Age of the Next U.S. President: Some Interesting Facts

September 22, 2015

Barack Obama is the 44th U.S. president but only the 43rd different person to hold that office since Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms.

The average age of the 43 presidents at the time of their initial inauguration is 55.  25 were in their 50s.  10 were in their 60s but just 2 as old as 66.  8 were in their 40s.

The early front-runners in the 2016 election race are Clinton, Sanders and Biden on the Democratic Party side, and Trump, Bush, and Carson among Republicans.

  • Sanders was born before America entered World War 2 and would be 75 on January 20, 2017 at his first inaugural.
  • Biden’s age would be 74, and Clinton would be 69 years and 3 months.  Each would be at an older age than any previous occupant’s age at the start.
  • Trump would be 70-1/2, also the oldest age of anyone assuming the presidency.  Carson would be 65-1/3, and Bush would be 63 years and 11 months.

The U.S. Presidency is a stressful job.  Nineteen presidents failed to live to the age of 70, including Washington, Lincoln, Polk, Grant, both Roosevelts, Wilson, Harding, McKinley, Coolidge, both Johnsons and both Harrisons. 

Of the two presidents older than 65 when inaugurated, Harrison (68) died just a single month into his presidency, and Reagan (69) contracted Alzheimer’s Disease shortly after leaving office.

Carson would be assuming the presidency at an older age than all predecessors except the aforementioned Reagan and Harrison.

Only four presidents began at an older age than Hillary Clinton would be, and there are just five such people in Jeb Bush’s case.

Just eight former presidents lived longer than Sanders would be after serving two full terms, and just nine in Biden’s case.

In one sense, these are early days in the 2016 election campaign.  Still, the Iowa Caucus is just over four months away (Feb 1) followed by the New Hampshire primary on February 9.  At this stage, it looks like a reasonable bet that the United States is headed for a relatively elderly president.  While the 70s are said to be the new 60s, the age of a political leader projects an image for the country as a whole.  Consider the Soviet Union in the first half of the 190s.  In 1980, Brezhnev, Andropov, and Chernenko were age 74, 66, and 69.  That succession of elderly leaders in a very short time, each dying in office, conveyed a  decrepit image not only in the political leadership but equally so in how the world came gradually to view the political and economic viability of the Soviet experiment. 

The U.S. constitution places a lower age limit of 35 on who may become president but no upper limit.  People age physically and mentally at different rates than their biological clock. But all things else being the same, a president of 55 conveys a more dynamic picture than one of 65, 70, or 75. 

Copyright 2015, Larry Greenberg.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.



One Response to “Age of the Next U.S. President: Some Interesting Facts”

  1. Jimbo says:

    You are amazing in correlating facts! Branch out from currency to international politics