While it is commonly understood that the 7 million foreclosures that occurred between 2004 and 2015 fueled the Great Recession and have held back a robust recovery, the role of adverse public records is just as significant and less recognized. Nearly 35 million consumers had adverse public records between 2004 and 2015 including bankruptcies, civil judgments and federal tax liens. Combined with the 7 million foreclosures, this means more than one in five Americans with credit records suffered an adverse event during this period. While It is also commonly understood that the Great Recession ended on June 2009, the total number of consumers having their foreclosure or negative public records still on their credit report actually peaked in 2015. This paper examines the lasting impact of these negative records on consumer spending and economic recovery.
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