Last updated on: 1/24/2011 3:53:21 PM PST | Author:

Statistical Comparison of US Presidential Terms, 1981-2009

Bush I
Bush II
Fiscal Year
1.Budget (US$ millions per capita)2,4143,701+533,7014,814+304,8146,268+306,26810,396+66
2.Defense Spending
a. US$ billions
b. % of GDP5.15.6+105.64.4-214.43.0-323.04.8+60
3.Deficit (US$ billions)79153+94153255+67255128
4.Education Expenditures (US$ billions)1001000100124+24124163+31163228+40
5.Gross Domestic Product (GDP; US$ billions)3,0575,400+775,4006,587+226,58710,225+5510,22514,237+40
6.Health Program Expenditures (% of GDP)2.52.9+162.93.9+343.94.2+84.26.0+43
7.National Debt (Gross federal debt; US$ billions)9952,868+1882,8684,351+524,3515,770+335,77012,868+123
8.Size of Govt. (# of federal employees; millions)2.12.2+
a. Capital Gains (Maximum rate; % on long-term gains)
b. Corporate Income (Maximum rate; % of taxable income)4639-183938-3383803839+3
c. Individual Income (Maximum rate; % of taxable income)7028-1502840+434039-33935-11
10.Inflation (%)8.94.6-484.62.7-412.71.6-411.62.7+69
11.Population (US; US $ millions)229247+8247258+4258285+10285307+8
12.Population Below Poverty Threshold (% of US population)1413-71315+151512-201214+17
13.Unemployment Rate (%)7.65.3-305.36.9+306.94.7-324.79.3+98
Daily (Value for the day of the presidential administration change)
14.Approval Rating* (%)5168+335156+105168+334638-21
15.Dow Jones Industrial Average9512,235+1352,2353,242+453,24210,588+22710,5887,949-25
16.Gold Price (US$/oz.)562406-28406329-19329265-19265853+222
All data has been rounded to the nearest whole number except Defense Spending: % of GDP, Health Program Expenditures, Infation, Size of Government, and Unemployment Rate.
Sources and notes:


  1. Federal expenditures per capita for fiscal years 1961-2008; data based on numerous “Statistical Abstracts” and “Consolidated Federal Funds Reports” from the US Census Bureau website
  2. Fiscal year ending in year shown; specific date information not available; defense outlays in 2009 US$ billions; the 2009 amount of $690 billion is estimated; “Table 491. National Defense Outlays and Veterans Benefits,” US Census Bureau website (accessed July 15, 2010)
  3. Deficit is the difference between what the federal government spends and the amount it receives in revenues, usually over the period of a year. The accumulation of deficits year after year makes up the national debt. Prior to 1976, year signifies fiscal year July 1 of the year before to June 30 of that year; after 1976, year signifies fiscal year Oct. 1 of the year before to Sep. 30 of that year; “Table 1.1 – Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789-2015,” Office of Management and Budget website (accessed July 6, 2010); “Debt and Deficits,” by David Rosen, University of Nebraska at Omaha website (accessed Feb. 25, 2011)
  4. Fiscal years, specific dates of information not available; total on-budget support in constant fiscal year 2009 dollars; the amount for 1981 was unavailable so the 1980 amount of $100 billion was used; “Table 373. Federal Support and Estimated Federal Tax Expenditures for Education, by Category: Selected Fiscal Years, 1965 through 2009,” Institute of Education Sciences National Center for Education Statistics website, Apr. 14, 2010
  5. Specific dates of information not available; “Table 10.1 – Gross Domestic Product and Deflators Used in the Historical Tables: 1940-2015,” US Government Printing Office website (accessed July 14, 2010)
  6. Prior to 1976, year signifies fiscal year July 1 of the year before to June 30 of that year; after 1976, year signifies fiscal year Oct. 1 of the year before to Sep. 30 of that year; “Table 16.1 – Total Outlays for Health Programs: 1962-2015,” Office of Management and Budget website (accessed July 7, 2010)
  7. National debt is the total amount of money that the federal government has borrowed over the years and not repaid. Fiscal years; the 2009 amount for $12,868 billion is estimated; “The 2010 Statistical Abstract: Federal Government Finances & Employment: Federal Budget–Receipts, Outlays, and Debt: Table 458: Federal Budget Debt,” US Census Bureau website (accessed Nov. 29, 2010); “Debt and Deficits,” by David Rosen, University of Nebraska at Omaha website (accessed Feb. 25, 2011)
  8. End-of-fiscal-year count; excludes Postal Service; “Historical Federal Workforce Tables: Executive Branch Civilian Employment Since 1940,” US Office of Personnel Management website (accessed Feb. 3, 2011)
  9. a. Fiscal years; 1981 Capital Gains Tax went into effect on June 9, 1981; “Capital Gains and Taxes Paid on Capital Gains for Returns with Positive Net Capital Gains, 1954-2005,”, Nov. 3, 2008; “Capital Gains Shift: Benefits Are Broad,” New York Times, Aug. 26, 1981; “Topic 409 – Capital Gains and Losses,” Internal Revenue Service website (accessed Jan. 31, 2011)b. Fiscal years; “Corporation Income Tax Brackets and Rates, 1909-2002,” Internal Revenue Service website (accessed Jan. 21, 2011); “OECD Nations Continue Cutting Corporate Tax Rates while U.S. Stands Still,” (accessed Jan. 21, 2011); extended footnotes also available

    c. Fiscal years; “Personal Exemptions and Individual Income Tax Rates, 1913-2002, (accessed Jan. 21, 2011); “U.S. Federal Individual Income Tax Rates History, 1913-2011,” (accessed Jan. 21, 2011); extended footnotes also available

  10. Percent Dec. to Dec.; calculated from the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U with a standard reference base period 1982-1984=100) which calculates consumer inflation; “Table Containing History of CPI-U U.S. All Items Indexes and Annual Percent Changes From 1913 to Present,” Bureau of Labor Statistics website, June 17, 2010
  11. Calculations from July 1 of each year between 1961 and 2005; “Historical National Population Estimates: July 1, 1900 to July 1, 1999,” US Census website, June 28, 2000; “Table 8: Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States, Regions, and Divisions: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005,” US Census website, Dec. 22, 2005; “Population Finder,” US Census website (accessed July 12, 2010)
  12. Calculations based on surveys conducted in Feb., Mar., and Apr.; poverty thresholds are dollar amounts that are updated annually for inflation and vary according to family size and age of its members; “Table 7. Poverty of People, by Sex: 1966 to 2008,” US Census website (accessed July 14, 2010); “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Covereage: 2009,” US Census website, Sep. 2010
  13. Calculated annual averages based on data from “Databases, Tables & Calculators by Subject” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (accessed July 8, 2010)
  14. Data are from the following specific dates and do not correspond to the day of administration change: Reagan: Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 1981 and Jan. 1989; Bush I: Jan. 24-28, 1989 and Jan. 8-11, 1993; Clinton: Jan. 23-26, 1993 and Jan. 18-19, 2001; Bush II: Jan. 24-25, 2001 and Jan. 15-18, 2009; “Job Performance Ratings,” (accessed Jan. 31, 2011); “A Look Back at the Polls,” CBS News website, June 7, 2004
  15. Adjusted daily close price; “Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI): Historical Prices,” Yahoo! Finance website (accessed Nov. 23, 2010)
  16. Daily price; US dollars per troy ounce; “Historical Gold,” Kitco website (accessed Nov. 24, 2010)