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The latest personal insolvency statistics reveal that more women entered insolvency in England and Wales than men in 2018, following a pattern that has been in place for several years.
Figures released by the Insolvency Service show that 54.3% of insolvencies involved a woman last year, up from 53.9% in 2017 and just 30% in 2000.
The statistics also reveal a stark geographical disparity in the concentration of personal insolvencies.
Along with seaside towns like Torbay and Blackpool, the North East had the highest concentration of personal insolvencies, while Stoke-on-Trent was once again the local authority with the highest personal insolvency rate.
The rate of personal insolvency among women has been higher than the men’s rate since 2013. Last year, 26.6 women per 10,000 entered insolvency compared with 23.3 per 10,000 men.
But this headline figure disguises more significant disparities based on an individual’s age and location.
Women aged 25-34 living in the North East of England, for example, are more than 23 times more likely to enter insolvency than women aged 65 and over living in the East of England.
Among men, the highest rate of personal insolvency is those aged between 35 and 44 who live in the North East at 58.5 per 10,000. The lowest rate, meanwhile, is men aged over 65 in the West Midlands. At 4.5 per 10,000, this group is more than 13 times less likely to enter insolvency.
Breaking personal insolvencies down by type, we can see that more women were involved in Debt Relief Orders (65%) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (54%), while more men were involved in Bankruptcies (62%), which is a more serious type of insolvency.
Mark Sands, Chair of R3’s Personal Insolvency Committee, said: “The gender split in insolvency is a sober reminder that women are more likely to be economically disadvantaged than men; they are more likely to work part-time, or in generally lower paid sectors.
“Women are also more prone to becoming insolvent following the breakdown of a relationship than men, as the Insolvency Service found several years ago when it looked into the reasons why people became bankrupt. Being a single parent also correlates strongly with financial hardship, and women make up the great majority of single parents.”
Speaking about the regional differences in personal insolvency numbers, he added: “The historical retreat of the industrial sector caused decades of hardship in many places, as well-paying jobs disappeared which were replaced, at best, by more precarious and worse-paid employment.
“Coastal areas often have higher rates of personal insolvency than inland areas. As places which often depend on an influx of tourists in the summer months for income, they are dependent on the consumer pound, which has been in shorter supply of late.”
Tom Fox, Licensed Insolvency Practitioner at Umbrella Insolvency said: “Most of us would expect to see differences in the concentration of insolvencies, but I think the scale of the location, age and gender-based disparities will shock some people.
“While most of the disparity can be explained through the lens of historical or structural forces, individuals always have a choice when it comes to seeking help and taking control of their financial future.”
For more information about Umbrella Insolvency’s range of personal insolvency solutions, speak to a member of the team today. Call: 0800 611 8888.