Debt Barometer 1st Half of 2010

During the first half-year 2010, the number of private insolvencies is at a high level in Germany with 69,417 cases according to the Bürgel Debt Barometer. In comparison with the same period of the previous year (1st half-year 2009: 61,517) 12.84 percent more persons had to file for private insolvency. “The current development is threatening to exceed the record year 2007 that registered 137,000 cases,“ Dr. Norbert Sellin, Managing Director of the financial information company Bürgel warms. Accordingly the Hamburg company reckons with 140,000 private insolvencies in its overall forecast for the year 2010.

The greatest number of private insolvencies as seen in absolute figures was registered by the most densely populated federal state, North Rhine-Westphalia with 14,999 cases. On the other hand the relative values are more meaningful as they also take the population figures into consideration: according to these in particular the northern federal states are more severely affected – especially Bremen with 167 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population. Whereas the federal average lies at 85 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population, Lower Saxony with 115 private bankruptcies per 100,000 head of population and Schleswig-Holstein (114) are the main losers. In contrast to this, Bavaria (63 per 100,000 head of population), Baden-Wurttemberg and Thuringia (each with 68) get away with comparatively moderate values.

Private Insolvencies in Germany

All federal states are affected by an increase in the number of private insolvencies, seven of these even with a two-figure increase. The case figures rose most drastically in Thuringia (plus 48.98 percent), North Rhine-Westphalia (plus 25.97 percent) and Berlin (plus 21.65 percent). The increase rate was weakest in Saxony (plus 2.87 percent), Saxony-Anhalt (plus 3.12 percent) and the Saarland (plus 3.24 percent).

Percentaged Changes in Private Insolvencies

58.94 percent of all private insolvencies during the first half-year 2010 affected men. This “male” trend can be commonly found in almost all age-groups. Only with the 18- to 25-year-old German citizens is the female share stronger with 53.41 percent. On the other hand the group of 36- to 45-year-olds show the lowest female proportion with 38.4 percent.

In the youngest age-group of 18- to 25-year-olds the number of insolvency cases during the first half-year 2010 in comparison with the reference period of the previous year rose by 47.89 percent. Here the 26- to 35-year-olds also record a two-figure plus of 18.47 percent. The only decline in figures was with the over-sixties. Here the case figures fell by 3.32 percent. 

Reasons for private insolvencies are usually unemployment, changes in the family situation (separation or divorce) and inappropriate consumer behaviour in relation to the income. In addition also illnesses, accidents, addiction, and even failures with property financing or self-employment as well as permanently low incomes lead the way into the debt trap. According to Bürgel private indebtedness particularly affects younger people who are less experienced in financial matters and who usually have lower financial flexibility. The current trend is an increase in the number of private bankruptcies: “The overall outlook for the year 2010 continues to be negative,” Sellin sums up.


CRIF Bürgel GmbH
– Branch Head Office –
Leopoldstraße 244
Fax:  +49 40 89803-777/778