Graph depicting Most of the GDP was Achieved Under Democratic Presidents
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Most of the GDP was Achieved Under Democratic Presidents

Description: This graph shows the GDP growth that the U.S. experienced during each presidency since the Great Depression. The column on the left shows all presidents and the middle and right columns show the presidents broken out by party. The grey section of the left column shows the GDP created under all presidents, kings and chieftains who came before FDR combined. The GDP figures are adjusted for both inflation and population growth and are shown in billions of Dollars.

Sources: BEA   Census

Last updated: November 1, 2015

Discussion: Nearly twice as much of our current GDP was created during Democratic presidencies as during Republican presidencies. Democrats have held the presidency for 31% more years than Republians during this timeframe, but have created 90% more GDP.

The top five presidencies for GDP creation have been (starting with the best, in billions, pop and inflation adjusted):


It is important to note that FDR was in office for 12 years, while LBJ was only in office for 5 years. In terms of the absolute amount of GDP created per year, Clinton would be in first place. However, in terms of the percentage GDP growth, FDR's record far exceeded any other president before or since. On this graph, compare the size of the grey box at the bottom of the combined column to the blue box above it. Incredibly, the GDP increased 155% during FDR's presidency.

Where the Democrats hold 4 of the top 5 slots for GDP creation, the Republicans' GDP growth was overwhelmingly concentrated in the Reagan presidency. No other Republican president has posted decent numbers for GDP growth.

As a side note, we could look back further to include more Republican years and bring the total years closer, but that would actually reduce the total Republican GDP growth significantly because the president before FDR was Hoover, during whose presidency the GDP fell dramatically as the U.S. entered into the Great Depression.

See more graphs about: GDP  

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