Reuters

The bankrupt Stockton has some company.

Today, the city of Stockton, California, became the largest city in U.S. history to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (something we've broken down by the numbers). But though Stockton is the largest city to take this unfortunate route, it's certainly not the first. More than 600 municipalities (including counties) have filed for bankruptcy since Chapter 9 filings first became an option in the 1930s, according to this article from ABC News.

Here are the seven largest cities to file for bankruptcy (sometimes more than once) in recent history:

1. Stockton, California
Bankruptcy filing: 2012
Population (in 2010): 291,707

2. Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bankruptcy filing: 1991
Population (in 1990): 141,686

3. Vallejo, California
Bankruptcy filing: 2008
Population (in 2010): 115,942

4. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Bankruptcy filing: 2011
Population (in 2010): 49,528

5. Prichard, Alabama
Bankruptcy filing: 1999
Population (in 2000): 28,633
Second bankruptcy filing: 2009
Population (in 2010): 22,659

6. Central Falls, Rhode Island
Bankruptcy filing: 2011
Population (in 2010): 19,376

7. Desert Hot Springs, California
Bankruptcy filing: 2001
Population (in 2000): 16,582

Stockton is at least twice as large as these other cities. But it may be a little comforting to know others have undergone this process and survived.

Photo credit: Brian Snyder/Reuters

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Former HUD secretary Julián Castro
    Equity

    How to Head Off a Coronavirus Housing Crisis

    Former HUD secretary and presidential candidate Julián Castro has ideas for state and federal leaders on protecting vulnerable renters from a housing disaster.

  2. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  3. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  4. Coronavirus

    Black Businesses Are Not Getting the Coronavirus Relief They Deserve

    The latest U.S. coronavirus aid package promises a partial and uneven economic recovery that leaves behind the African American community.

  5. photo: South Korean soldiers attempt to disinfect the sidewalks of Seoul's Gagnam district in response to the spread of COVID-19.
    Coronavirus

    Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem

    Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.  

×