Skip to content

Elizabeth Warren, Financial Collapse and Class Status: Who Goes Bankrupt?, 41 Osgoode Hall L.J. 115 (2003).

Abstract: Every policy prescription, economic analysis, or news report about consumer bankruptcy rests on one or another unspoken image of the estimated 1.6 million families that will file in a single year. Data from the 2001 Consumer Bankruptcy Project permit a systematic analysis of the composition of those who file for personal bankruptcy, focusing on their educations, occupations and home ownership status. These attributes serve as a proxy for class identification. Based on these indicia, more than 90 percent of the families in bankruptcy qualify as middle class. These data are a powerful reminder that whatever else might be said about those in bankruptcy, these people are not some sub-group of Americans safely distanced from the middle class, but instead are co-workers, neighbors and families woven throughout the fabric of American society.