Who are the Oldest U.S. Presidents of all time?
On January 20, 2021 Joe Biden, 78 at the time, was sworn into office as the 46th President of the United States. At that age (to be precise 78 years, 61 days), the former Senator from Delaware and 47th Vice President of the United States became the oldest first-term U.S. president.
This article contains the ages and brief histories of the oldest presidents of the United States at the time they were sworn into office.
George H. W. Bush
Coming in at number 5 on the list of oldest U.S. presidents is George H. W. Bush. The Massachusetts-born business magnate was sworn into office on January 20, 1989 as the 41st president of the United States. At the time of his inauguration, Bush Sr. (as he came to be referred to) was 64 years, 222 days old. The Bush Sr. administration steered the nation through the dying years of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He also halted the maniacal advance of former Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein into the tiny Gulf nation of Kuwait.
After losing a re-election bid to Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, Bush Sr., a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, went on to live to the ripe age of 94 years, 171 days before dying on November 30, 2018.
Largely seen as the U.S. president under whose watch the nation tipped over into a bloody civil war, James Buchanan was sworn into office on March 4, 1857. The 15th President of the United States at the time of his inauguration was 65 years, 315 days old, making him the fourth oldest U.S. president in office (so far). After a poor showing and underwhelming performances in White House, Buchanan – a states’ rights advocate – failed to secure a second shot at the presidency.
As a result of his support of some controversial policies (including the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court verdict that upheld slavery in the nation) in the lead up to the American Civil War (1861-1965), President Buchanan is frequently seen as one of the worst presidents of the United States.
William Henry Harrison
What are the odds that three of the presidents on this historical list served just one-term as commander-in-chief? Was age or simply bad luck a contributory factor? In William Henry Harrison’s case, it was the latter. Sworn into office at the age of 68 years, 23 days, Harrison became the 9th president of the United States. And just 31 days later (on April 4, 1841), the nation swore in another president (in the person of Vice President John Tyler) as William Henry Harrison’s life was cut short by pneumonia. His 31 days in office makes him the shortest-served president in U.S. history. “Old Tippecanoe” (a name he received for his heroics during the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811) is much remembered for his achievements before taking up the White House job.
In all of America history, never has there been a president to surpass President Ronald Reagan’s record as the oldest-serving president. At the time of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, the Tampico, Illinois-born politician was a few days shy of his 70th birthday. At 69 years, 349 days, Reagan comes in second on the list of oldest U.S. presidents at the time of their inauguration.
What is interesting is that: Reagan’s second term of office (1985-1989) firmly placed him as the oldest-serving president in office. In spite of some of the stellar results (some controversial of course) he attained while in the White House, his age was constantly brought up, particularly during his final few years in office. Many commentators at the time believed that the President Reagan’s mental prowess was battered by early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – a disease that he was officially diagnosed with in 1994. In spite of his deteriorating mental health, the former Hollywood actor and 33rd governor of California went on to live to a ripe age of 93 years before dying on June 5, 2004.
Reagan’s conservative administration is best remembered for many modern economic and political initiatives, the most famous being his supply-side economic programs, which came to be called “Reaganomics”. On the foreign policy side of things, Reagan heaped enormous pressure on the Soviet Union, which ultimately resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
Click here to read more about Ronald Reagan’s biography and major accomplishments.
Donald J. Trump
America’s 45th president, Donald John Trump, defied a number of opinion polls and defeated former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Sworn in on January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump – a highly successful television personality – became the oldest person to become president of the United States of America (as at 2017)
At 70 years, 220 days, President Trump entered the White House 8 months older than the age Ronald Reagan took the presidential oath in 1983. The multi-billionaire’s (according to a 2020 Forbes’ estimate) first three years in office saw stellar economic results, although many of them came amidst a horrendous and disjointed foreign policy.
A second term presidency for Donald Trump would have seen the former host of The Apprentice become America’s oldest serving president in history. That honor went to his successor after his defeat at the 2020 polls.
Joe Biden, the longest serving senator in the history of Delaware, had a distinguished career as a top U.S. legislator and later 47th vice president of the United States (2009-2017) before becoming the 46th President of the United States in 2021.
Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on November 20, 1942, Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. Biden, along with his running mate Kamala Harris (49th U.S. Vice President), defeated incumbent president Donald Trump at the 2020 U.S. presidential election in November 2020.
At the time that he took the presidential oath of office (on January 20, 2021), he was 78 years, 61 days, making him the oldest person to be sworn into the White House.
