For the entire country, the total number of bankruptcies filed during the first six months of 2006 was the lowest first-half year filings in 20 years, falling to 272,604 from 868,482, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute.

About one-fourth as many bankruptcies were filed in Colorado during the first half of this year as during the same period last year.

The decline reflects the impact of last year’s new bankruptcy law. A rush of Chapter 7 liquidation filings were filed last year before tougher U.S. bankruptcy rules went into effect in October.

Colorado had just 4,171 bankruptcy filings in the first six months of this year, a huge drop from the 16,344 during the same period in 2005.

The first quarter of 2006 was the slowest period, with 1,483 filings. The second quarter had 2,688 filings.