The Who2 Blog

How Many Other Presidents Turned 50 in Office?

Barack Obama turns 50 years old on this very day.  Question: How many other U.S. presidents have turned 50 while in office?  Take a guess, and we’ll give you the answer after this roll call.

(Did you guess yet? No peeking.)
Here we go:
JAMES K. POLK was, surprisingly, the first president to turn 50 in office. (Who knew he was that young?) He was born in November of 1795, and became president in March of 1845, so he just got into the White House under the wire.  He was our 11th president; it took awhile to get to the under-50 set.
Millard Fillmore missed out by six months. He was born in January of 1800 and took office after the death of Zachary Taylor in July of 1850.
FRANKLIN PIERCE was #2 to turn 50 in office.  He was born in 1804 and took office in 1853.  Good thing he got it done in his first term: he didn’t have a second.
ULYSSES S. GRANT was #3.  He was born in 1822 and took office in 1869, turning 50 three years later.
GROVER CLEVELAND was #4.  He was born in 1837 and took office for his first term in 1885. (Cleveland was also the first president to marry in the White House, the young devil.) 
TEDDY ROOSEVELT was #5, and he was almost too young to turn 50 in the White House.  He was born in 1858 and only 42 when he took office. He turned 50 in October of 1908, just as he was finishing his second term.
John F. Kennedy, alas, didn’t make it. He was only 46 when he died in 1963. He would have needed reelection to have turned 50 in the White House in 1967.
BILL CLINTON was #6.  He was born in 1946 and took office in 1993, turning 50 three years later. 
BARACK OBAMA, our 44th president, is #7.  
So: five six other presidents besides Obama.  With 7 out of 44 total presidents, that means 15.9% of all U.S. presidents have turned 50 in office.
Interestingly, all of the major-party candidates for 2012 (so far) are over 50.  So enjoy the 50th presidential birthday while you can!

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