How the world has changed for America's oldest president: US population was 135 million, country was 89% white and minimum wage was 30 cents when Biden, 78, was born back in 1942
DailymailJan 24, 2021Read original
Joe Biden became the oldest president in US history when he was sworn into office on Wednesday.
At the age of 78, Biden is already older than Ronald Reagan was when he left office at 77 after serving two full terms as president.
The county that Biden now leads has changed dramatically since he was born back in 1942, with the population exploding, the cost of living soaring and the national debt increasing dramatically.
At age 78, Joe Biden became the oldest sitting president in US history when he was sworn into office on Wednesday. He is pictured with his wife, First Lady Jill Biden
The county that Biden now leads has changed dramatically since he was born back in 1942, with the population exploding, the cost of living soaring and the national debt increasing dramatically. He is pictured at left in the late 1940s, and at right last Wednesday
New York City is pictured in 1946. The Big Apple has become larger and far more diverse since those days. In 1940, New York City's population was 91 percent white. Today, non-Hispanic whites account for around 33 percent of people living in the Big Apple
When Biden was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on November 20, 1942, there were just 135 million Americans.
Today, the country's population has almost tripled to a whopping 328 million.
The United States has also become much more racially diverse since Biden was a boy.
In 1950, the first census taken after Biden's birth, 89 percent of Americans were white.
The racial demographics have shifted substantially in the years since, particularly in the wake of the 1965 Immigration Act.
The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, and staunchly supported by Senator Ted Kennedy, who insisted that the 'ethnic mix of the country would not be upset'.
The Act effectively removed discrimination against non-European ethnic groups from America's immigration policy, and greatly increased the numbers immigrants coming to the United States from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Heading into 2020, the country was 60 percent non-Hispanic white. Hispanic and Latino Americans comprise an estimated 18 percent of the population, while African Americans account for around 13 percent of the population.
In 1940, New York City's population was 91 percent white. In 2010, non-Hispanic whites account for 33 percent of people living in the Big Apple.
A crowd of workers is seen assembling in East Hartford, Connecticut in 1940 - two years before Biden's birth. Back then, the workforce was overwhelmingly male and white
As the population has drastically increased, so has the price of goods and services.
Minimum wage in 1942 was 30 cents an hour, whereas today it is $7.25.
The month Biden was born, a dozen eggs averaged about 60 cents in U.S. cities - two hours of minimum wage work. Meanwhile, a loaf of bread was nine cents, about 20 minutes of work.
Today, eggs can go for about $1.50 (12 minutes of minimum-wage work), while a loaf of bread averages $2 (16 minutes).
But while some produce may now be cheaper comparatively, the price of other goods and services have surged far beyond the cost of inflation.
College tuition is one example.
Pre-war tuition at Harvard Business School was about $600 a year - roughly two-thirds of the median American worker's yearly wages.
In 2020, the Harvard MBA class is charged annual tuition of more than $73,000 - more than median American worker's yearly wages, which are estimated to be $51,000.
Biden is pictured back in the 1960s during his college years. He attended the University of Delaware and Syracuse University. Tuition costs have soared far beyond the cost of inflation since
Biden has lived through 14 presidencies before beginning his own. He is pictured with President Jimmy Carter back in 1978
Meanwhile, national debt has soared in Biden's lifetime, from $72 billion to $27 trillion. Alarmingly, the debt has more than doubled in the past 13 years alone.
Biden finished 36 years in the Senate and became vice president amid the fallout from the 2008 financial crash, when the debt was about $10 trillion.
Now, the country could be going deeper into the red as it seeks to provide economic relief for citizens amid the COVID pandemic.
Reflecting how President Franklin Roosevelt approached the Great Depression and World War II, Biden is nonetheless calling for an additional $1.9 trillion in immediate deficit spending to prevent a long-term economic slide.
But Biden steps into his job with ample experience. In addition to his eight years as Vice President and his three-plus decades in the Senate, Biden has lived through 14 presidencies before beginning his own.
That number is nearly one-third of all presidents in US history, and no previous White House occupant has lived through so many administrations before taking office.
Ronald Reagan is pictured sitting in the Oval Office after delivering his farewell address to the nation in 1989 after serving two terms as President. He was 77 years old at the time
Joe Biden enters the White House even older than Ronald Regan was when he left after serving two terms. The President is pictured on Friday