This is meant to be a handy source for readers who are interested in such things as the age of a president upon taking office, the length of time lived after leaving office, place of birth, religious affiliation, and more. There are four sections:
Section 1 — which is split into three parts for ease of reading — lists the presidents by the order in which they held office.
Section 2 consists of three tables — birth order, death order, age at death from oldest to youngest — and a figure — age at death vs. birth year.
Section 3 consists of trivial facts ranging from the recurrence of names to heights to the electoral experience of modern presidents.
Section 4 summarizes electoral results and prospects.
See also “The Modern Presidency: From TR to DJT” for a narrative evaluation of the presidencies from Theodore Roosevelt’s to Donald J. Trump’s.
SECTION 1 — IN 3 PARTS, ARRANGED BY ORDER OF ASCENSION TO THE PRESIDENCY
SECTION 2 — ARRANGED BY ORDER OF BIRTH AND ORDER OF DEATH
The numbers in the left column of the next two tables correspond to the order of ascension to the presidency.
In the following table, living persons are listed in birth order.
Here are the presidents who have died, listed in order of age at death (oldest to youngest):
Finally, the figure immediately below plots death ages against birth years. Note the long decline in the hardiness (and character) of presidents before the 20th century upturn in hardiness (though not always in character):
Sources: U.S. Presidents at infoplease.com; List of Presidents of the United States and List of Presidents of the United States by date of birth at Wikipedia.
SECTION 3 — TRIVIA
Frequency of Birth Year
The graph below is derived from the preceding table. The year which saw the births of the most presidents is 1946: Clinton, G.W. Bush and Trump. There was a 24-year span between the inauguration of Clinton (the second-youngest elected president) and Trump (the oldest elected president).
Recurring First Names
Eight different first names appear more than once in the list of presidents. Here are the names (listed in order of first appearance), with the middle and last names of the presidents to which the names are attached:
Stephen counts as a multiple entry because, officially, Cleveland is the 22nd and 24th president. (Note that I carefully opened this section with the statement that “Eight different first names appear more than once in the list of presidents.”
The unique first names (unique to a president, that is) are Martin, Zachary, Millard, Abraham, Ulysses (born Hiram), Rutherford, Chester, Benjamin, Theodore, Warren, Harry, Dwight (born David), Lyndon, Richard, Gerald (born Leslie), Ronald, Barack, and Donald. Fashions change, but given the current trend, the most likely names to recur are Martin, Zachary, Abraham, Chester, Benjamin, and Theodore.
First Letter of Last Name — Number of Occurrences of Each
Counting Cleveland only once, and assigning V to Van Buren and M to McKinley (à l’américaine), here’s how many times each letter of he alphabet occurs as the first letter of a president’s last name:
You will note that several letters are as yet unused: D, I, Q, S, U, X, Y, and Z.
Gaps between Presidents’ Deaths
This table lists the presidents in the order in which they died and gives the gap (in years) between their deaths:
The gap between the deaths of Washington and Jefferson is 26.55 years, and so on down the list. It happens that the first gap is the longest one. The next longest gap is the 21.25 years between the deaths of Nixon and Reagan.
Deaths During the Administrations of Sitting Presidents
The chart below depicts the death years of presidents. The years are plotted in a saw-tooth pattern, from left to right — row 1, row 2, row 3, row 4, row 5, row 1, row 2, etc. The vertical green and white bands delineate presidential administrations. Washington’s is the first green band, followed by a white band for John Adams, and so on.
Many administrations didn’t experience any presidential deaths. Those administrations with more than one presidential death are as follows:
- John Quincy Adams — Thomas Jefferson and John Adams
- Andrew Jackson — James Monroe and James Madison
- Abraham Lincoln — John Tyler, Martin Van Buren, and Abraham Lincoln (I consider the death of a sitting president to have occurred during his administration.)
- Ulysses S. Grant — Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, and Andrew Johnson
- Grover Cleveland (first administration) — Ulysses S. Grant and Chester Alan Arthur
- William McKinley — Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley
- Herbert C. Hoover — William Howard Taft and Calvin Coolidge
- Richard M. Nixon — Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry S Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson
- George W. Bush — Ronald W. Reagan and Gerald R. Ford.
Living Ex-Presidents During Each Administration
Lincoln, Clinton, G.W. Bush, and Trump are tied for the most living ex-presidents (5 each):
No one has yet equaled or surpassed Lincoln’s 6’4″. Next are LBJ at 6’3″; Jefferson at 6’2-1/2″; Washington, FDR, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, and Trump at 6’2″. Rounding out the 6′ and over list are Jackson, Reagan, and Obama at 6’1″; and Monroe, Buchanan, Garfield, Harding, and Kennedy at 6′.
Electoral Experience of Modern Presidents
The modern presidency began with the adored “activist”, Teddy Roosevelt. From TR to the present, there have been only four (of twenty) presidents who first competed in a general election as a candidate for the presidency: Taft, Hoover, Eisenhower, and Trump. Trump is alone in having had no previous governmental service before becoming president. There’s no moral to this story. Make of it what you will.
SECTION 4 –ELECTORAL RESULTS AND PROSPECTS
The results of general elections since the birth of the Republican Party in 1856:
Note the unusual era from 1952 through 1988, when Republican presidential candidates outpolled their congressional counterparts.
In the table below, electoral votes (EVs) are distributed according to Donald Trump’s share of each-State’s two-party popular vote, and whether that was greater (+) or smaller (-) than George W. Bush’s share in 2000. (Note: for simplicity, I have included in Trump’s total of 305, 2 EVs that Trump would have won from Texas, but for unfaithful electors. I have also ignored 1 EV awarded to Trump under Maine law, which awards an EV to the winner in each congressional district and 2 EVs to the statewide winner. I have included in Hillary Clinton’s total 6 EVs that eluded her because of faithless electors in Hawaii and Washington.)
I arbitrarily (but reasonably) sorted the 16 share/trend columns into 6 “solidity groups”, indicated by the color-coded values near the bottom of the table. Shades of red, from dark to light, indicate the degree of likelihood that the States in those groups will stay in the GOP camp. Shades of blue from light to dark, indicate the degree of likelihood that States in those groups will stay in the Democrat camp.
The two groups in the center — lightest red and lightest blue — comprise the at-risk EVs for the two parties. Unsurprisingly, there are far more at-risk GOP EVs than there are at-risk Democrat EVs: 155 to 24.