

$1,732

$1,519

$1,823

$1,379

Monthly Expenses

$1,939

$1,593

$2,031

$1,496






Net Income (Current Year Projected)

$32,117

$18,908

$23,020

$17,355

Net Income (Prior Year)

$45,770

$23,451

$29,506

$20,137






% with Decreased Income

65.9%

72.4%

70.1%

64.1%

% with Increased Income

33.8%

26.3%

28.8%

35.3%






% Property Holders

18.6%

17.8%

37.8%

24.1%

% Joint Filers

32.2%

25.2%

34.3%

37.1%

% with Bankcards

81.7%

64.6%

85.7%

49.2%






Employment Status





% Employed

89.5%

94.5%

89.3%

89.7%

% Self-employed

4.0%

2.1%

8.7%

5.5%

% Unemployed

6.5%

3.4%

3.0%

4.8%






Asset Categories (Average Amount)





Real Property

$175,191

$71,619

$133,348

$53,995

Personal Property

$8,909

$5,499

$9,130

$6,919

Exempt Property

$15,826

$5,867

$11,294

$4,796






Debt Categories (Average Amount)





Secured Debt

$59,695

$31,908

$128,303

$31,200

Unsecured Priority Debt

$8,788

$8,396

$10,821

$7,408

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

$18,240

$15,180

$40,903

$17,719

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

$12,545

$10,139

$12,716

$6,822






Debt Categories (% of Category)





Secured Debt

55.7%

45.6%

58.9%

51.7%

Unsecured Priority Debt

2.6%

3.0%

2.5%

2.7%

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

26.5%

35.8%

30.3%

38.3%

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

15.2%

15.6%

8.3%

7.3%






Housing as a % of Income

48.5%

36.3%

49.0%

29.8%

Housing as a % of Expenses

38.6%

32.4%

36.9%

25.8%






% with Medical Debt

34.6%

55.5%

40.2%

70.0%

% with Medical Debt over $2,500

9.9%

23.7%

9.6%

27.5%






% with Suits/Judgements

13.7%

26.7%

7.4%

19.5%

% with Suits/Judgements over $2,500

8.8%

8.2%

4.0%

3.3%






% Filing Pro-Se

44.5%

0.2%

4.9%

0.1%

% with Prior Bankruptcy Filing

3.2%

4.2%

1.9%

19.1%

% with Tax Refund

3.7%

13.4%

9.7%

40.8%

Average Tax Refund

$816

$1,181

$1,729

$1,069

Length of Employment (Debtor)

4.76 years

5.90 years

6.16 years

3.72 years

Length of Employment (Spouse)

4.41 years

6.44 years

5.22 years

3.54 years

% with Student Loan/Tax Priority Claims

26.1%

15.7%

32.8%

19.2%

Average Attorney/Legal Service Fee

$605

$705

$742

$439




Debtor Profile
Chapter 13

Category

California
Massachusetts
Tennessee

Monthly Income

$2,818

$3,049

$1,539

Monthly Expenses

$2,251

$2,569

$1,140





Net Income (Current Year Projected)

$36,543

$36,009

$19,210

Net Income (Prior Year)

$33,667

$37,705

$21,822





% with Decreased Income

42.8%

56.6%

62.3%

% with Increased Income

54.8%

42.6%

37.2%





% Property Holders

63.6%

88.6%

29.7%

% Joint Filers

36.4%

43.6%

36.9%

% with Bankcards

46.7%

54.3%

31.8%





Employment Status




% Employed

91.8%

80.7%

92.8%

% Self-employed

7.5%

17.9%

6.6%

% Unemployed

0.7%

1.4%

0.6%





Asset Categories (Average Amount)




Real Property

$186,045

$150,704

$51,432

Personal Property

$10,918

$9,964

$7,638

Exempt Property

$42,908

$19,073

$5,399





Debt Categories (Average Amount)




Secured Debt

$110,564

$137,953

$27,224

Unsecured Priority Debt

$5,465

$11,203

$2,043

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

$10,532

$14,663

$7,648

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

$10,087

$12,856

$4,258





Debt Categories (% of Category)




Secured Debt

86.5%

83.6%

70.9%

Unsecured Priority Debt

2.5%

4.1%

3.0%

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

6.9%

7.7%

22.0%

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

4.2%

4.6%

4.1%





Housing as a % of Income

43.7%

43.5%

25.0%

Housing as a % of Expenses

51.5%

49.4%

30.4%





% with Medical Debt

23.4%

25.0%

65.4%

% with Medical Debt over $2,500

5.7%

7.9%

16.9%





% with Suits/Judgements

8.0%

7.9%

17.9%

% with Suits/Judgements over $2,500

4.9%

5.1%

2.6%





% Filing Pro-Se

22.5%

7.9%

0.0%

% with Prior Bankruptcy Filing

23.9%

12.1%

28.0%

% with Tax Refund

1.0%

2.9%

45.5%

Average Tax Refund

$1,151

$7,135

$974

Length of Employment (Debtor)

5.95 years

6.64 years

4.67 years

Length of Employment (Spouse)

4.87 years

4.31 years

4.02 years

% with Student Loan/Tax Priority Claims

38.7%

55.0%

51.4%

Average Attorney/Legal Service Fee

$1,423

$1,042

$876




Debtor Profile
California Time Series Comparison

Category

1988

1992

1996

Monthly Income

$1,687

$1,732

$1,865

Monthly Expenses

$1,823

$1,939

$2,094





Net Income (Current Year Projected)

$20,225

$32,117

$25,668

Net Income (Prior Year)

$25,553

$45,770

$31,426





% with Decreased Income

69.5%

65.9%

65.5%

% with Increased Income

29.7%

33.8%

33.7%





% Property Holders

24.6%

18.6%

32.9%

% Joint Filers

40.2%

32.2%

34.2%

% with Bankcards

100.0%*

81.7%

84.1%





Employment Status




% Employed

94.0%

89.5%

87.1%

% Self-employed

4.7%

4.0%

7.0%

% Unemployed

1.3%

6.5%

5.9%





Asset Categories (Average Amount)




Real Property

$95,382

$175,191

$155,056

Personal Property

$9,210

$8,909

$12,528

Exempt Property

$12,493

$15,826

$17,609





Debt Categories (Average Amount)




Secured Debt

$40,810

$59,695

$94,890

Unsecured Priority Debt

$5,370

$8,788

$7,659

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

$21,682

$18,240

$22,875

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

$9,258

$12,545

$17,589





Debt Categories (% of Category)




Secured Debt

49.6%

55.7%

61.3%

Unsecured Priority Debt

1.9%

2.6%

1.6%

Unsecured Debt (Non-Bankcard)

33.8%

26.5%

22.3%

Unsecured Debt (Bankcard)

14.7%

15.2%

14.8%





Housing as a % of Income

38.9%

48.5%

45.6%

Housing as a % of Expenses

35.1%

38.6%

35.5%





% with Medical Debt

38.2%

34.6%

28.2%

% with Medical Debt over $2,500

8.9%

9.9%

9.4%





% with Suits/Judgements

N/A

13.7%

11.5%

% with Suits/Judgements over $2,500

N/A

8.8%

8.9%





% Filing Pro-Se

N/A

44.5%

41.5%

% with Prior Bankruptcy Filing

7.6%

3.2%

2.7%

% with Tax Refund

8.5%

3.7%

2.4%

Average Tax Refund

$1,306

$816

$2,204

Length of Employment (Debtor)

N/A

4.8 years

6.5 years

Length of Employment (Spouse)

N/A

4.4 years

6.3 years

% with Student Loan/Tax Priority Claims

N/A

26.1%

22.6%

Average Attorney/Legal Service Fee

$598

$605

$624