Looking at the current list of likely candidates for the 2020 election we can see:

  • Donald Trump: 73
  • Joe Biden: 76
  • Elizabeth Warren: 70
  • Bernie Sanders: 78

Likewise in the previous election 70-year-old Trump was facing 69-year-old Clinton. Does this signify a general trend towards older Presidential candidates?

  • 1
    A trend since when? If we talk since 1776, improvements in healthcare and other technologies make it easier for older people to be active in politics so it would not be surprising. If you consider it a recent trend then as soon as 2008 Barack Obama was only 47, and a couple of elections make it difficult to assess a trend (specially since they are not independent events: for example Trump being the current POTUS makes him a contender for the next election).
    – SJuan76
    Nov 10, 2019 at 10:09
  • 3
    @SJuan76 Lifespan in general has been increasing, yes, but I suspect that the life span of the well-to-do hasn't increased anywhere near as much.
    – Just Me
    Nov 10, 2019 at 15:55
  • 1
    @JustMe Lifespan in general has increased most because child mortality fell from roughly half until the age of 5 in 1800 to almost zero in most of the world today. But even for people who made it alive beyond age 5, life expectancy was around 60 in 1800 and is around 80 now. Difference in life expectancy due to income are much smaller.
    – quarague
    Nov 12, 2019 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


"Presidential candidates" is a tricky term to define, and a large dataset to gather. Taking the ages of Presidents when first sworn in (comparitively easy data to obtain), and assuming that this is a good approximation for age of candidates despite the notes below, it looks instead like the median age has, broadly, been decreasing.

enter image description here


  1. Grover Cleveland has only been included once, despite serving two non-consecutive terms.
  2. Age on swearing in is not the same as their age on election day and, as the date of inauguration day changed following the ratification of the 20th Amendment, the difference between Election Day and inauguration is not constant across time.
  3. Some of the Presidents included here took over as the result of death or resignation of their predecessor, so weren't elected as President prior to their swearing in.
  • 2
    How can the age remain constant at 57 years for the first 19 presidents? Nov 10, 2019 at 16:27
  • 2
    I should have included my workings. I’ll double check them and post, but the gist (if you look at the linked table) was that there were several who were 57, and then it more or less alternated between someone older and someone younger, meaning the median stayed in the range of 57 year old Presidents.
    – owjburnham
    Nov 10, 2019 at 16:54
  • This graph is rounded to 0.5 years and I assume you took age in years?
    – Jan
    Nov 11, 2019 at 11:37
  • @Jan I thought that the median of e.g. 1, 1, 2, 2 is 1.5. But perhaps I should have rounded.
    – owjburnham
    Nov 12, 2019 at 13:23
  • I mean, did you use age in integer years to calculate the average (i.e. 57 rather than 57.235 or 57 and 122 days)? Did you then take that result and round to the closest 0.5 or are the steps of approximately 0.5 just a coincidence?
    – Jan
    Nov 12, 2019 at 13:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .