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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Want proof that Americans struggle with debt? A new survey says that one in eight have considered filing for bankruptcy at some point.

A survey conducted by legal information site asked Americans whether they’d ever considered filing for bankruptcy, and a shocking 13% admitted that they’d at least flirted with the idea at some point in their lives. Men were more likely to consider bankruptcy than women, and the middle-aged – those between 35 and 54 – were most likely of all age groups to consider such an extreme measure.

It certainly makes sense that older Americans are more likely to have thought about bankruptcy than younger ones; after all, the longer you’re around, the more likely it is that you’ve found yourself in dire financial straits at some point. But by that same token, it’s surprising that those over 55 seem to be less likely to have considered bankruptcy than the younger, middle-aged set.

That finding suggests that generational differences are at play. If we accept that both generations have lived through similarly-grave periods of recession, the idea of escaping your debts through bankruptcy seems to have become more acceptable in recent years.

The phone survey of 1,000 adults did involve some good news too – only 1% of those surveyed had actually gone through with it and filed for personal bankruptcy. But 1% is still a big number on a national scale, and FindLaw notes that 1.5 million Americans filed for bankruptcy last year, a five-year high.

If you are considering bankruptcy as a way to clear some of your debt, be sure to check out MainStreet’s look at common bankruptcy myths before doing anything drastic.

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