Personal insolvencies declined by 1.2% in the first three months of this year compared with the previous quarter, the Insolvency Service said.
There were 28,723 personal insolvencies in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2012, which was also a 4.7% drop on the same period a year ago.
But within these figures, the year-long decline in the number of people being declared bankrupt came to an end, as bankruptcies rose by 5.5% on the previous quarter to reach 9,132, despite remaining 27.2% lower than this time last year.
The number of debt relief orders (DROs), another form of personal insolvency often dubbed "bankruptcy light", rose by 7.3% on the quarter to reach a record high of 7,897.
DROs were introduced in spring 2009 and are aimed at people who have more modest levels of debt but no realistic prospect of paying it off. Around one in four people taking out a DRO is aged between 25 and 34.
The overall decrease in the personal insolvency figures was caused by a sharp decline in individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), which dropped by 10.4% on the quarter to reach 11,694.