Which states have produced the most U.S. presidents?

Which states have produced the most U.S. presidents?

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Depending on how you calculate things, several different states can lay claim to producing the most commanders in chief. Going by birthplace, Virginia is the winner, with eight of its native sons holding the country’s highest office (including four of the first five presidents): George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. However, Ohio also claims eight presidents with deep roots in the Buckeye State: William Henry Harrison, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Taft and Warren Harding. All of these men are Ohio natives except for William Henry Harrison, who was born in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, in 1773. As an adult, Harrison moved to Ohio, where he served as a U.S. representative and U.S. senator from his adopted home state; he was living there when he won the presidency in 1840. (Harrison has the dubious distinction of being the first president to pass away in office; he succumbed to complications from pneumonia a month after his 1841 inauguration. Coincidentally, three other Ohio natives, Garfield, McKinley and Harding, also died in office.)

Using another calculation—which state a person was primarily affiliated with when elected president—Ohio can call six presidents its own (Benjamin Harrison and Ulysses Grant were residing in Indiana and Illinois, respectively, when elected), while New York also can claim six chief executives: Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur (born in Vermont but raised in New York), Grover Cleveland (born in New Jersey but later governor of New York), Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. Virginia can tally five presidents using this metric—William Henry Harrison was living in Ohio when elected, Taylor was raised in Kentucky but primarily associated with Louisiana when he won the presidency, and Wilson was governor of New Jersey when elected.

In contrast to these top breeding grounds for Oval Office occupants, a number of states have yet to send anyone to the White House. To date, only 21 states have been the birthplace of a commander in chief and just 18 states can lay claim to presidents based on primary state affiliation.

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List of presidents of the United States by education

Most presidents of the United States received a college education, even most of the earliest. Of the first seven presidents, five were college graduates. College degrees have set the presidents apart from the general population, and presidents have held degrees even though it was quite rare and unnecessary for practicing most occupations, including law. Of the forty-four individuals to have been the president, twenty-four of them graduated from a private undergraduate college, nine graduated from a public undergraduate college, and twelve held no degree. Every president since 1953 has had a bachelor's degree, reflecting the increasing importance of higher education in the United States.

Twenty-one states have the distinction of being the birthplace of a president. One president's birth state is in dispute North and South Carolina (British colonies at the time) both lay claim to Andrew Jackson, who was born in 1767, in the Waxhaw region along their common border. Jackson himself considered South Carolina as his birth state. [1] Born on December 5, 1782, Martin Van Buren was the first president born an American citizen (and not a British subject). [2]

The term Virginia dynasty is sometimes used to describe the fact that four of the first five U.S. presidents were from Virginia. The number of presidents born per state, counting Jackson as being from South Carolina, are:

  • One: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and South Carolina
  • Two: North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont
  • Four: Massachusetts
  • Five: New York
  • Seven: Ohio
  • Eight: Virginia

The birthplaces and early childhood residences of many U.S. presidents have been preserved or replicated. In instances where a physical structure is absent, a monument or roadside marker has been erected to denote the site's historic significance. All sites in the table below are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A dramatic shift in childbirth from home to hospital occurred in the United States in the early 20th century (mid–1920s to 1940). [4] Reflective of this trend, Jimmy Carter and all presidents born during and after World War II (Bill Clinton and every president since) have been born in a hospital, not a private residence. This sortable table is ordered by the presidents' birthdates.

George Washington

Known as the father of the nation, George Washington (April 30, 1789 to March 4, 1797) served as the first president of the United States. He served as commander in chief during the American Revolution and afterward presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1787. With no precedent for selecting a president, it fell to the members of the Electoral College to choose the nation's first leader two years later.

Over the course of two terms, Washington established many of the traditions the office still observes today. Deeply concerned that the office of president not be seen as that of a monarch, but as one of the people, Washington insisted that he be called "Mr. President," rather than "Your Excellency." During his tenure, the U.S. established rules for federal spending, normalized relations with its former enemy Great Britain, and laid the groundwork for the future capital, Washington, D.C.

Which US States Have Produced the Most Presidents?

U.S. presidents and their places of birth: (Top row, from left) Thomas Jefferson (Virginia), Abraham Lincoln (Kentucky), Ulysses S. Grant (Ohio), Barack Obama (Hawaii), (Bottom row from left) Grover Cleveland (New Jersey), Franklin D. Roosevelt (New York), George W. Bush (Connecticut), John F. Kennedy (Massachusetts) (AP Photos)

Virginia and Ohio top the list when it comes to the number of U.S. presidents each state has produced.

Virginia has produced eight presidents, including some of the nation&rsquos earliest leaders such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. The seven presidents who hailed from Ohio include Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and James A. Garfield. It&rsquos possible Ohio could tie Virginia &mdash if Republican John Kasich succeeds in his bid for the presidency.

Four presidents have come from New York. The Big Apple could add another number to its tally by the end of this election cycle since both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders hail from New York City, although Sanders is now a senator from Vermont.

Presidential hopefuls Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, along with Republican Donald Trump, all have ties to New York. (AP Photos)

As with presidential hopeful Sanders, many of the presidents&rsquo places of birth are not necessarily the states with which they are primarily affiliated.

For example, George W. Bush was governor of Texas but he was born in Connecticut. And, although Abraham Lincoln was a Congressman from Illinois, his place of birth was Kentucky.

Virginia was the wealthiest and most populous state in country&rsquos earliest days which helps explains why so many of the young nation&rsquos first few leaders came from there.

However, the state&rsquos influence has waned considerably the last U.S. president from Virginia was Woodrow Wilson, who served from 1913 to 1921.

Ohio was considered a more central state back when it was a pipeline to the presidency. The politicians produced by the Buckeye state tended to be more moderate, making them more attractive candidates for national office. However, Ohio has not birthed a president since Warren Harding, who governed from 1921 until 1923 (before dying of an apparent heart attack).

Which President Created the Most Jobs?

Presidents often point to the number of new jobs created under their presidency as an indicator of their success. However, the relative size of the total workforce during a presidency may be an even better indicator into how the new jobs created are affecting the workforce.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bill Clinton leads all other presidents in new jobs created under his presidency with nearly 19 million new jobs created between 1993-2001. Ronald Reagan comes in a close second with 16.5 million new jobs created between 1981-1989. However, the jobs created under Reagan were a larger chunk of the total workforce during his presidency when compared to Clinton’s presidency, with 15.4 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively.

Presidents who created the most jobs were predictably two-term presidents, however Jimmy Carter created the third-most jobs of all presidents with 9.8 million created in just one term between 1977-1981. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served a record three terms before dying in office, created the most jobs relative to the total workforce during his presidency at 17 percent.

This chart shows the number of new jobs created and their percentage of total employment for each president.

President: Barack Obama (undergraduate) Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt (law school)
Vice President: Daniel D. Tompkins

Columbia’s representation looks strong at a glance, but there are several caveats. Barack Obama transferred to the school from Occidental. The two Roosevelts each started law school there, but each withdrew before graduating.

Only Tompkins enjoyed a full education at the school, though he attended way back in the 18th century.

Still, with four presidential figures in its history, Columbia ranks sixth overall.

Presidents With the Best and Worst Average Annual Growth

One method that reduces the impact of these extremes is the average annual growth rate. That’s the sum of all the growth rates during a president’s term in office, divided by the number of years.

The presidents with the best growth will average between 2% and 3%, which many economists consider the healthiest range.

Three presidents have had average annual growth within this ideal range: Presidents Dwight Eisenhower at 3%, George H. W. Bush at 2.3%, and George W. Bush at 2.2%. Roosevelt’s 9.3% annual average was the highest, while Hoover’s was the lowest.

Post-World War II, President Lyndon B. Johnson had the highest average, at 5.2%. He boosted growth with government spending on the Vietnam War and the Great Society programs. The next was President John F. Kennedy, at 4.4%. During his term, the 1960 recession ended.

The lowest post-World War II annual average was under President Trump, at 1%. Despite healthy growth during the first three years of his term, the economy was battered by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Both Presidents Ford and Obama had average annual growth rates of 1.6%. Ford's suffered from stagflation caused during the Nixon years, while Obama struggled with the financial crisis that had begun under President Bush’s term.