Read More: 10 Major Accomplishments of Kamala Harris
U.S. Presidents’ ages at the the time of their inauguration
The list below contains the ages of all U.S. presidents at the time of their inauguration ceremonies. The nation’s Founding Father and first president George Washington (who was 57 years, 67 days at the time) comes in at 17 on the list of oldest U.S. presidents (as at 2021). However, that could all change with the passage of time.
|U.S. President||President #||Date of Birth||President’s age at inauguration|
|Joe Biden||46||Nov 20, 1942||78 years, 61 days (Jan 20, 2021)|
|Donald J. Trump||45||June 14, 1946||70 years, 220 days (Jan 20, 2017)|
|Ronald Reagan||40||Feb 6, 1911||69 years, 349 days (Jan 20, 1981)|
|William Henry Harrison||9||Feb 9, 1773||68 years, 23 days (Mar 4, 1841)|
|James Buchanan||15||Apr 23, 1791||65 years, 315 days (Mar 4, 1857)|
|George H. W. Bush||41||Jun 12, 1924||64 years, 222 days (Jan 20, 1989)|
|Zachary Taylor||12||Nov 24, 1784||64 years, 100 days (Mar 4, 1849)|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower||34||Oct 14, 1890||62 years, 98 days (Jan 20, 1953)|
|Andrew Jackson||7||Mar 15, 1767||61 years, 354 days (Mar 4, 1829)|
|John Adams||2||Oct 30, 1735||61 years, 125 days (Mar 4, 1797)|
|Gerald Ford||38||Jul 14, 1913||61 years, 26 days (Aug 9, 1974)|
|Harry S. Truman||33||May 8, 1884||60 years, 339 days (Apr 12, 1945)|
|James Monroe||5||Apr 28, 1758||58 years, 310 days (Mar 4, 1817)|
|James Madison||4||Mar 16, 1751||57 years, 353 days (Mar 4, 1809)|
|Thomas Jefferson||3||Apr 13, 1743||57 years, 325 days (Mar 4, 1801)|
|John Quincy Adams||6||Jul 11, 1767||57 years, 236 days (Mar 4, 1825)|
|George Washington||1||Feb 22, 1732||57 years, 67 days (Apr 30, 1789)|
|Andrew Johnson||17||Dec 29, 1808||56 years, 107 days (Apr 15, 1865)|
|Woodrow Wilson||28||Dec 28, 1856||56 years, 66 days (Mar 4, 1913)|
|Richard Nixon||37||Jan 9, 1913||56 years, 11 days (Jan 20, 1969)|
|Grover Cleveland*||24||Mar 18, 1837||55 years, 351 days (Mar 4, 1893)|
|Benjamin Harrison||23||Aug 20, 1833||55 years, 196 days (Mar 4, 1889)|
|Warren G. Harding||29||Nov 2, 1865||55 years, 122 days (Mar 4, 1921)|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||36||Aug 27, 1908||55 years, 87 days (Nov 22, 1963)|
|Herbert Hoover||31||Aug 10, 1874||54 years, 206 days (Mar 4, 1929)|
|George W. Bush||43||Jul 6, 1946||54 years, 198 days (Jan 20, 2001)|
|Rutherford B. Hayes||19||Oct 4, 1822||54 years, 151 days (Mar 4, 1877)|
|Martin Van Buren||8||Dec 5, 1782||54 years, 89 days (Mar 4, 1837)|
|William McKinley||25||Jan 29, 1843||54 years, 34 days (Mar 4, 1897)|
|Jimmy Carter||39||Oct 1, 1924||52 years, 111 days (Jan 20, 1977)|
|Abraham Lincoln||16||Feb 12, 1809||52 years, 20 days (Mar 4, 1861)|
|Chester A. Arthur||21||Oct 5, 1829||51 years, 349 days (Sep 19, 1881)|
|William Howard Taft||27||Sep 15, 1857||51 years, 170 days (Mar 4, 1909)|
|Franklin D. Roosevelt||32||Jan 30, 1882||51 years, 33 days (Mar 4, 1933)|
|Calvin Coolidge||30||Jul 4, 1872||51 years, 29 days (Aug 2, 1923)|
|John Tyler||10||Mar 29, 1790||51 years, 6 days (Apr 4, 1841)|
|Millard Fillmore||13||Jan 7, 1800||50 years, 183 days (Jul 9, 1850)|
|James K. Polk||11||Nov 2, 1795||49 years, 122 days (Mar 4, 1845)|
|James A. Garfield||20||Nov 19, 1831||49 years, 105 days (Mar 4, 1881)|
|Franklin Pierce||14||Nov 23, 1804||48 years, 101 days (Mar 4, 1853)|
|Grover Cleveland*||22||Mar 18, 1837||47 years, 351 days (Mar 4, 1885)|
|Barack Obama||44||Aug 4, 1961||47 years, 169 days (Jan 20, 2009)|
|Ulysses S. Grant||18||Apr 27, 1822||46 years, 311 days (Mar 4, 1869)|
|Bill Clinton||42||Aug 19, 1946||46 years, 154 days (Jan 20, 1993)|
|John F. Kennedy||35||May 29, 1917||43 years, 236 days (Jan 20, 1961)|
|Theodore Roosevelt||26||Oct 27, 1858||42 years, 322 days (Sep 14, 1901)|
* This list captures all 46 tenures, including Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President of the U.S.), who had two non-consecutive terms in office.