Special Report

America's Youngest Presidents

An American must only be 35 years old to become president of the United States, but voters typically elect much older candidates. Donald Trump at age 70 was the oldest person to become president. Ronald Reagan, at the end of his term was the oldest president to hold the office. Reagan, elected for his second term at 73, and left the white house just before his 78th birthday.

Jimmy Carter is longest-living former president at 95. President John F. Kennedy — who was 46 years and 177 days old at the time of his assassination — was the president with the shortest life. This is how long each U.S. president lived.

The median age at inauguration is 55 and a few presidents have served in their 70s. Just nine of the 44 U.S. presidents took the oath of office before their 50th birthday. These are the five youngest presidents in U.S. history.

Source: Pool / Getty Images

5. Barack Obama
> Age at inauguration: 47 years, 169 days
> Age at end of presidency: 55 years, 169 days
> Presidency: 2009 – 2017
> Political party: Democratic

Barack Obama started his political career when he was elected Illinois state senator in 1996. Just 12 years later, he won the 2008 presidential election over John McCain — who was 25 years older and had been in politics for twice as long as Obama — to become the fifth youngest president elected.

President Ulysses S. Grant
Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Ulysses S. Grant
> Age at inauguration: 46 years, 311 days
> Age at end of presidency: 54 years, 311 days
> Presidency: 1869 – 1877
> Political party: Republican

Ulysses S. Grant became a civil war hero as the commanding general of the U.S. army. Unlike every other president on this list, he held no elected office before becoming president.

You can find every president’s path to the white house here.

President Bill Clinton
Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. Bill Clinton
> Age at inauguration: 46 years, 154 days
> Age at end of presidency: 54 years, 154 days
> Presidency: 1993 – 2001
> Political party: Democratic

At 46 years old, Bill Clinton became the third-youngest U.S. president. When he left office at age 54, he was younger than most presidents have been when they started their first term. Despite serving nearly two decades ago, he is a few months younger than the current president, Donald Trump.

President John F. Kennedy
Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. John F. Kennedy
> Age at inauguration: 43 years, 236 days
> Age at end of presidency: 46 years, 177 days
> Presidency: 1961 – 1963
> Political party: Democratic

John F. Kennedy is the second-youngest person to hold the presidency. Assuming the office at 43, he is also the youngest person to become president by election, (as opposed to succession).

President Theodore Roosevelt
Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

1. Theodore Roosevelt
> Age at inauguration: 42 years, 322 days
> Age at end of presidency: 50 years, 128 days
> Presidency: 1901 – 1909
> Political party: Republican

When President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became the youngest president ever. He went on to win the 1904 election at age 46, becoming the second youngest elected president.


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