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By Jim Poserina
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Presidential deaths have been rare in America lately. President Reagan's was only the second in more than 31 years, the longest such stretch in history. A baby born the day President Johnson died would have already been old enough to drink by the time the nation next mourned, that time for President Nixon.

Because President Reagan broke the record for longest-lived President, few have noticed that President Ford is right up there with him. On March 18 of this year, he also surpassed President John Adams' mark of 90 years 247 days, moving into second place on the all-time list. President Bush (41) has just yesterday become the tenth President to celebrate the 41st anniversary of his 39th birthday, and in October President Carter would become the eleventh.

Until last Saturday we had five living former Presidents for the second time, which is the most we've ever had. There were five (Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush) between President Clinton's first inauguration and President Nixon's death one year, ninety-two days later, and five (Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton) between President George W. Bush's inauguration and the death of President Reagan three years, one hundred thirty-seven days later. 

The most living former, current, and future Presidents? Obviously we don't know how many there are now, but the most there have definitely ever been was 18, which happened four times (1822-1826, 1833-1836, 1837-1841, 1843-1845). The fewest living former, current, and future Presidents between the first Presidential inauguration (1789) and the latest someone eligible for President could be born (1969) there have ever been at one time? Nine, between the death of Grover Cleveland (June 24, 1908) and the birth of Lyndon Johnson (August 27, 1908).  The number has been going down ever since the birth of the most recently born President, Bill Clinton, in August 1946, when there were twelve. It will next rise upon the inauguration of the nation's 44th President.

Presidential deaths tend to come in fits and starts. Like President Nixon's, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's death was the only one in a span of more than 30 years. Then we lost five President over the next decade: President Kennedy, 1963; President Hoover, 1964; President Eisenhower, 1969; President Truman, 1972; and President Johnson, 1973.  That was it until President Nixon in 1994.

President is both a job and a role; the President is both head of government and head of state. It is for this important reason that we are intrigued about Presidential trivia and not, say, Senate Majority Leader trivia or Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee trivia.

When President Johnson died in 1973, there were no living former Presidents. Out of curiosity I wanted to find out how many times that had happened. It's pretty rare, having happened four other times (not including when President Washington was in office and there were no former Presidents, living or otherwise).

What follows are some useless but interesting statistics on Presidential ages and deaths. I computed them using Excel, so some of the stats may be off by one day because of the leap-year rules in century years and because Excel doesn't work with dates before 1900. Grover Cleveland's non-consecutive terms made things much more confusing too.


Times with no living former Presidents:

Last Former President Died Incumbent President Incumbent
Left Office
Duration
George Washington Dec. 14, 1799 John Adams Mar. 4, 1801 1 y 80 d
Andrew Johnson July 31, 1875 Ulysses S. Grant Mar. 4, 1877 1 y 217 d
Grover Cleveland June 24, 1908 Theodore Roosevelt Mar. 4, 1909 253 d
Calvin Coolidge Jan. 5, 1933 Herbert Hoover Mar. 4, 1933 58 d
Lyndon B. Johnson Jan. 22, 1973 Richard M. Nixon Aug. 9, 1974 1 y 199 d

Had Presidents Adams, Grant, Roosevelt, Hoover, or Nixon died during those intervals, for a brief instant it would have been the first time since the morning of April 30, 1789, that not a single person on the face of the earth could say that he either was or had once been President of the United States.

Times with no or only one living former President. The number would become one either 1) upon the death of the other living former President when there were only two, or 2) upon a President's leaving office when there were no other living former Presidents. It would change either 1) upon his death or 2) upon the incumbent President's becoming a former President himself.

