Presidents In Their 60s

Age Distribution Of America’s Presidents

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!

Are We Entering An Age Of Older Presidents?

In American history, we have had only five Presidents who were 64 or older in office when inaugurated—Ronald Reagan, William Henry Harrison, James Buchanan, George H. W. Bush, and Zachary Taylor.

An additional five Presidents were ages 60-63 when inaugurated: Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, John Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Dwight D. Eisenhower, but Truman and Ford were not elected at that age, but instead succeeded to the Oval Office.

This means 33 of our 43 Presidents were younger than 60 when being inaugurated President, with 24 in their 50s, and 9 in their 40s, and with Grover Cleveland in his 40s for his first term, and 50s for his second nonconsecutive term. The nine Presidents in their forties were, at the time of inauguration: James K. Polk and James A. Garfield (49); Franklin Pierce (48); Grover Cleveland and Barack Obama (47); Ulysses S. Grant and Bill Clinton (46); John F. Kennedy (43); and Theodore Roosevelt (42).

But it is now likely that the next President will be in his or her 60s, or even 70s, at the time of taking the Presidential oath. There are a total of eight potential Republican nominees in their 60s–ranging from, at the time of inauguration as follows: Mitt Romney (69); Rick Perry (66); Dr. Benjamin Carson (65); John Kasich (64); Jeb Bush (63); Mike Huckabee, Rob Portman, and Lindsey Graham (61). Romney and Perry would reach the age of 70 during a first term, and Romney, Perry, Carson, Kasich and Bush would all be in their 70s in a second term.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have four potential Presidential nominees who will be in their seventies when they would take the oath of office—Jerry Brown (78); Bernie Sanders (75); Joe Biden (74); and Jim Webb (70). All four, plus Hillary Clinton (69) and Elizabeth Warren (67) would reach the 70s during a first term, and Mark Warner (62) would reach 70 as well in a second term.

So a total of eight Republicans and seven Democrats would be over 70, either at the time of the inauguration, or within the next four years after, or the next eight years after!

When one realizes that only Dwight D. Eisenhower (70) and Ronald Reagan (77) were actually in the Presidency past their 70th birthday, and Ike was only three months beyond 70, it is clear that we are likely to create new ground, since much of the talent pool is comparatively old, and from the “Baby Boomer” generation born from 1946 onward.

Of course, there are younger Presidential candidates or potential candidates–for the Republicans–Rick Santorum (58); Mike Pence (57); Rand Paul and Chris Christie (54); and in the 40s in 2016, the following: Scott Walker (49); Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan (46); Marco Rubio and Bobby Jindal (45), a total of nine other potential Presidents.

The Democrats have fewer alternatives: in the 50s in 2016 are: Andrew Cuomo (59); Amy Klobuchar (56); Martin O’Malley (54); and Kirsten Gillibrand (50). No one in their forties is seen as a potential Democratic nominee.

So we might end up with the oldest combination of Presidential candidates in American history, with Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney being front runners for now, and both reaching 70 within months of taking the oath of office!