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Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class by Katherine Porter

By Katherine Porter

About 1.5 million families filed financial ruin within the final yr, making financial disaster as universal as university commencement and divorce. The recession has driven a growing number of households into monetary collapse—with unemployment, declines in retirement wealth, and falling condo values destabilizing the yank center classification. Broke explores the results of this exceptional development in client debt and indicates how over the top borrowing undermines the prosperity of heart category America.

While the recession that begun in mid-2007 has widened the scope of the monetary soreness as a result of overindebtedness, the matter predated that large-scale fiscal meltdown. And by way of all symptoms, client debt might be a defining function of middle-class households for future years. The staples of middle-class life—going to school, paying for a home, beginning a small business—carry with them extra monetary hazard than ever prior to, requiring extra borrowing and new riskier sorts of borrowing. This ebook unearths the folks in the back of the data, having a look heavily at how humans get to the purpose of significant monetary misery, the hardships of facing overwhelming debt, and the trouble of righting one's monetary existence. In telling the tales of monetary mess ups, this publication exposes an all-too-real a part of middle-class lifestyles that's usually misplaced within the good fortune tales that dominate the yank financial narrative.

Authored through specialists in numerous disciplines, together with economics, legislations, political technological know-how, psychology, and sociology, Broke provides analyses from an unique, proprietary information set of unparalleled scope and aspect, the 2007 purchaser financial disaster undertaking. issues contain category prestige, domestic possession, academic attainment, affects of self-employment, gender variations, financial protection, and the emotional charges of financial ruin. The ebook makes really apt use of illustrations to give key findings and concludes with a dialogue of the results of the information for modern coverage debates.

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Additional info for Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class

Sample text

Population and people in bankruptcy. 1 percent, had lost their homes for financial reasons within the five years preceding their bankruptcy filings. There is no comparable number for how many families in the general population lost their homes during the five years before 2007. The foreclosure rates in those years remained less than 1 percent, suggesting a small effect, but there is no accurate measure of the number of short sales or other arrangements that occurred outside the formal legal system to end homeownership.

1 Families may also be financially constrained or distressed in ways that do not necessarily lead to or that are not remedied by filing for bankruptcy. 2 To examine the relationship between bankruptcy and other dimensions of household financial distress, this chapter draws on data from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project (CBP) of 2007 and the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). It contrasts the balance sheets of bankruptcy filers in the CBP with those of households in the SCF that might be considered financially vulnerable by other, nonbankruptcy measures, namely, families who (1) have been turned down for credit, (2) have high debt payments relative to income, (3) have fallen behind on debt payments, or (4) have limited assets to draw on when faced with an adverse financial event.

4 illustrates, in 2007, all workers in the United States and workers who filed for bankruptcy shared a similar occupational prestige score distribution. S. population by only a few points at each interval. S. S. population and people in bankruptcy, 2007 s o u r c e s : National Opinion Research Center, General Social Surveys, 1972–2006; Consumer Bankruptcy Project 2007. Bankrupt debtors are moderately concentrated in lower prestige jobs and are underrepresented at the upper end of the distribution in the higher prestige occupations, such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

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