Who Are the Most Moderate Presidents in U.S. History?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

By Jonathan Cassie, Educator,

James Monroe, Chester Arthur, and Dwight Eisenhower. Mindful that moderate is itself a loaded (and potentially not very helpful) term, I would argue that these three presidents' administrations were marked by decisions which, in hindsight, seem to reflect a uniquely American consensus.

Monroe (1817-1825) had the advantage of being president during what was America's only real period of one-party rule. Monroe's presidential appointments crossed the fading party lines that only just barely existed anyway his decisions contributed to the disappearance of both the Federalists and, frankly, his own party. One might also look at the Missouri Compromise, negotiated during his presidency, as an example of a typical, antebellum, moderate compromise.

Arthur (1881-1885), who became president upon the death of James Garfield, is certainly an unlikely figure to be on this kind of list. My argument in Arthur's favor is that he was responsible for ensuring the passage of the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, the law that professionalized government institutions and that, for better or for worse, created the depoliticized bureaucracy. What we have now is, undoubtedly, better than what we'd have if hundreds of thousands of government jobs were meant to be dispensed by new administrations. And for that, we have Arthur to thank.

Eisenhower's (1953-1961) claim is to be the sole Republican during a high water mark for New Deal Democrats. Certainly one of the great achievements of his administration was to set in motion the construction of the Interstate Highway System, and this is the sort of legislation that during the Industrial Age of the United States, was bipartisan and moderate (it was contentious in the pre-industrial age and is contentious again now).

The 5 Very Worst Presidents in American History

There is little doubt that history eventually will fix upon the majority view—that Bush unleashed the surge of chaos, bloodshed and misery that now has the region in its grip. As Princeton’s Sean Wilentz wrote in 2006, when Bush still sat in the Oval Office, “Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.” And bear in mind that Bush also presided over the emergence of one of the most devastating financial crises in the country’s history.

If you wanted to identify, with confidence, the very worst president in American history, how would you go about it? One approach would be to consult the various academic polls on presidential rankings that have been conducted from time to time since Harvard’s Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. pioneered this particular survey scholarship in 1948. Bad idea.

Most of those surveys identify Warren G. Harding of Ohio as the worst ever. This is ridiculous. Harding presided over very robust economic times. Not only that, but he inherited a devastating economic recession when he was elected in 1920 and quickly turned bad times into good times, including a 14 percent GDP growth rate in 1922. Labor and racial unrest declined markedly during his watch. He led the country into no troublesome wars.

(This first appeared several years ago and is being reposted due to reader interest.)

There was, of course, the Teapot Dome scandal that implicated major figures in his administration, but there was never any evidence that the president himself participated in any venality. As Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, put it, “Harding wasn’t a bad man. He was just a slob.”

The academic surveys also consistently place near the bottom James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania. Now here’s a man who truly lacked character and watched helplessly as his country descended into the worst crisis of its history. He stepped into the presidency with a blatant lie to the American people. In his inaugural address, he promised he would accept whatever judgment the Supreme Court rendered in the looming Dred Scott case. What he didn’t tell the American people was that he already knew what that judgment was going to be (gleaned through highly inappropriate conversations with justices). This is political cynicism of the rankest sort.

But Buchanan’s failed presidency points to what may be a pertinent distinction in assessing presidential failure. Buchanan was crushed by events that proved too powerful for his own weak leadership. And so the country moved inexorably into one of the worst crises in its history. But Buchanan didn’t create the crisis he merely was too wispy and vacillating to get control of it and thus lead the nation to some kind of resolution. It took his successor, Abraham Lincoln, to do that.

That illustrates the difference between failure of omission and failure of commission—the difference between presidents who couldn’t handle gathering crises and presidents who actually created the crises.

In the realm of commission failure, three presidents come to mind—Woodrow Wilson, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Bear in mind here that nearly all failed presidents have their defenders, who argue, sometimes with elaborate rationales, that the perceived failure wasn’t really failure or that it wasn’t really the fault of this particular president. We see this in stark reality in our own time, with the ongoing debates about the presidency of the second Bush, reflected in the reaction to senator Rand Paul’s recent suggestion that GOP hawks, with their incessant calls for U.S. intrusion into the lands of Islam, contributed to the rise of the violent radicalism of the Islamic State.

