Mississippi has lowest household income in the country

A Mississippian's income is significantly related to proceeding with and qualifying for bankruptcy. Individuals may find that in light of their financial challenges, which may be linked to their income, it would be wise to seek debt relief by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Once they decide to file for bankruptcy, a bankruptcy court then closely examines these individuals' income to ultimately determine whether bankruptcy is a viable option.

A bankruptcy court specifically compares an individual's income to the state's median household income in which he lives. The United States Census Bureau actually just recently released data regarding all of the states' median household incomes. Overall, the data reveals that there has been stabilization of household incomes. The household income did not fall in 2012 for the first time since 2007. This is in contrast to the early 2000s, when the median national household income fell by over six percent.

Although incomes are stabilizing, the financial situation in Mississippi is still feeling the impacts of the recession. Mississippi is one of the states that has experienced the largest decline in incomes: about 15 percent or about $43,000 in 2000 to about $37,000 in 2012. As a result of this drastic decrease, Mississippi's median household income is the lowest in the country.

For those considering filing for bankruptcy in Mississippi, these national comparisons largely are irrelevant during bankruptcy proceedings. To determine if an individual qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a judge determines if a filer's income is equal to or below the state median. If so, the individual qualifies and can seek debt relief with this legal tool. If not, the bankruptcy judge will consider another question: whether the filer has money left to pay creditors after paying for monthly expenses like food and rent. If not, the individual can still qualify.

Thus, while the data recently by the Census Bureau may be startling for Mississippians, it does not foreclose the possibility of debt relief and getting a fresh financial start within the bankruptcy courts in the state.

Source: The Washington Post, "Household incomes stabilize, but still below 2000 levels," Reid Wilson, Sept. 19, 2013

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