Tennessee has surpassed Nevada for a dubious distinction: It has taken over as the state where people are most likely to file for bankruptcy.
It's not that things have gotten worse in Tennessee -- they haven't. But the pace of bankruptcy filing in Nevada has slowed dramatically. In 2010, with Nevada's housing market still in free fall, it had 11.4 filings for bankruptcy per every 1,000 residents, according to bankruptcy filing data provided by Epiq Systems Inc. for the first quarter of 2012. That number dropped to nine by the end of 2011. As of the end of March 2012, Nevada is down to only seven people filing for bankruptcy per 1,000 residents.
Unfortunately for Tennessee -- even though its rate also has dropped to 7.19 filings per capita in 2012 from 8 filings per capita in 2010 -- its rate stayed high enough to reclaim the No. 1 spot.
The state-by-state data reflects the national trend toward fewer bankruptcy filings. Only four of the 50 states showed increases in per capita bankruptcies: Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan. Delaware's increase was the only substantial one, and it was enough to jump the state from No. 19 on the list to No. 10.
At the other end of the scale, Arizona and Idaho were just behind Nevada in how much their bankruptcy rates fell.
In terms of the actual volume of bankruptcies, California leads the pack with a total of 50,726 filings in the first quarter of 2012. Alaska had both the lowest number of filings -- 222 -- and the lowest per capita rating.
How did your state rank in likelihood to file for bankruptcy? This table shows the ranks of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., with most likely to file at the top.
See related: Bankruptcy filings continue to fall in 2012's first quarter