20 Photos of Obama's Evolution From Eager Young Man to World-Weary President


It's been said that the presidency ages you at an expedited rate, and Barack Obama is living proof of this. The gray-haired, haggard-looking president who graces the airwaves in 2016 is only eight years older than the fresh-faced Illinois senator who assumed the office in 2009, yet the difference is remarkable. These photos show Obama's evolution from eager young man to world-weary president.

According to one doctor who examined the medical records of U.S. presidents dating back to the 1920s, the average president ages two years for every year they're in office. However, a professor who studied the aging of presidents took issue with this assessment, noting that out of the 34 presidents who died from natural causes, 23 lived longer than what was predicted of them at the time of their inaugurations. The first eight presidents lived to an average age of 79.8, far more than the life expectancy of the average man in the early 19th-century.

This medical dispute notwithstanding, being president certainly appears to take a physical toll on those who hold the highest office in the land. Let's take a look at how Obama has aged during his eight years in the oval office — the differences between 2008 and 2016 may be starker than you remember.

America Meets Obama

BOSTON - JULY 27: U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama of Illinois delivers the keynote address to delegates on the floor of the FleetCenter on the second day of the Democratic National Convention July 27, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

America was introduced to Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, for which he gave the keynote address.

Running For The Senate

CHICAGO - AUGUST 9: Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois Barack Obama (L) chats with a guest at Manny's Deli August 9, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. Obama joined Democratic vice presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Edwards (D-NC) for a brief campaign stop at the diner to meet and greet local Chicagoans. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)Tim Boyle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Here's Obama as an Illinois state senator in 2004. Three months, he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Serving In The Senate

Freshman Senator Barak Obama, D-IL, listens to the proceedings during the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearings on Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice 18 January, 2005 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Obama's time in the U.S. Senate was brief, as he was elected to the presidency just four years into his first and presumably only term. Here he is at a confirmation hearing in 2005.

Flip Phone Obama

WASHINGTON - FEBRUARY 13: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) (R) talks on a phone while seated next to Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL) during an event honoring the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox at the White House February 13, 2006 in Washington, DC. The White Sox swept the Houston Astros to win the World Series for the first time in 88 years. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama uses a flip phone at a 2006 White House event.

A Trip To South Africa

Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace Prize winner meets with Barack Obama, US senator for Illinois at Tutu's offices in Cape Town 21 August 2006.RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images

Obama meets with Nobel Prize winner Desmond Tutu during a trip to South Africa in 2006. Three years later, Obama himself would win the Nobel Prize.

Running For President

CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 12: U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) greets supporters at Butters February 12, 2007 in Concord, New Hampshire. Senator Obama made his first visit to the Granite State following his announcement on February 10th his entention to run for President of the United States. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)Darren McCollester/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama meets with a supporter in 2007, two days after announcing his presidential run.

Meeting The Press

DES MOINES, IA - NOVEMBER 11: (AFP OUT) Democratic Presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) appears on 'Meet the Press' with Tim Russert (R) November 11, 2007 in Des Moines, Iowa. Obama spoke on topics related to his presidential bid for the 2008 election. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images for Meet the Press)Eric Thayer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama talks to the late Tim Russert about his presidential campaign during a 2007 appearance on Meet The Press.

Hitting The Road

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barak Obama (R) is surrounded by supporters outside the First Brown Chapel AME Church, 04 March 2007 in Selma, Alabama. Obama later walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where former US president Bill Clinton was inducted into the Voting Rights Museum Hall of Fame.ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/Getty Images

The future president stops by First Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, while campaigning in 2007.

Exit Stage Right

YEAR-2008 US Republican presidential candidate John McCain (R) and Democrat Barack Obama leave the table after the final presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on October 15, 2008.EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Obama calmly exits after his final presidential debate with Sen. John McCain in 2008.

The New President

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 20: President Barack Obama walks in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, becoming the first African-American to be elected President of the US. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama waves to the crowd in 2009 at his first inaugural parade.

Pushing For Health Care

WASHINGTON - JULY 28: (AFP OUT) United States President Barack Obama speaks during a 'tele town-hall' meeting at the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) headquarters to discuss his health care plan and its effects on senior citizens on July 28, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama re-assured citizens that his health care reform is not a type of socialism or government run agency. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

President Obama speaks at an AARP town hall event while campaigning for health care reform in 2009.

An Uneasy Relationship

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 1: U.S. President Barack Obama (L) makes a statement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the killings in the West Bank following their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House September 1, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Obama will meet with Middle East leaders before the opening direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians scheduled to begin September 2, in the State Department. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama gives a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2010. The two proceeded to have a tense and sometimes hostile relationship throughout Obama's presidency.

Talking Business

WASHINGTON - AUGUST 19: U.S. President Barack Obama makes a statement on the economy and small businesses on the South Lawn of the White House August 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. President Obama urged congress to pass a bill aimed at helping small businesses, as jobless claims have risen. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama talks about small businesses from the South Lawn of the White House in 2010.

Home For A Visit

HONOLULU, HI - NOVEMBER 13: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at a press conference after the closing plenary session of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit at the J.W. Marriott Hotel on November 13, 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The United States hosted this year's APEC summit, with leaders from the 21 member economies convening on the island of Oahu. (Photo by Kent Nishimura- Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In November 2011, three years into his presidency, Obama smiles during a speech in Honolulu.

Running For Reelection

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 12: U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Diplomatic Corps Holiday Reception on December 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C. President Obama announced that he is making an administration-wide effort to solve gun violence and has tapped Vice President Joseph Biden to lead the effort in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While running for reelection in 2012, Obama looks a tad wearier than the bright-eyed man who ran four years earlier.

Another Health Care Push

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 04: US President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an Organizing for Action 'Obamacare Summit' at the St. Regis Hotel on November 4, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Obama spoke on health care and rallied over 200 supporters to get uninsured consumers to purchase a plan through the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In 2013, a gray-haired Obama touts the Affordable Care Act, encouraging Americans to sign up for the landmark health care program.

A Festival of Lights

US President Barack Obama speaks about a Menurkey, a combination of a menorah and turkey honoring this year's shared dates of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah during a Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House December 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama addressed the event behind held on the last day of Hanukkah .BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Obama holds a menorah while giving remarks on the second night of Chanukah in 2013.

An Oval Office Signing

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 19: U.S. President Barack Obama signs S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, into law in the Oval Office of the White House November 19, 2014 in Washington, DC. Among the things the act intneds to do is strengthen health and safety requirements for child care programs and providers, expand eligibility to child care programs for families and train providers. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama signs the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act in 2014, a law aiming to expand accessibility to and strengthen safety requirements for child care services.

Obama Goes Casual

US President Barack Obama eats shaved ice from Island Snow after a visit to the beach December 27, 2015 in Kailua, Hawaii. Obama and the First Family are in Hawaii for vacation.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Obama enjoys some shaved ice during a trip to Hawaii in 2015.

An Eye Toward The Future

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 1: U.S. President Barack Obama grimaces during one of the many production delays as he and the first family attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting on the Ellipse December 1, 2016 in Washington, DC. This year is the 94th annual National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)Pool/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Obama attends a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December 2015.

With less than three months to go before the end of his presidency, Obama is more grizzled, hardened, and weary than the man he was eight years ago — and it shows.