The prevailing view of Bush is that his invasion of Iraq, the greatest example in American history of what is known as “preventive war,” proved to be one of the most colossal foreign policy blunders in all of American history, if not actually the greatest. According to this view, Bush destabilized the Middle East, essentially lit it on fire and fostered the resultant rise of the Islamic State and the deepening sectarian war between Sunni and Shia Muslims in the region. Where this all leads, nobody can tell, but clearly it is going to play out, with devastating consequences, for a long time to come.

But of course there are those who deny that Bush created all this chaos. No, they say, Bush actually had Iraq under control and it was his hapless successor, Barack Obama, who let it all fall apart again by not maintaining a U.S. military force in the country. This is the minority view, embraced tenaciously by many people with a need to gloss over their own complicity in the mess.

There is little doubt that history eventually will fix upon the majority view—that Bush unleashed the surge of chaos, bloodshed and misery that now has the region in its grip. As Princeton’s Sean Wilentz wrote in 2006, when Bush still sat in the Oval Office, “Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.” And bear in mind that Bush also presided over the emergence of one of the most devastating financial crises in the country’s history.

Then there’s Nixon, whose Watergate transgressions thrust the nation into one of its most harrowing constitutional crises. There are some who argue that Nixon’s transgressions weren’t actually as egregious as many believe, particularly when viewed carefully in the context of the maneuverings and manipulations of many of his people, some of them conducted behind the president’s back. There may be some truth in this. But in the end it doesn’t matter. He was president and must take responsibility for the culture and atmosphere he created in the West Wing and the Old Executive Office Building. If his people were running around and breaking the law, he must bear responsibility, whatever his knowledge or complicity. And we know definitively that Nixon himself set the tone in his inner circle—a tone so dark, defensive and menacing that wrongdoing was almost the inevitable result. Also, there can be no dispute that the president himself stepped over the line on numerous occasions.

Which brings us to Woodrow Wilson, whose failures of commission probably had the most dire consequences of any U.S. president. His great flaw was his sanctimonious nature, more stark and distilled than that of any other president, even John Quincy Adams (who was no piker in the sanctimony department). He thought he always knew best, because he thought he knew more than anybody else. Combine that with a powerful humanitarian sensibility, and you get a president who wants to change the world for the betterment of mankind. Watch out for such leaders.

Even during his first term, with war raging in Europe, he sought to get the United States involved as a neutral mediator, fostering a peace agreement to break the tragic stalemate that had the nations of Europe in its grip. When that effort was rebuffed, he ran for reelection by hailing himself as the man who kept the United States out of the war.

But, immediately upon entering his second term, he sought to get his country into the war by manipulating neutrality policy. While proclaiming U.S. neutrality, he favored Britain by observing the British blockade of Germany (imposed, said a young Winston Churchill, to starve Germans, including German infants, into submission) and by allowing armed British merchant ships entry to U.S. ports, which in turn fostered a flow of U.S. munitions to the Allied powers. At the same time, Wilson declared that Germany would be held to a “strict accountability” for any American loss of life or property from Germany’s submarine attacks. This policy applied, said Wilson, even if affected Americans traveling or working on British or French ships. He declined to curtail what he considered Americans’ “right” to travel on vessels tied to France or Britain (but not Germany).

Wilson was warned, most notably by his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, that these lopsided policies inevitably would pull America into the war. When he ignored those warnings, Bryan resigned from the Wilson cabinet on a stand of principle.

As Bryan predicted, America did get pulled into the conflict, and it certainly appears that that was Wilson’s intention all along. Then three things happened.

First, Wilson conducted the war in ways that devastated the home front. Prices shot up into double digits, and then came a potent economic recession that lasted three years. He accepted the suppression of civil liberties by his notorious attorney general, A. Mitchell Palmer. His government nationalized many private industries, including the telegraph, telephone and railroad industries, along with the distribution of coal. Race riots erupted in numerous cities that claimed nearly 150 lives in two years.

Second, America’s entry into the war broke the stalemate, allowing the Allied powers to impose upon Germany devastating armistice terms. Third, when Wilson went to the Versailles peace conference bent on bringing to bear his humanitarian outlook and making the world safe for democracy, he promptly got outmaneuvered by the canny nationalist leaders of Britain and France, whose agenda had nothing to do with Wilson’s dreamy notions about a harmonious world born of his humanitarian vision.


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