At what year or parts of years were the most current (meaning in office) and former Presidents of the United States alive? It seems that 1833 to 1836 had the most current, former, and future Presidents alive, but what year had the most that actually or were currently serving?
According to this article there have been three times when six presidents were alive at once.
- 1861 - Van Buren, Tyler, Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan, Lincoln
- 1993 - Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton
- 2001 - Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush jr
With the inaguaration of Donald Trump, this has happened a fourth time:
- 2017 - Carter, Bush, Clinton, Bush Jr, Obama, Trump
Given the advanced ages of both Bush Sr and Carter, it seems unlikely this will happen again, unless for some reason Trump were to leave office earlier than expected.
While this has happened relatively often in the recent past (three of four occurrences were in living memory), it is unlikely to be repeated in the near future given the ages of the current ex-presidents, the recent string of three 8-year presidents (which is very rare, having only happened once before) and the relatively advanced age of Trump.
With the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush on November 30th, 2018, this period of six presidents and former presidents has ended.
Despite the hedge up above, it appears this will occur again on January 20th, 2021 due to Jimmy Carter surviving despite advanced age.