Former President From To Incumbent President(s) Duration
George Washington March 4, 1797² Dec. 14, 1799¹ John Adams 2 y 285 d
none Dec. 14, 1799¹ March 4, 1801² John Adams 1 y 80 d
John Adams March 4, 1801² March 4, 1809² Thomas Jefferson 8 y
John Quincy Adams June 28, 1836¹ March 4, 1837² Andrew Jackson 249 d
Andrew Johnson March 8, 1874¹ July 31, 1875¹ Ulysses S. Grant 1 y 204 d
none July 31, 1875¹ March 4, 1877² Ulysses S. Grant 1 y 217 d
Ulysses S. Grant March 4, 1877² March 4, 1881² Rutherford B. Hayes 4 y
Rutherford B. Hayes Nov. 18, 1886¹ March 4, 1889² Grover Cleveland 2 y 107 d
Grover Cleveland Jan. 17, 1893¹ March 4, 1893² Benjamin Harrison 46 d
Benjamin Harrison March 4, 1893² March 4, 1897² Grover Cleveland 4 y
Grover Cleveland March 13, 1901¹ June 24, 1908¹ William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
7 y 104 d
none June 24, 1908¹ March 4, 1909² Theodore Roosevelt 253 d
Theodore Roosevelt March 4, 1909² March 4, 1913² William Howard Taft 4 y
William Howard Taft Jan. 6, 1919¹ March 4, 1921² Woodrow Wilson 2 y 57 d
William Howard Taft Feb. 3, 1924¹ March 4, 1929² Calvin Coolidge 5 y 29 d
Calvin Coolidge March 8, 1930¹ Jan. 5, 1933¹ Herbert Hoover 2 y 304 d
none Jan. 5, 1933¹ March 4, 1933² Herbert Hoover 58 d
Herbert Hoover March 4, 1933² Jan. 20, 1953² Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
19 y 323 d
Lyndon B. Johnson Dec. 26, 1972¹ Jan. 22, 1973¹ Richard M. Nixon 27 d
none Jan. 22, 1973¹ August 9, 1974² Richard M. Nixon 1 y 199 d
Richard M. Nixon August 9, 1974² Jan. 20, 1977² Gerald R. Ford 2 y 165 d


President Johnson died less than a month after President Truman. Here are the only Presidents to die less than two years apart:

President Died President Died Interval
Thomas Jefferson July 4, 1826 John Adams July 4, 1826 hours
Harry S Truman Dec. 26, 1972 Lyndon B. Johnson Jan. 22, 1973 27 d
Benjamin Harrison March 13, 1901 William McKinley Sept. 14, 1901 185 d
Warren G. Harding August 2, 1923 Woodrow Wilson Feb. 3, 1923 185 d
John Tyler Jan. 18, 1862 Martin Van Buren July 24, 1862 187 d
John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963 Herbert Hoover Oct. 20, 1964 333 d
James K. Polk June 15, 1849 Zachary Taylor June 9, 1850 1 y 23 d
John Quincy Adams Feb. 23, 1848 James K. Polk June 15, 1849 1 y 113 d
Ulysses S. Grant July 23, 1885 Chester A. Arthur Nov. 18, 1886 1 y 118 d
James Buchanan June 1, 1868 Franklin Pierce Oct. 8, 1869 1 y 129 d
Millard Fillmore March 8, 1874 Andrew Johnson July 31, 1875 1 y 145 d

Here are the only times that consecutive Presidential deaths were more than 10 years apart:

President Died President Died Interval
George Washington Dec. 14, 1799 Thomas Jefferson July 4, 1826 26 y 203 d
Lyndon B. Johnson Jan. 22, 1973 Richard M. Nixon April 22, 1994 21 y 90 d
Franklin D. Roosevelt April 12, 1945 John F. Kennedy Nov. 22, 1963 18 y 224 d
Calvin Coolidge Jan. 5, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt April 12, 1945 12 y 97 d
Zachary Taylor July 9, 1850 John Tyler Jan. 18, 1862 11 y 194 d
Grover Cleveland June 24, 1908 Theodore Roosevelt Jan. 6, 1919 10 y 196 d
Richard M. Nixon April 22, 1994 Ronald Reagan June 5, 2004 10 y 44 d


Shortest spans between multiple Presidential deaths:

