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2010-08-03 03:33:00 - By

The US Economy Has Grown The Fastest Under Which President?

Barack Obama Illustration - Pop Art - Hope From 1948 through to 2009, the United States economy has grown by an average of 3.28% per year.

The US economy has managed to expand in 52 of the 62 years from 1948-2009. The economy has contracted a total of nine years since 1948, with the worst year coming in 2009 (-2.6%). In 2008, the US economy posted flat growth.

Democrats have occupied the White House in 26 of the 62 years since 1948. Average GDP growth in the country over those 26 years has been 4.01%.

Republicans have occupied the White House in 36 of the 62 years since 1948. Average GDP growth over those 36 years has been 2.75%.

The worst year for the US economy since 1948 came last year (2009), when the GDP contracted by 2.6%.

Here are the worst five years for the economy since 1948:

2009, -2.6%, Barack Obama
1982, -1.9%, Ronald Reagan
1958, -0.9%, Dwight Eisenhower
1974, -0.6%, Richard Nixon / Gerald Ford
1954, -0.6%, Dwight Eisenhower

The best year for the US economy since 1948 came in 1950, when the economy managed to expand by 8.7%.

Here are the top five years since 1948:

1950, 8.7%, Harry Truman
1951, 7.7%, Harry Truman
1955, 7.2%, Dwight Eisenhower
1959, 7.2%, Dwight Eisenhower
1984, 7.2%, Ronald Reagan


Here are the individual performances of each president since 1948:

1948-1952 (Harry S. Truman, Democrat), +4.82%
1953-1960 (Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican), +3%
1961-1964 (John F. Kennedy / Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat), +4.65%
1965-1968 (Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat), +5.05%
1969-1972 (Richard Nixon, Republican), +3%
1973-1976 (Richard Nixon / Gerald Ford, Republican), +2.6%
1977-1980 (Jimmy Carter, Democrat), +3.25%
1981-1988 (Ronald Reagan, Republican), 3.4%
1989-1992 (George H. W. Bush, Republican), 2.17%
1993-2000 (Bill Clinton, Democrat), 3.88%
2001-2008 (George W. Bush, Republican), +2.09%
2009 (Barack Obama, Democrat), -2.6%

We obviously have incomplete data on Barack Obama as he hasn't finished his term yet.

The best performance was turned in by Lyndon B. Johnson, who managed to preside over an average expansion of 5.05% per year.

If we exclude Barack Obama due to incomplete data, then the worst performance was turned in by George W. Bush, as the economy grew by an average of 2.09% per year during his time as president.

Source: Davemanuel.com - Historical GDP Numbers (United States)

Filed under: General Knowledge

17 COMMENTS - What Say You?

Comment by Doug on June 13, 2011 @ 8:01 pm

2009 was still working under the 2008 budget passed by Bush so it isn't accurate to blame Obama for Bush's policies.


Comment by Txdollarbill on May 05, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

The President has very little to do with the economy compared to Conress if you control both.
D contolled both 2006-2009 Debt increased by $3.6 trillion
R controlled both 1995-1999 Debt increased by $776 million
As a % of GDP Bush increased it from 58% to 74%
Under Obama its now over 100%, up 26%
$4.46T in 3 years with Obama
$4.6 T in 8 years under Bush


Comment by Chris on May 26, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

Doug, that's not true. In fact, the Democratic Congress had passed only 3 of the 9 appropriations bills for 2009 by the time Obama took office (all defense related bills). He and Congress then upped spending on the remaining 2009 measures by $400 billion and also added a $900 billion stimulus to the tab. So, Obama should therefore get the vast majority of the credit/blame for the 2009 budget.


Comment by Dave Response to Doug on July 13, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

The budget was not GWB's. It was signed by Obama so it is his budget. Bush refused to sign it because it was passed in the Pelosi/Reid congress.


Comment by Pete on September 07, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

The ARRA funding did not all occur in 2009. Spending started in 2009 and ran into 2010, 2011, and beyond. So the total ARRA cost did not occur in 2009.

Regarding the FY 2009 budget:

"When Obama was sworn into office, Bush had already submitted his 3.1 trillion dollar 2009 budget almost a year earlier. He then signed the stack of resulting appropriations bills submitted to him by Congress throughout 2008 which authorized the federal spending that would take place once the 2009 FY actually began in October. Then, in the fall of 2008, Bush supported and signed additional spending bills providing for various bailouts and stimulus programs that marked the end of his presidency, and which would show up as spending in 2009. Needless to say, the already-enormous 2009 budget that Bush had submitted in early 2008 was not totally reflective of the full impact of the huge spending increases that would eventually be authorized by Bush. Bush’s original budget was $3.1 trillion, but once one adds in all the bailouts and stimulus spending also supported by Bush, the number is actually much larger, and this is the number that shows up in the spending figures now being attributed to Obama for FY2009."

Conservatives will say ANYTHING to try to make a point. ANYTHING!

it's true that all we have is temporary spending bills now. With ascendency of the Tea Party, even the most mundane matters of government are no long routine So expect the cost of government to rise even as the effectiveness of government deteriorates.


Comment by john on September 09, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

Inflation is not factored in in these numbers. Is someone actually argue that Carter's America was as good as Reagan's?


Comment by Jay on September 11, 2012 @ 4:27 am

I'm just glad Pete did his research, the others all seem to just throw out sound bytes without big picture knowledge. (author excluded)


Comment by Kevin small on September 23, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

I love how conservatives say when a Democrat president resides over a healthy economy it's because of a Republican controlled congress.Know I seem to remember reagen having a Democratic House,the conservative media has done a masterfully job of brainwashing the public into believing the myth that Liberals only bring debt,inflation and stagnation.Reality is Liberal economic performance BLOWS away the Conservative record on all fronts, anybody says otherwise they are bold face lyin(which is a conservative habit).Liberals are not as inclined to defend their record,for reasons beyond me,throw in a dominating conservative media(especially radio), and the brainwashing over the years ,and people believe anything,even when the data tells a different story.


Comment by George on October 03, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

Liberals generally can't defend their economic policies because they don't make any sense. If you are a liberal, your brain is backward so I guess you are right!


Comment by Justin on October 18, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

Kevin Small: Democrats do the exact same thing! When there's a Republican president and the economy is doing well Democrats will say its because its a Democrat controlled congress or if there's a Democrat president who is doing bad Democrats will blame it on a Republican controlled congress. Both parties do it!

And yes statistics show Democrats economic performance is better than Republicans BUT I would check deeper into it. I would look at what strategy the presidents had because there is Democrat presidents who have done some conservative economic policies and there is some Republican presidents who have done some liberal economic policies. Just because someone is a Democrat does not mean all there policies and strategies are liberal and just because someone is a Republican does not mean all there policies and strategies are conservative!


Comment by Greg on October 26, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

@George: this article basically explains it: that the country is better off, economically, with Democrats. Be all snarky and an a** all you want. There are the facts.


Comment by Not telling on November 09, 2012 @ 8:57 am

Agree! Fiscally conservative democrats do good. The ones that understand and take advice from business. Clinton being one. Obama lashes out publically at business. He's more focused on class warfare. Best stock market returns are Dem President with Rep controlled congress so they are forced to be fiscally conservative. Maybe Obama will do this? God help us if he can't bc we will be Spain with higher unemployment.


Comment by ohiodale on November 09, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

You cannot take one economic parameter and draw conclusions. For the individual there are many factors to a good economy. I value the unemplyment rate, interest rates, the stock market, taxes, GDP, the deficit, and inflation. I could pick and choose any of these factors and twist them to support the republicans of democrats. Who cares? Lets stop the rethoric and actually fix our country's issues.


Comment by Mikes on November 15, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

I am a diehard conservative, but am extremely tired of the "sports-fan" mentality when it comes to politics on both sides. I could take any figure and twist it to be in favor of either party. Our country has serious issues, please for all our sake, let's debate things seriously that will actually help to fix our economy.


Comment by Rasheed on November 26, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

To touch on someone's comment about strategies implemented by presidents and congress..... I'm in total agreement plus I'd like to add that labeling a certain decision either conservative or liberal can be misleading. Sometimes there's just the correct decision. Maybe it goes against the parties general beliefs but of its te right move it has to be done


Comment by Roz on April 04, 2013 @ 12:31 am

Bush drained $18 TRILLION from the paid-in-full Social Security for Boomers. The Pentagon LOST $3.2 TRILLION on Bush watch. Bush was hiding his war spending, but still took debt ceiling from Clinton's $6 Trillion (with surplus) to $12 Trillion, if we figure Obama' first budget ceiling increase included Bush's hidden numbers. So Bush essentially drained $30 TRILLION from our economy ... throwing it around the Middle East in paper bags & unbid contracts for Cheney's Halliburton. Their bloodless coup in Florida brought massive destruction to our nation.


Comment by Tim on September 06, 2014 @ 7:55 pm

Roz. You are an idiot but I bet you believe you're the smartest one in the room.


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