ALEXANDRIA, Va. (1/5/11)--Personal bankruptcies increased 9% to more than 1.53 million in 2010, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (The Wall Street Journal Jan. 3). The 2010 figure is the highest in any year since 2.04 million bankruptcies were filed in 2005, when Congress revised the bankruptcy statute, making it more difficult for individuals to discharge debt under court protection (Reuters Jan 11, 2006). By comparison, fewer than 600,000 bankruptcies were filed in 2006. Since then, the number of bankruptcies filed has increased each year because the housing slump and recession have pushed unemployment to nearly 10%, said analysts. The Southwestern and the Southeastern regions have been hit particularly hard during the economic crisis. However, in 2010, filings dropped in Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. Filings were up dramatically, however, in two Southwestern states. In California, bankruptcies increased by 25%. In Arizona, filings rose nearly 24%.