Number Interval From To Presidents
Three 2 y 136 d Feb. 23, 1848 July 9, 1850 John Quincy Adams
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Four 5 y 31 d June 8, 1845 July 9, 1850 Andrew Jackson
John Quincy Adams
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Five 7 y 264 d Jan. 18, 1862 Oct. 8, 1869 John Tyler
Martin Van Buren
Abraham Lincoln
James Buchanan
Franklin Pierce
Six 12 y 50 d Jan. 18, 1862 March 8, 1874 John Tyler
Martin Van Buren
Abraham Lincoln
James Buchanan
Franklin Pierce
Millard Fillmore
Seven 13 y 195 d Jan. 18, 1862 July 31, 1875 John Tyler
Martin Van Buren
Abraham Lincoln
James Buchanan
Franklin Pierce
Millard Fillmore
Andrew Johnson
Eight 19 y 245 d Jan. 18, 1862 Sept. 19, 1881 John Tyler
Martin Van Buren
Abraham Lincoln
James Buchanan
Franklin Pierce
Millard Fillmore
Andrew Johnson
James A. Garfield

Longest spans between multiple Presidential deaths:

Number Interval From To Presidents
Three 31 y 134 d Jan. 22, 1973 June 5, 2004 Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Ronald Reagan
Four 33 y 260 d March 8, 1930 Nov. 22, 1963 William Howard Taft
Calvin Coolidge
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Five 39 y 293 d Feb. 3, 1924 Nov. 22, 1963 Woodrow Wilson
William Howard Taft
Calvin Coolidge
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Six 41 y 112 d Dec. 14, 1799 April 4, 1841 George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
John Adams
James Monroe
James Madison
William Henry Harrison
Seven 49 y 12 d April 12, 1945 April 22, 1994 Franklin Delano Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Herbert Hoover
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Harry S Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Eight 61 y 109 d Jan. 5, 1933 April 22, 1994 Calvin Coolidge
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Herbert Hoover
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Harry S Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon


Most and fewest Presidential deaths over a given timespan:

Interval Fewest Span Most Span
One year 0 lots 2 1826
1972-1973
1901
1862
1963-1964
Two years 0 lots 2 1826
1972-1973
1901
1862
1963-1964
1849-1850
1848-1849
1885-1886
1868-1869
1874-1875
Five years 0 lots 3 1848-1850
1862-1865
1969-1972
1845-1849
1865-1869
1826-1831
Ten years 0 1799-1826
1973-1994
1945-1963
1850-1862
1908-1919
1994-2004
5 1862-1869
1963-1973
1841-1850
20 years 0 1799-1826
1973-1994
8 1862-1881
30 years 1 1973-2004
1933-1963
10 1862-1886
1848-1875
1841-1869
1845-1874
50 y 6 1933-1994
1908-1963
1945-2004
16 1826-1875
75 years 9 1924-2004 21 1826-1901
100 years 14 1901-2004 26 1826-1924
For fewest deaths, the year spans are exclusive; i.e. the span 1901-2004 under "100 years" begins September 15, 1901, the day after President McKinley's death, and ends June 4, 2004, the day before President Reagan's death. While actually more than 100 years, selecting any 100-year span in that range will result in the 100-year span with the fewest Presidential deaths.

For most deaths, the spans are inclusive; i.e. the span 1826-1924 under "100 years" begins July 4, 1826, the day of President Adams' and President Jefferson's deaths, and ends February 3, 1924, the day of President Wilson's death. While actually less than 100 years, adding a number of days before and/or after these dates to total one hundred years will result in the 100-year span with the most Presidential deaths.


Presidential Deaths by decade:

1790-1799 1 1900-1909 3
1800-1809 0 1910-1919 1
1810-1819 0 1920-1929 2
1820-1829 2 1930-1939 2
1830-1839 2 1940-1949 1
1840-1849 4 1950-1959 0
1850-1859 1 1960-1969 3
1860-1869 5 1970-1979 2
1870-1879 2 1980-1989 0
1880-1889 3 1990-1999 1
1890-1899 2 2000-2004 1


Longest Presidential retirements, 15 years or more (those still living in bold; fl. is the abbreviation of the Latin flourit, meaning still alive as of that date):

