The growth in bankruptices slowed significantly last year from its breakneck pace of recent years, with about a dozen states recording a decline in filings from consumer and businesses.
Kansas posted a 2% increase in filings for bankruptcy in 2010, ranking 35th among the 50 states.
Filings collected from the nations's 90 bankruptcy districts show 113,000 bankruptcies in December. That's down 3% nationwide from the same month a year ago. That followed a similar year-over-year decline for October. It had been four years since an individual month showed such an improvement.
The nation recorded 1.55 filings in 2010, an increase of 8% from 2009 and a far slower growth rate than the 32% jump the year before. There was 33% increase the year before that.
Many people who need relief from their debts have already gone through the bankruptcy process, says John Newton, partner at the law firm Mayer and Newton in Knoxville, Tennessee.
"I think we've sort of turned the corner."
Numbers indicate stark regional differences. Thirteen states showed an annual decline, mainly in the South, with West Virginia leading the way posting a 10% drop in cases. The West indicates ongoing growth in its filings, with numbers rising in Hawaii (22%), Utah (19%), Callifornia (also 19% higher), and Arizona (18%).