Debt Barometer, 1st Quarter 2013

Compared with the corresponding period in 2012, private insolvencies in Germany rose by 1.7 percent during the 1st quarter of 2013. Altogether, 33,315 Germans had to file for insolvency during the first three months of the year. These are the latest figures from the “Debt Barometer, 1st Quarter 2013” published by the financial information agency Bürgel.
“We already observed an increasing number of private insolvencies during the 4th quarter of 2012. This trend is currently continuing,” said Bürgel's executive manager, Dr. Norbert Sellin, commenting on the current results. In 2012, the number of overindebted individuals rose to just under 6.7 million Germans. “This development indicates that the number of consumer insolvencies will increase again in 2013,” Dr. Sellin warned. For 2013, Bürgel assumes that the number of private insolvencies will increase slightly up to 133,000 cases.

Private Insolvencies in GermanyPercentaged change in Private Insolvencies

In the 1st quarter of 2013, the highest number of private insolvencies was filed in North Rhine-Westphalia. The state with the highest population reported 7,790 consumer insolvencies for the period of investigation. However, the absolute figures for insolvencies in Lower Saxony (4,322), Bavaria (3,890) and Baden-Württemberg (3,476) are also high when compared with the rest of Germany. A more differentiated picture emerges if the relative values of the analysis are taken as a basis, i.e. private insolvencies per 100,000 inhabitants per state. The relative figures show that the population in northern Germany is affected more strongly by private insolvencies than citizens in southern Germany. There is a pronounced north-south divide: in the 1st quarter of 2013, the highest number of consumer insolvencies per 100,000 inhabitants was filed in Bremen (72 cases). This is followed by Lower Saxony (55 private insolvencies per 100,000 inhabitants), Schleswig-Holstein (54) and Hamburg (52). During the first three months, the national average was 41 insolvencies per 100,000 inhabitants. The lowest number of private insolvencies were filed in Thuringia (31) and Bavaria (31).
The highest increase during the analysis period was in North Rhine-Westphalia with a plus of 6.8 percent to 7,790 cases. This means that the result from the most heavily populated state had a significant influence on the rising number of cases throughout Germany.
Furthermore, the number of insolvencies rose in three further states: in Saxony-Anhalt (plus 4.2 percent), Baden-Württemberg (plus 3.5 percent) and Bavaria (plus 2.9 percent) there were more private insolvencies than in the 1st quarter of 2012. The strongest decline was in Hamburg: minus 2.9 percent.
The trend noted during the past few years, namely that more men than women have to file for private insolvency, also continued during the 1st quarter of 2013. 56.7 percent of all insolvencies were filed by men. This dominance can be seen throughout almost all age groups. The imbalance is especially strong in the 51- to 60-year-old debtor age group; men account for 59.8 percent. The only exception is the 18- to 20-year-olds: during the period of investigation, 54.9 percent of those who went bankrupt were women.
The main reasons for private insolvency continue to be unemployment, permanently low income, failed self-employment, failed real estate financing, separation and divorce as well as illness. Furthermore, a lack of experience in handling finances and dealing with banks and inappropriate consumer behaviour contribute heavily to the fact that many Germans continue to be affected by insolvency. They do not always have to be highly in debt in order to become bankrupt. In particular, private persons are in debt to credit institutions, mail-order companies, insurances, public institutions, landlords, public utilities and telephone companies.


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