At a time when we have a more massive difference in ages of Presidential contenders than we have ever had in American history, this would be a good time to look at the history of the age distribution of America’s Presidents.
At this time, Democratic Presidential contenders range from age 37 to 77, with Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders at opposite ends, and with them being 39 years and one day old and 79 years and four months old, respectively, on Inauguration Day in 2021.
Of America’s 44 Presidents, nine ranged from age 42 (Theodore Roosevelt) to age 49 (James K. Polk). Now, we could have a President who would be younger than TR or the youngest elected President, John F. Kennedy, in Pete Buttigieg or Tulsi Gabbard, who would be both 39 when taking the oath, making them the youngest President in American history.
Twenty four Presidents have been in their 50s, ranging from Millard Fillmore at age 50 to James Monroe at age 58, and with other Founding Father Presidents James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington all 57, along with John Quincy Adams, all coming close to the average age of 55 historically. Five Presidents have been age 54; four have been 55; and 3 have been 56. while five were 51 years of age.
Eleven Presidents were 60 up to 70 and a half years of age, ranging from Harry Truman at age 60 to Ronald Reagan age 69 (just 19 days short of 70) and Donald Trump, at 70 years and about seven months. This list, however, includes Truman and Gerald Ford, who succeeded to the Presidency, and were not elected at the age they came in, about a month and a half apart in age at ages 60 and 61 respectively.
And five of these eleven were 60-62 years of age, leaving only six being age 64 and higher at inauguration, with Zachary Taylor and William Henry Harrison dying in office; Ronald Reagan believed to have developed Alzheimers in his second term; George H. W. Bush having major health issues in office, although he lived to be 94; and Donald Trump, believed by many to have mental health issues. Only James Buchanan, rated by most historians as the worst President, at least until Donald Trump, seems to have had no major issues other than his general incompetence at age 65 to 69 in office.
Now the likelihood of an older President in his or her 70s comes to the forefront, at the same time that we could have one of the youngest Presidents ever, if not the youngest, with Julian Castro and Beto O’Rourke among those who are in their 40s.
This is food for thought, as to what is the best direction for America in 2020!