Relationship breakdowns, living beyond your means and sudden income shocks are among the most common triggers for people going bankrupt, figures show.
Statistics released by the Insolvency Service show the characteristics of people applying for bankruptcy in England and Wales between the second quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of 2018.
The figures relate to debtors' applications for bankruptcy and do not include petitions by creditors for bankruptcies.
In 16.9% of debtor application bankruptcies during this period, "living beyond means" was a reason, according to the figures.
In 14.9% of such applications, a relationship breakdown was a factor.
Other reasons related to a loss or reduction in income, including a reduction of the person's income in 11.7% of applications, loss of employment in 10.2% of cases and loss or reduction of household income in 9.5% of bankruptcies.
The failure of a new venture was a factor in 2.8% of cases, while in 9.4% illness or an accident was a reason.
The median average debt in debtor application bankruptcies was £39,000.
Other reasons for debtors' bankruptcy applications included being the victim of a fraud, the knock-on effect of the failure of another company, interest rates increasing on existing debts and gambling.