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Federal Judicial Caseloads, 1789-2016

Total Non-Bankruptcy Case Filings, 1912-2016

The graph below shows the total number of suits commenced in U.S. district courts, U.S. courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States from 1912 to 2015. The graph excludes bankruptcy filings (which are reflected in the bankruptcy caseloads page) from the district court totals.  As the graph shows, significantly more cases have been filed in the U.S. district courts than the federal appellate courts throughout this period. However, the relative number of cases filed in the court of appeals has grown over time. In 1915, for example, there were approximately 24 times as many new cases filed in district courts as in courts of appeals (35,136 to 1,452). In 2015, by contrast, new district court filings outnumbered new court of appeals cases by just over 6 to 1 (340,238 to 52,698).