On average two CCJs were registered for every 100 people aged 18 or over in England and Wales over the last 12 months, according to research by online credit report service MyCallcredit.
But in some towns the incidence was as much as three times higher.
Its research looked at the number of CCJs registered in England and Wales, by postcode, postal sector and postal town, and the characteristics of people who live in those areas, to determine the households and areas most at risk of defaulting on their credit commitments.
In the period May 2005 to May 2006 more than three quarters of a million CCJs were registered in England and Wales. Purfleet in Essex recorded the highest number of CCJs per head of population in a postal town (six for every 100 adults).
Callcredit director Mel Mitchley said: “Where you live can reveal so much about your life from whether you’re likely to have a CCJ to how likely you are to own a car or have access to the internet.
“Our research found that 55% of the population live in postcode areas where no CCJs were recorded in the last 12 months. We also found that those postcodes with the highest numbers of CCJs per head of population tended to share certain demographic characteristics. But a combination of record levels of personal debt combined with the recent interest rate rise could mean that over the next year we start to see CCJs in neighbourhoods that have so far been unaffected.”
More than 0.75 million CCJs were registered over the last 12 months; 20 CCJs were recorded for every 1000 people aged 18 or over in England and Wales in the last 12 months; 55% of the population live in postcode areas where no CCJs were recorded over the last 12 months; 30% of the population live in postcodes where between one and two CCJs were recorded over the last 12 months; 15% live in areas where three or more CCJs were registered in that postcode over the last 12 months.
Of the 20 towns with the worst record for CCJs over the last 12 months eight are in the Midlands while four are in the East, three in London, three in Yorkshire and the Humber, one in the North East and one in the North West.
Amongst the Midlands towns, there was a high concentration in the West; Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Bilston – all in the former industrial area known as the Black Country.
In Yorkshire, Scunthorpe had the highest density closely followed by Bradford and Dewsbury. In Bradford and Dewsbury there are many single people in terraced homes and almost twice the national average number collect unemployment benefits in these two post towns.
In Purfleet, the town with the worst record – three times the national average – the predominant socio-economic group is single home-owners and renters with pre-school age children.
Tilbury, the town in second place, is a port town in the South East. The town has a large proportion of people who are employed in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs at the port.
Mitchley said: “There are many factors which will affect whether someone gets into difficulty with debt but the geodemographic profile of where you live is clearly one of the indicators that lenders can use to support their responsible lending policies.”