President Left Office Died Interval
Herbert Hoover March 4, 1933 Oct. 20, 1964 31 y 231 d
Gerald R. Ford Jan. 20, 1977 fl. June 13, 2004 27 y 145 d
John Adams March 4, 1801 July 4, 1826 25 y 122 d
Jimmy Carter Jan. 20, 1981 fl. June 13, 2004 23 y 145 d
Martin Van Buren March 4, 1841 July 24, 1862 21 y 142 d
Millard Fillmore March 4, 1853 March 8, 1874 21 y 4 d
Harry S. Truman Jan. 20, 1953 Dec. 26, 1972 19 y 341 d
Richard M. Nixon August 9, 1974 April 22, 1994 19 y 257 d
James Madison March 4, 1809 June 28, 1836 19 y 117 d
John Quincy Adams March 4, 1829 Feb. 23, 1848 18 y 356 d
Thomas Jefferson March 4, 1809 July 4, 1826 17 y 122 d
William Howard Taft March 4, 1913 March 8, 1930 17 y 4 d
John Tyler March 4, 1845 Jan. 18, 1862 16 y 320 d
Ronald Regan Jan. 20, 1989 June 5, 2004 15 y 137 d

President Ford would pass President Hoover as the longest-retired President on Sept. 8, 2008. President Carter would pass President Hoover on Sept. 8, 2012.

Shortest Presidential retirements, 10 years or less (those still alive excluded; Grover Cleveland's first retirement excluded; 1) did not outlive successor; 2) successor died in office but would not have had successor completed his term; 3) outlived successor's first term but not second term):

President Left Office Died Interval
James K. Polk¹ March 4, 1849 June 15, 1849 103 d
Chester A. Arthur¹ March 4, 1885 Nov. 18, 1886 1 y 259 d
George Washington¹ March 4, 1797 Dec. 14, 1799 2 y 285 d
Woodrow Wilson² March 4, 1921 Feb. 3, 1924 2 y 336 d
Calvin Coolidge¹ March 4, 1929 Jan. 5, 1933 2 y 308 d
Lyndon B. Johnson¹ Jan. 20, 1969 Jan. 22, 1973 4 y 2 d
James Monroe March 4, 1825 July 4, 1831 6 y 122 d
Andrew Johnson³ March 4, 1869 July 31, 1975 6 y 149 d
James Buchanan March 4, 1861 June 1, 1868 7 y 90 d
Benjamin Harrison March 4, 1893 March 13, 1901 8 y 9 d
Dwight D. Eisenhower Jan. 20, 1961 March 28, 1969 8 y 67 d
Andrew Jackson March 4, 1837 June 8, 1845 8 y 96 d
Ulysses S. Grant March 4, 1877 July 23, 1885 8 y 141 d
Theodore Roosevelt March 4, 1909 Jan. 6, 1919 9 y 308 d


Longest-lived Presidents (those still living in bold):

President Born Died Age
Ronald Reagan Feb. 6, 1911 June 5, 2004 93 y 120 d
Gerald R. Ford July 14, 1913 fl. June 13, 2004 90 y 335 d
John Adams Oct. 30, 1735 July 4, 1826 90 y 247 d
Herbert Hoover August 10, 1874 Oct. 20, 1964 90 y 71 d
Harry Truman May 8, 1884 Dec. 26, 1972 88 y 231 d
James Madison March 16, 1751 June 28, 1836 85 y 104 d
Thomas Jefferson April 13, 1743 July 4, 1826 83 y 82 d
Richard M. Nixon Jan. 9, 1913 April 22, 1994 81 y 103 d
John Quincy Adams July 11, 1787 Feb. 23, 1848 80 y 226 d
George Bush June 12, 1924 fl. June 13, 2004 80 y 1 d
Jimmy Carter Oct. 1, 1924 fl. June 13, 2004 79 y 256 d

President Ford would pass President Reagan the longest-lived President on November 12, 2006. President Bush would pass President Reagan on October 11, 2017.  President Carter would pass President Reagan on January 30, 2018.

