The country that Donald Trump will assume leadership of on Jan. 20, 2017 looks vastly different from the one that President Obama inherited eight years ago. But as we turn the page on Obama’s presidency, it can be difficult to measure the net effect of his 2,921 days in office.
For all the powers of the executive office, the president does not have unchecked control over the precise direction of the country. All the indicators of national well-being—from employment to housing to hundreds of other vital signs—are subject to both Washington policy and the vagaries of global trends and macroeconomic cycles. Still, whenever a president leaves office, his supporters and his detractors can point to different statistics from his time in office to find things to praise or criticize.
While the broader picture of Obama’s presidency will not be clear for years or even decades, it’s still useful to look at a few key statistics to see how things have changed since Jan. 20, 2009. Below, we look at five major data sets on President Obama’s tenure.
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