The subject of candidate age has been the topic of discussion in the media. This leads me to wonder, is there a reason (maybe there is more than one) that the leading candidates are 70+ years old?

To clarify: Biden, Sanders, Trump and Warren are 70+ years.

Insightful reasoned responses that would explain a trend are appreciated.

  • 7
    Because they were born a long time ago? That's kind of a non-question, will end up with a whole lot of opinions and is partially driven, not just by their circumstances but by the strengths and weaknesses of the rest of the Dem contenders, making it extremely open ended. It's not that it is unimportant or that I don't find it somewhat regrettable myself - or would find it so if I were a US citizen - but it still does not make a good question. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 16:46
  • 6
    Consider that the announced Democratic contenders range in age from 37 (Buttigieg) to 78 (Sanders) with a median somewhere around 50, it would seem that the "leading" candidates are leading because the voters either like them better, or because they think they have a better chance of defeating Trump. If they thought that age was all that important, they have plenty of younger choices. (And why should age matter, any more than race, sex, or sexual orientation?)
    – jamesqf
    Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 19:19
  • 5
    I think there are several reasons. First is that it usually takes many years for a politician to work up his or her way up the party hierarchy and become famous enough to be a credible candidate. Second, the baby-boomer generation is about this age too, and they form a large voting block, while younger people often don't vote at all. And third, older people are often seen as more experienced and wiser, than younger people. Which makes an older person a more credible candidate.
    – user29459
    Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 3:59
  • 3
    This is a valid and interesting question and there certainly are reasons inherent to the American political system or politics in general, which cause this effect. Commented Jan 1, 2020 at 23:08
  • 2
    Well, one is an incumbent running for re-election.
    – user29681
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


The main reason is simply that president of the US is the very top position that can be achieved for a (US) politician, and exactly like in most careers one is most likely to reach the top at the end of their career.

A serious candidate needs a lot of experience, a strong network, access to funding, and a solid public image. These things rarely appear overnight and most politicians spend their life patiently building their profile and their network. Given the competition for what is arguably the most powerful job in the world, an old candidate is statistically more likely to have reached the stage where they have a fighting chance than a young one. The same trend is visible in most countries with few exceptions.

  • 1
    Hurrah for taking the lead & positing a reasoned argument!
    – gatorback
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 1:15
  • "The same trend is visible in most countries" - source please. It may be an American thing: The average age at the time of hire for CEOs of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies rose from 46 in 2005 to 58 in 2019 Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 4:37
  • I disagree. Multiple 80yo running for president is not the norm around the world. Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 9:52
  • 1
    The three previous presidents assumed the office at 46, 54, and 47. In fact, they are all younger than Trump. Among world leaders, Putin was 47 when he became the president. Xi Jinping assumed his various roles at 59. Merkel became the chancellor at 51. Narendra Modi was 63 when he became the prime minister. Having several 70+ years old candidates seems more an exception than the norm. Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 0:22
  • According to Wikipedia, US presidents have ranged in age from 42 to 70 upon assuming office, with the median being 55.
    – dan04
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 8:28

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