Whether it's the result of unexpected expenses or overextended credit, American women are declaring bankruptcy at a higher rate than men, according to the Institute for Financial Literacy, a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit group.
In a recent survey, more than half of 36,000 consumers seeking pre-bankruptcy credit counseling were women, while just 47 percent were men. Respondents were also asked about age, race, employment status, education level and other factors.
Based on those results, the average American bankruptcy filer is Caucasian, earns no more than $30,000 a year, has at least a high school education, and is currently employed.
"Compared to their representation in the total population, women filed bankruptcy at a disproportionately higher rate than men last year," Leslie Linfield, the group's executive director, said in a statement. "This continues a trend we've seen since 2005," she said.
The primary reasons cited for declaring bankruptcy included overextended credit, unexpected expenses, reduction of income or job loss, and illness or injury.