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The Next US President Will Likely Remain One of the Oldest National Leaders on the Planet


Joe Biden, at 81, is the oldest American president, a title he has held since taking office at age 78. As Biden runs for re-election in 2024, he is the ninth-oldest national leader in the world, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. Former President Donald Trump, who is running again for the White House this year, is younger than Biden. But at 77, Trump is also among the 20 oldest world leaders compared to those currently in power.

  According to a recent Center poll, American voters are skeptical about both candidates' suitability for the job. Only about four in ten registered US voters are extremely or very confident that Trump has the mental ability to become president (38%), while the same share are confident in his physical fitness (36%). Even fewer people express this level of confidence in Biden's mental (21%) and physical (15%) fitness for the role.

The youngest national leader today is Ibrahim Traore from Burkina Faso, who is 36 years old. He is only slightly ahead of his two 36-year-old colleagues, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa and Montenegrin Prime Minister Milojko Spajic. Only two other world leaders are over thirty: Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris and Chilean President Gabriel Boric.

The oldest national leader is Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who was born in 1933 and took office more than 40 years ago. Biya is the only current national leader over 90.

As of May 1, 2024. The largest proportion of world leaders today (34%) are aged 60. About a quarter (22%) are over 50; 19% are over 70 years old; and 16% are over 40 years of age. Biden is among the top 5% over 80.

In countries that Freedom House classifies as "not free", the average age of a national leader is 68 years old. 62 years in countries classified as "partly free" and 60 years in countries classified as "free".

In most countries, the leader is significantly older than the average member of the population.  For example, according to UN projections for 2024, the average American will be 38 years old, and Biden will be more than twice that age. In fact, the few countries that have a leader younger than the average age of the country's resident are Montenegro, Ireland and Italy. Andorran Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora, at 44, is the same age as the average Andorran resident. 

In general, countries that Freedom House classifies as free are more likely than those classified as partially free or not free to have leaders who are closer in age to the average person in the country.


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