Debt Barometer 1st Quarter 2010

Rising consumer insolvency figures in 15 of the 16 federal states: with 34,710 cases, private bankruptcies are on the increase during the first quarter 2010. In comparison with the same period of the previous year they have risen by just under 14 percent. This was the result of the current survey carried out by the financial information agency Bürgel. This Hamburg company has corrected its annual forecast upwards from 137,000 to 140,000 private bankruptcy declarations. Should this development materialise, in figures it would even outstrip the record year 2007. In particular young citizens of the Federal Republic are affected by private insolvencies. In the age-group of 18- to 25-year-olds alone, the figures soar up by 72 percent during the survey period.

In a comparison of the absolute figures of the federal states, North Rhine-Westphalia comes off worst during the first quarter with 7,395 private bankruptcies. Regarded in figures, every fifth bankruptcy declaration (21 percent) throughout the Federal Republic is submitted there. Meanwhile, in a comparison of relative figures (83 insolvencies per 100,000 head of population) Bremen is the high flyer. However, Bürgel also verifies high values for Lower Saxony (58 insolvencies per 100,000 head of population), the Saarland (55), Schleswig-Holstein (54) and Hamburg (52). The federal average lies around 42 private insolvencies per 100,000 head of population. The best results are in Bavaria and Thuringia (with 32 cases per 100,000 head of population), followed by Baden-Wurttemberg (34).

Private Insolvencies in Germany

The strongest growth in private bankruptcies during the first quarter 2010 in comparison with the reference period of the previous year is recorded in Thuringia: plus 46.54 percent. Also Berlin (plus 27.34 percent), North Rhine-Westphalia (plus 26.04 percent), the Saarland (plus 23,85 percent) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (plus 20.65 percent) have increased their number of private insolvencies by more than a fifth. The only decline in any one federal state: in Schleswig-Holstein the figures have decreased by just below three percent to 1,525 cases.

Percentaged Changes in Private Insolvencies

During the first quarter 59 percent of all private insolvencies, 20,497 cases in all, fall upon men. Only in the youngest group of 18- to 25-year-olds is the female gender in the lead with a share of just below 53 percent. Bürgel’s statistics show the greatest gap between the sexes in the group of 36- 45-year-olds. Here, the male share amounts to 62 percent.

In the younger age-group of 18- to 25-year-olds the share of private bankrupts rises by 72 percent to 2,235 cases. Even more dramatic (plus 84.27 percent) is the rise within the male sector: here the figure rises to 1,054 cases. Also the age-group of 26- to 36-year-olds is grappling with just below 22 percent more private insolvencies during the survey period.

Altogether the uneven distribution of private debts is especially connected with an unfavourable ratio of expenses to income in the case of younger people. Here, investments in homes and starting families and partly also high consumer demands have to be covered by comparatively low earnings. In addition, in particular the younger citizens have less financial reserves available to counteract payment bottlenecks. “In view of the current figures, the outlook for 2010 is negative,” Bürgel managing director, Dr. Norbert Sellin, sums up.

Economic insecurity, rising figures of low-income earners, and unemployment at a high level as well as increasing over-indebtedness have caused Bürgel to adjust its annual forecast upwards to as many as 140,000 private insolvencies.


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