Port Macquarie recorded the highest number of personal bankruptcies in the state during the 2018 financial year, analysis shows.
Some 82 people in Port Macquarie declared bankruptcy during that time.
The figures also ranked Port Macquarie sixth in the top 10 Australian locations by volume for bankruptcy.
Data registry and analytics business illion combined official bankruptcy data with its data matching capabilities to analyse the financial health of Australians.
Dubbo and Orange, on a state front, came in at equal second on the worst performing list, with 77 personal bankruptcies each during the 2018 financial year, followed by Blacktown, Goulburn, Quakers Hill and Coffs Harbour.
The analysis showed a four per cent increase nationwide in personal bankruptcies during the 2018 financial year which saw 32,350 Australians declare bankruptcy.
The analysis did not look into the reasons behind the bankruptcies.
Australian bankruptcy rates are believed to be reflective of housing and labour market issues.
Household debt remains at historic highs.
Illion economics adviser Stephen Koukoulas said maybe the nation’s economy did not have quite have the momentum that people would like.
“When the economy is doing well, bankruptcies go down,” he said.
“In a way, when bankruptcies increase, it’s a sign of economic weakness or softness.”
Bankruptcy, a legal process where a person is declared unable to pay their debts, can release a person from most debts, provide relief and allow them to make a fresh start.
Bankruptcy has short and long-term effects.
Shaw Gidley director Scott Newton said the bankruptcy figures were misleading because they did not take per capita into account.
“The figure is not a major increase on what would be the average bankruptcies over a 12-month period for the area,” he said.
“It’s just a return to where levels historically have sat.”
Mr Newton said people in financial difficulty should get advice sooner rather than later.
“There are options available to them,” he said.
“The longer they leave it, the more difficult it is or those options have disappeared.”
Mr Newton said people should also consider the bankruptcy period could be for a shorter term in the future given proposed legislative change.
Proposed changes to insolvency laws include reducing the bankruptcy period from three years to one year.