Total U.S. bankruptcy filings in April increased 28% year-over-year, according to the latest data provided by Epiq AACER.

With that rise in mind, Moneywise recently analyzed 11 factors to determine which states contain elderly U.S. citizens — individuals over age 65 — with the greatest risk of bankruptcy.

Perhaps not surprising to some, Moneywise pinpointed California as the state where elderly individuals face the greatest risk of bankruptcy and Iowa as having the least amount of risk.

The study determined each state’s risk of bankruptcy by assigning each state a risk score out of 100 based on factors such as poverty rates, debt-to-income ratios, healthcare expenses, and overall cost of living.

In the study, Moneywise said bankruptcy is defined as a situation in which an individual’s income and assets are insufficient to cover their expenses or repay their debts.

Moneywise said California poses the greatest danger to the financial health of its elderly population, with a total risk score of 69.72.

In the country’s most populous state, Moneywise discovered one out of every five elders has an annual income below 150% of the federal poverty line, which the Department of Health and Human Services has currently set at $15,600 per individual, $20,440 per couple and $31,200 per family of four.

In addition to low earnings, Moneywise pointed out the whole state population encounters high everyday costs, which contribute to great financial risk.

According to MERIC data, California faces 27% higher average utility costs, 26% higher average transport costs, 12% higher average grocery costs, and 99% higher average housing costs than the national standard.

Further highlighted by its average debt-to-income ratio, which stands at 1.75 as of 2022, the average healthcare cost per person is $10,200, according to Moneywise.

Meanwhile, Iowa was found to be the safest state, with a final risk score of 19.95.

Moneywise said only 1.4% of the elderly population are below the 150% poverty line, with access to relatively affordable everyday expenses.

Researchers found that housing costs are 26% cheaper than the national average, utility costs are kept 4% lower, and grocery costs are 3% more affordable.

The study also showed the average healthcare cost per person is $9,700, 5% cheaper than California’s average. The state also maintains an average debt-to-income ratio of 1.24.

After California, the states where the elderly are most vulnerable to filing for bankruptcy include Alaska, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Maine.

After Iowa, the states where the elderly are least vulnerable to filing for bankruptcy include Nebraska, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Kansas.

“The dream of a secure retirement can quickly become a nightmare for seniors facing overwhelming debt. Unaffordable mortgages, overspending, and rising healthcare costs can all contribute to a financial crisis,” Moneywise vice president of marketing and product Kris Bruynson said in a news release.

“But for older adults, bankruptcy can be especially devastating, instantly wiping away a lifetime of savings. The vulnerability of elderly debtors is particularly concerning,” Bruynson continued. “As people age, their ability to earn income often decreases, while healthcare expenses can skyrocket. This can leave retirees with a crushing burden of debt and few options for managing it.

“Seniors make up 8% of bankruptcy filers, with the trend only increasing. This highlights the urgent need for a more stable retirement system, where each state should consider implementing programs and policies that protect older adults from further financial hardship,” Bruynson went on to say.

For more details about the study, go to