Many in the US are tired of arguing over the future of the presidency, so we decided to take a look back at the past. There have been 44 US Presidents, required by law to be born in the United States. Of those, 39 have been buried, often in their home state—either by birth or adoption. The map below shows where each president was born and where each who has died is buried. You can use the BatchGeo Grouping feature to show only births or burials. Or, read on for our analysis of the story told by this map of presidential birthplaces and final resting places.
View US President Births and Burials in a full screen map
The first thing you may notice when looking at the map: there is something in the water in Virginia! Eight presidents were born in The Old Dominion, which is incidentally also nicknamed Mother of Presidents. Additionally, seven presidents are buried in Virginia, so the state is tops for births and burials. Five of the presidents born in Virginia were also buried there, which helps with that total. Two non-Virginians are buried in Virginia, both at Arlington National Cemetery: William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy.
Ohio is one native son or daughter away from tying Virginia. Ohio’s seven presidents span the ninth, William Henry Harrison, through the 29th, Warren G. Harding. New York and Massachusetts (each with four) round out the only states with more than two presidents. In terms of burials, New York edges out Ohio, with six and five respectively. Tennessee is the burial place of three US presidents, despite not a single president being born in that state.
A president’s state of birth is not always the state we associate with that president. For example, Abraham Lincoln is claimed in Illinois as a native son, but he was born in Kentucky. Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, was born in Illinois. Due to his time in Hollywood, and as governor, we think of The Gipper as a Californian. Similarly, both presidents named George Bush are considered Texans. Yet, they were both born in the Northeast (Massachusetts for the elder and Connecticut for the younger).
Despite the split between birthplaces and burials, over half of US Presidents were born and buried in the same state. Six were even returned to their native city for burial: Martin Van Buren (Kinderhook, New York), Herbert Hoover (West Branch, Iowa), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Hyde Park, New York), Lyndon B. Johnson (Stonewall, Texas), Richard M. Nixon (Yorba Linda, California), and Ronald Reagan (Simi Valley, California).
It is interesting to note that no president has been born in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or any of the top US cities by population. Further, most presidents were born in the eastern half of the country, which makes sense given that the US started with thirteen colonies and expanded westward. In fact, it wasn’t until after World War II that the US elected someone born west of the Mississippi River. Dwight D. Eisenhower was born in Denison, Texas. Only three other presidents have been born in the west: Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald R. Ford (Omaha, Nebraska), and Richard M. Nixon.