Shortest-lived Presidents (1. assassinated in office; 2. died naturally in office):

President Born Died Age
John F. Kennedy¹ May 29, 1917 November 22, 1963 46 years, 177 days
James A. Garfield¹ November 19, 1831 September 19, 1881 49 years, 305 days
James K. Polk November 2, 1795 June 15, 1849 53 years, 225 days
Abraham Lincoln¹ February 12, 1809 April 15, 1865 56 years, 62 days
Chester A. Arthur October 5, 1829 November 18, 1886 57 years, 43 days
Warren G. Harding² November 2, 1865 August 2, 1923 57 years, 272 days
William McKinley¹ January 29, 1843 September 14, 1901 58 years, 228 days
Theodore Roosevelt October 27, 1858 January 26, 1919 60 years, 70 days
Calvin Coolidge July 4, 1872 January 5, 1933 60 years, 184 days


Oldest Presidents

President Born Entered Office Age
Ronald Reagan February 6, 1911 January 20, 1981 69 years, 349 days
William Henry Harrison February 9, 1773 March 4, 1841 68 years, 22 days
James Buchanan April 23, 1791 March 4, 1857 65 years, 315 days
George Bush June 12, 1924 January 20, 1989 64 years, 222 days
Zachary Taylor November 24, 1784 March 4, 1849 64 years, 99 days
Woodrow Wilson December 28, 1856 March 4, 1913 64 years, 65 days
Dwight D. Eisenhower October 14, 1890 January 20, 1953 62 years, 98 days
Andrew Jackson March 15, 1767 March 4, 1829 61 years, 354 days
John Adams October 30, 1735 March 4, 1797 61 years, 126 days
Gerald R. Ford July 14, 1913 August 9, 1974 61 years, 25 days
Harry S Truman May 8, 1884 April 12, 1945 60 years, 338 days

Youngest Presidents

President Born Entered Office Age
Theodore Roosevelt October 27, 1858 September 14, 1901 42 years, 322 days
John F. Kennedy May 29, 1917 January 20, 1961 43 years, 237 days
Bill Clinton August 19, 1946 January 20, 1993 46 years, 155 days
Ulysses S. Grant April 27, 1822 March 4, 1869 46 years, 312 days
Grover Cleveland March 18, 1837 March 4, 1885 47 years, 352 days
Franklin Pierce November 23, 1804 March 4, 1853 48 years, 101 days
James A. Garfield November 19, 1831 March 4, 1881 49 years, 106 days
James K. Polk November 2, 1795 March 4, 1845 49 years, 122 days
Millard Fillmore January 7, 1800 July 9, 1850 50 years, 183 days


Oldest Former Presidents (1. died in office)

President Born Left Office Age
Ronald Reagan February 6, 1911 January 20, 1989 77 years, 349 days
Dwight D. Eisenhower October 14, 1890 January 20, 1961 70 years, 98 days
Andrew Jackson March 15, 1767 March 4, 1837 69 years, 354 days
James Buchanan April 23, 1791 March 4, 1861 69 years, 315 days
Harry S Truman May 8, 1884 January 20, 1953 68 years, 256 days
George Bush June 12, 1924 January 20, 1993 68 years, 222 days
William Henry Harrison¹ February 9, 1773 April 4, 1841 68 years, 53 days
James Monroe April 28, 1758 March 4, 1825 66 years, 310 days
James Madison March 16, 1751 March 4, 1817 65 years, 353 days
Thomas Jefferson April 13, 1743 August 9, 1974 65 years, 325 days

Youngest Former Presidents (those who were assassinated excluded; 1. after first of two non-consecutive terms)

President Born Left Office Age
Theodore Roosevelt October 27, 1858 March 4, 1909 50 years, 128 days
Grover Cleveland¹ March 18, 1837 March 4, 1889 51 years, 352 days
Franklin Pierce November 23, 1804 March 4, 1857 52 years, 101 days
Millard Fillmore January 7, 1800 March 4, 1853 53 years, 55 days
James K. Polk November 2, 1795 March 4, 1849 53 years, 122 days
Bill Clinton August 19, 1946 January 20, 2001 54 years, 155 days
Ulysses S. Grant April 27, 1822 March 4, 1877 54 years, 312 days
John Tyler March 29, 1790 March 4, 1845 54 years, 340 days
Chester A. Arthur October 5, 1829 March 4, 1885 55 years, 151 days
William Howard Taft September 15, 1857 March 4, 1913 55 years, 170 days