Advertisement
  1. Nation & World

Then and now: World transformed over Jimmy Carter's 94 years

FILE- In this March 27, 2018 file photo, former President Jimmy Carter speaks during a funeral service for former and former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller, in Atlanta. Carter is now the longest-living president in American history. The 39th president on Friday, March 19, 2019, reached the age of 94 years, 172 days - one day beyond the lifespan of George H.W. Bush, who died in November. (Associated Press)
Published Mar. 22

ATLANTA — Jimmy Carter cemented a new milestone Friday, becoming the longest-lived of the 44 men who have ascended to the American presidency.

He surpasses George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30, 2018 — 171 days after he reached age 94.

Here are some notable markers for Carter, the U.S. and the world during the 94 years and 172 days (34,505 days) since the 39th president was born on Oct. 1, 1924:

PLAINS PEOPLE

Carter has seen the U.S. population nearly triple. The U.S. has about 329 million residents now; there were about 114 million in 1924 and 220 million when Carter took office in 1977. The world population has roughly quadrupled, from about 1.9 billion to 7.6 billion. It already had more than doubled to 4.36 billion by the time Carter became president.

That boom has not reached Plains, Georgia, where Carter and wife Rosalynn, now 91, were born and still live. The tiny south Georgia town comprised fewer than 500 in the 1920s and has 750 or so today, with much of the local economy revolving around its most famous residents.

When James Earl Carter Jr. was born, life expectancy for American males was 58.

ATTENTION SHOPPERS

There was no Amazon Prime in 1924, but you could order a build-it-yourself house from a catalogue. Sears Roebuck Gladstone's three-bedroom model went for $2,025 — slightly less than the average worker's annual income.

Walmart didn't exist, but locally owned general stores served the same purpose. Ballpark prices: loaf of bread, 9 cents; gallon of milk, 54 cents; gallon of gas, 11 cents. The stock market was just beginning a rapid rise that led to the 1929 crash.

Inflation and spiking gas prices, incidentally, helped drive Carter from office, though the average gallon in 1980, Carter's last full year, was $2.66 when adjusted for inflation. That's just six cents more than AAA's national average Thursday.

BOOZE, BILLY AND BILLY BEER

Prohibition had been in effect four years when Carter was born and wouldn't be lifted until he was 9 years old. The Carters have never been prodigious drinkers, famously serving only wine at state dinners.

Carter's younger brother Billy, who owned a Plains gas station and died in 1988, had different tastes, even marketing his own brand, Billy Beer, once Carter became president. News sources at the time reported that the presidential sibling snagged a $50,000 annual licensing fee from one brewer. That would be about $215,000 today, measured by consumer price index inflation. The president's annual salary at the time was $200,000.

The average retail for a six-pack of beer during Jimmy Carter's first year in office was $2.65. It's about $9 today. You can snag cans of Billy Beer on eBay for about $5 each, but antique collectors say they're actually worth a fraction of that.

"SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE"

President Donald Trump doesn't take too kindly to Alec Baldwin's rendition of him on NBC's sketch comedy show. Carter and SNL took the national stage at the same time, with the inaugural season coming in 1975-76 as Carter campaigned for the Democratic nomination. In the second season, the new president was parodied by Dan Aykroyd.

DEBT COUNTER

The Times Square debt clock didn't debut until Carter was in his early 60s and out of the White House. But for those counting the $22 trillion debt, Carter doesn't merit much mention, even considering he served only one term.

His cumulative debt: Less than $300 billion, leaving the total debt below $1 trillion.

ANCHORS AWEIGH

Carter is the only graduate of the United States Naval Academy to become commander in chief. He's also the only military academy graduate president who wasn't a wartime commander: West Point alumni Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower led U.S. military efforts in the Civil War and World War II, respectively.

The first year the Naval Academy included women was 1976, when Carter was elected. Last November, a month after Carter reached 94, New Jersey's Mikie Sherrill (Class of '94) and Virginia's Elaine Loria (Class of '97) became the first women Naval Academy graduates elected to Congress.

OTHER PRESIDENTS

Carter has lived through a third of all U.S. presidencies: nine before he was president, six since. The man Carter beat —Gerald Ford — and the man who defeated him — Ronald Reagan — also lived into their 90s. Bush and John Adams are the only others who have done so.

Carter's favorite president? Not the one he sees in the mirror. It's Harry Truman. He lived to 88.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Workers refuel the tank at a gas station in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump declared Monday that it "looks" like Iran was behind the explosive attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. He stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key U.S. Mideast ally. AMR NABIL  |  AP
    Even before Tuesday’s reversal in prices, economists downplayed the prospect that the price spike could send the economy reeling.
  2. Snowden published his book, “Permanent Record,” without submitting it for a pre-publication review, in violation of non-disclosure agreements he signed with both the NSA and the Central Intelligence Agency, the Justice Department alleges. Image by Archive
    Snowden published his book, “Permanent Record,” without submitting it for a pre-publication review.
  3. In this April 19, 2017, file photo, Cokie Roberts speaks during the opening ceremony for Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Roberts, a longtime political reporter and analyst at ABC News and NPR has died, ABC announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019.  She was 75. MATT ROURKE  |  AP
    She died Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer.
  4. Energy-efficient LED light bulbs. (Times | 2008) St. Petersburg Times
    Trump’s administration recently scrapped a rule that would have phased out incandescent light bulbs.
  5. FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2018 file photo, a marcher carries a sign with the popular Twitter hashtag #MeToo used by people speaking out against sexual harassment as she takes part in a Women's March in Seattle.  According to a study published Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, the first sexual experience for many U.S. women was forced or coerced intercourse in their early teens, encounters that for some may have had lasting health repercussions. TED S. WARREN  |  AP
    Almost 7 percent of women surveyed said their first sexual intercourse experience was involuntary; it happened at age 15 on average and the man was often several years older.
  6. This undated photo provided by the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office in McAlester, Okla. shows Alexis Wilson. Pittsburg County Sheriff Chris Morris said Wilson was arrested Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, after investigators saw a video of her shooting an AK-47 and her co-workers reported she had said she would "shoot up" the school. AP
    Alexis Wilson was arrested Monday after a co-worker told investigators that Wilson had said she wanted to shoot 400 people at McAlester High School.
  7. President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 House Republican Conference Member Retreat Dinner in Baltimore on Sept. 12. JOSE LUIS MAGANA  |  AP
    The country is moving in that direction, though.
  8. People stand in line outside the Santa Ana Star Center arena awaiting the start of President Donald Trump's rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. Officials with Trump's campaign said they are working to win the support of more voters in the traditionally Democratic state ahead of the 2020 election. RUSSELL CONTRERAS  |  AP
    Vowing to win the New Mexico vote next year, Trump heralded surging oil production in New Mexico and decreasing unemployment nationwide among Hispanics.
  9. Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh sits with fellow Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE  |  AP
    The news organization’s handling of a new sexual misconduct allegation against the Supreme Court attracted almost as much attention as the accusation itself.
  10. Gas prices could surge over the coming days because of a sharp drop in Saudi Arabia’s oil production. Pictured is a man filling up his car. | [Times file photo]
    A weekend drone strike on an oil processing facility caused the kingdom to cut production in half.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement