Age of Presidents at Inauguration

Quote of the Day

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.

— Albert Einstein


Figure 1: Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest person to serve as president.

Figure 1: At 42, Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest person to serve as president. (Source)

While crawling around the Wikipedia looking for presidential information, I found a list of the ages at inauguration of the US presidents ordered from oldest to youngest. I threw Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump into the list (Table 1) to see where they would place – they are old by historic standards. In fact, Donald Trump would be the oldest ever.

As a check, I computed the inaugural ages of all the presidents using Excel and found that the Wikipedia was accurate, which I normally find true. The age calculation was complicated by the fact that the age system used in Excel does not work for ages before 1900. Fortunately, I found the excellent extended date add-in from Walkenbach, which allows you to work with the string representation of dates. For those of you who like to code,  Excel's VBA does not have the same date restrictions as its workbooks, so you can write your own macros that will work quite well.

Before I dive into the specifics of presidential ages at inauguration, let's look at a histogram of the inauguration ages of all the presidents (Figure 2). Observe that most presidents are between 50 and 60 years old.

Figure 2: Histogram of Presidential Ages.

Figure 2: Histogram of Presidential Ages.

Table 1 shows the age of all the presidents by their age in years and days, plus the ages of Hillary and Donald.

Table 1: List of the Inaugural Ages of the Presidents with Hillary and Donald Added.
President/Candidate Age at inauguration
Donald Trump 70 years, 220 days
Ronald Reagan 69 years, 349 days
Hillary Clinton 69 years, 86 days
William Henry Harrison 68 years, 23 days
James Buchanan 65 years, 315 days
George H. W. Bush 64 years, 222 days
Zachary Taylor 64 years, 100 days
Dwight D. Eisenhower 62 years, 98 days
Andrew Jackson 61 years, 354 days
John Adams 61 years, 125 days
Gerald Ford 61 years, 26 days
Harry S. Truman 60 years, 339 days
Grover Cleveland (2nd Inauguration) 59 years, 351 days
James Monroe 58 years, 310 days
James Madison 57 years, 353 days
Thomas Jefferson 57 years, 325 days
John Quincy Adams 57 years, 236 days
George Washington 57 years, 67 days
Andrew Johnson 56 years, 107 days
Woodrow Wilson 56 years, 66 days
Richard Nixon 56 years, 11 days
Benjamin Harrison 55 years, 196 days
Warren G. Harding 55 years, 122 days
Lyndon B. Johnson 55 years, 87 days
Herbert Hoover 54 years, 206 days
George W. Bush 54 years, 198 days
Rutherford B. Hayes 54 years, 151 days
Martin Van Buren 54 years, 89 days
William McKinley 54 years, 34 days
Jimmy Carter 52 years, 111 days
Abraham Lincoln 52 years, 20 days
Chester A. Arthur 51 years, 349 days
William Howard Taft 51 years, 170 days
Franklin D. Roosevelt 51 years, 33 days
Calvin Coolidge 51 years, 29 days
John Tyler 51 years, 6 days
Millard Fillmore 50 years, 183 days
James K. Polk 49 years, 122 days
James A. Garfield 49 years, 105 days
Franklin Pierce 48 years, 101 days
Grover Cleveland (1st Inauguration) 47 years, 351 days
Barack Obama 47 years, 169 days
Ulysses S. Grant 46 years, 311 days
Bill Clinton 46 years, 154 days
John F. Kennedy 43 years, 236 days
Theodore Roosevelt 42 years, 322 days

 

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5 Responses to Age of Presidents at Inauguration

  1. Filip says:

    It is a kind of interesting thing that when you compare the age of the president at his/her inauguration and compare that to their life expectancy we find that starting from president Ford the ratio inauguration age/life expectancy is going below 1. Election of either Trump or Clinton will bring it back above 1

     
    • mathscinotes says:

      That is interesting. I will add that to my spreadsheet. Thanks.

      mark

       
    • Mike says:

      How is this possible? Life expectancy in the Unites States is ~79 years. Clinton or Trump age/life would both be <1..?

      You're saying that on average; presidents are inaugurated at a time past their life expectancy? That doesn't seem right.

       
      • mathscinotes says:

        The page you are commenting on is about the age of the presidents on their day of inauguration. No probabilities are involved here. There is another post here where I discuss the probability that a 70 year old man would finish an 2 - 4 year terms. Based on Social Security longevity data, 23% of 70 year-old males do not make it 78. That is all I am saying.

        mark

         
  2. Pingback: Probability That An Old President Does Not Finish Their Term | Math Encounters Blog

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