Why Do Presidents Live So Long?

The average age a president lives is approximately 55 years, however, if you extract those men assassinated, the average leaps to 71.  Simply put: American presidents outlive their contemporaries.  Take a look at the most recent former presidents: Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush will turn 91 later this year; Ford and Reagan died at 93. Even the founders lived longer: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson perished on July 4, 1826 at the ripe age of 90 and 83, respectively.  That was when life expectancy was a mere 40! Today the average American will live to 79 from today.

Time magazine devotes this weeks issue to aging and ask, “why do presidents live so long?”  The answer is pretty obvious.  With 24/7 healthcare and lifelong supervision by the secret service, any medical calamity is quickly identified and treated.  But perhaps there are other reasons, too.  Read the following reports to gain an insight on the longevity of the world’s most powerful man.

Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, “Why Do Presidents Live So Long?” Time, February 12, 2015.

Lawrence K. Altman, “Being President is Tough, but Usually Not Fatal,” New York Times, December 6, 2011.

See also, Wikipedia’s age statistics on U.S. Presidents.

Also of note: as the 2016 race for the White House heats up, we might see the first female president which raises all sorts of questions about health. Hilary Clinton would enter office as old as Ronald Reagan.  For an analysis on why the two (Reagan and Hilary Clinton) do not match up comparatively, see: Stephanie Stamm and Patrick Reis, “Why You Can’t Compare…” National Journal, April 23, 2014.


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