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Samuel H. Williamson

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Ranking President's Economic Growth Performances, 1901 to Today

Posted: 10/16/2012 10:26 am

Most of the time, presidents have limited impact on the economy and their performance is dictated by where in the business cycle they take office. However, pundits keep comparing them, so here is a list.

This list ranks the growth in annualized Real GDP between the year of taking office and the year of leaving office of all the presidents from 1901 to the present. (The exception is Obama where only the three years he has been in office are used.)

For cases where the president died in office, it lists the vice president that finished out that term. In each case, these vice presidents went on the win an election on their own. Four of the top five on this list are Democrats. Four of the bottom five are Republicans.

  1. Democrat Roosevelt/Truman 1933 to 1949 10.21%
  2. Democrat Truman 1949 to 1953 6.21%
  3. Republican Harding/Coolidge 1921 to 1925 5.95%
  4. Democrat Kennedy/Johnson 1961 to 1965 5.66%
  5. Democrat Johnson 1965 to 1969 4.24%
  6. Republican Coolidge 1925 to 1929 3.64%
  7. Democrat Clinton 1993 to 2001 3.64%
  8. Republican Reagan 1981 to 1989 3.50%
  9. Republican Taft 1909 to 1913 3.23%
  10. Republican Nixon/Ford 1969 to 1977 2.95%
  11. Democrat Carter 1977 to 1981 2.72%
  12. Republican Eisenhower 1953 to 1961 2.67%
  13. Democrat Obama 2009 to 2011 2.38%
  14. Republican Theodore Roosevelt 1901 to 1909 2.15%
  15. Republican George Bush 1989 to 1993 1.96%
  16. Democrat Wilson 1913 to 1921 1.43%
  17. Republican George W. Bush 2001 to 2009 1.42%
  18. Republican Hoover 1929 to 1933 -7.46%
 
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