Bankruptcy petitions for small businesses declined in the fourth quarter of last year across many regions of the country.

A study of bankruptcy trends among 24 million small businesses by credit information provider Equifax found, however, that while bankruptcy rates have decelerated in many U.S. regions, small business economic turmoil in California remained high throughout 2010 and accounted for nearly 20 percent of the country's business failures.

While high bankruptcy rates continue to put pressure on geographies across the country, 10 of the top 15 areas with the greatest number of small business bankruptcies in the fourth quarter of 2010 experienced a year-over-year drop from Q4 2009. Declining more than any other metropolitan area was the Chicago-Naperville area, which saw a 30.13 percent decrease year-over-year in Q4 2010.

Following behind were a number of California areas, many of which reported double-digit decreases during the same time period. However, the news was not positive on all fronts, with five areas experiencing a year-over-year rise in bankruptcy rate. One surprising result involved the Wisconsin area, which saw a 16.52 percent jump in small business bankruptcies from Q4 2009 to Q4 2010—more than any other area on the top 15 list below.

 

 

Metropolitan Statistical Area

Total Q4 2009

 

Total Q4 2010

% of Change

 

Los Angeles-Long Beach -Glendale, CA

1082

1230

13.68%

 

Riverside-San Bernardino -Ontario, CA

705

642

-8.94%

 

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX

411

445

8.27%

 

Sacramento-Arden-Arcade –Roseville, CA

533

424

-20.45%

 

San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA

438

389

-11.19%

 

Denver-Aurora, CO  

463

368

-20.52%

 

Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA  

410

365

-10.98%

 

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA

407

333

-18.18%

 

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX

367

327

-10.90%

 

California – Rest of State

352

300

-14.77%

 

Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA

293

286  

-2.39%

 

Wisconsin-Rest of State

236

275

16.52%

 

New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ

270

272

0.74%

 

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA

248

266

7.26%

 

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL

375

262

-30.13%

 

Total

6590

6184

-6.16%