Barack Obama Net Worth: Here’s How Much Barack Obama Is Worth

Barack Obama

Barack Obama’s net worth is $5.7 million.

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States, serving his second term. He was elected as U.S. president in 2008 and won a second term in 2012.
Obama has a base salary of $400,000 a year as president of the U.S. The president also has a $150,000 expense account as well as a $100,000 tax-free travel account and $20,000 entertainment budget. (Source: “Obama’s Worth Nearly $6 Million — See Why He’s Down Since Last Year,” Forbes, May 16, 2012.)

Among the list of the richest presidents in U.S. history, Obama ranks dead last. (Source: “The Net Worth Of The American Presidents: Washington To Obama,” 24/7 Wall St., May 17, 2010.) He ranks behind Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who have estimated net worths of $70.0 million and $35.0 million, respectively. George Washington tops the list as the richest president with an estimated net worth of $525 million when adjusted for inflation. (Source: Ibid.)

Obama has made the cover of numerous editions of TIME magazine, and in 2008 and 2012, he was named the “TIME Person of the Year.”

Early Career

Obama was born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii. After high school, Obama attended Occidental College in Los Angeles for two years before transferring to Columbia University in New York City. He graduated in 1983 with a degree in political science.

Two years after graduating, Obama moved to Chicago where he was hired as director of the Developing Communities Project, a church-based organization that comprised several Catholic parishes in low-income communities. Obama worked there as a community organizer from June 1985 to May 1988.

Obama entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988, where he became president of the Harvard Law Review in his second year. It is worth noting that he was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.

After law school, Obama went back to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer with the firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He also taught constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School and also helped organize voter registration drives during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

In 1996, Obama ran and won election for a seat in the Illinois State Senate. During his years as state senator, he worked to draft legislation on ethics and to expand health care services and early childhood education programs for low-income persons.

Obama was re-elected to the Illinois Senate in 1998 and was re-elected again in 2002. In 2000, he lost a Democratic primary race for Illinois’s first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 2004, Obama ran for the U.S. Senate open seat and won with 52% of the vote in the Democratic primary. That summer, he was invited to deliver the keynote speech in support of John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. In the November 2004 general election for the U.S. Senate vacancy, Obama won 70% of the vote, which is the largest electoral victory ever in Illinois.

2008 Presidential Election

In February of 2007, Obama announced his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. He was locked in a close race with Senator Hillary Clinton in the early proceedings, but he eventually pulled ahead and Clinton ended her campaign on June 7, 2008. Obama became the Democratic Party’s nominee after winning the required amount of pledged delegates during the primaries.

John McCain was nominated as the Republican candidate for the president of the United States. On November 4, Obama won the presidency with 365 electoral votes to the 173 McCain won. Obama won 52.9% of the popular vote, while McCain won 45.7%. Obama became the first African-American to be elected as president of the United States. Obama was re-elected again in 2012.

Breakthrough Work and Best-Selling Ventures

Obama’s net worth has largely come from the sales of his books: The Audacity of Hope and Dreams From My Father.

When Obama gained notoriety after his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, sales of his 1995 book, Dreams From My Father, began to take off. In 2005, Obama’s income grew from about $200,000 to $1.7 million (with wife Michelle Obama’s salary included in that figure). (Source: Celebrity Net Worth, op cit.) In 2006, Obama’s reported combined income was $916,000.

The release of Obama’s second book, Audacity of Hope, in October 2006 provided a huge boost to his wealth. The book was a huge hit, selling millions of copies and propelling Obama’s net income to $4.2 million in 2007. Today, Obama earns $3.75 and $1.12 for the sale of every hardcover copy and paperback copy of his books, respectively.


Obama allocates most of his wealth to U.S. Treasury notes, where he has up to $5.0 million. (Source: “President Obama’s Personal Investment Portfolio,” Casey Research, July 8, 2014.)

He also has a mortgage on his Illinois home. The mortgage is somewhere between $500,000 and $1.0 million. (Source: Ibid.)

Philanthropic Work and Donations

From his director work for the nonprofit organization Developing Communities Project, Obama served as a board member on the Joyce Foundation and the Woods Fund of Chicago. He was also board chair for the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which was a project to improve public schools.

In 2007, Obama, along with wife Michelle, donated $240,000 to charities, according to his campaign team at the time. (Source: “Barack and Michelle Obama Donated $240,000 to Charity Last Year,” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 25, 2008.)

The Obamas gave $60,307 to charitable organizations in 2006, which was about six percent of their combined $991,296 income at the time. (Source: Ibid.) The donations went to several organizations, including the Trinity United Church of Christ, CARE (a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty), and the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.

In 2005, the Obamas donated $77,315, or about five percent of their total income of $1.7 million. From 2000 to 2004, the Obamas combined income was a lot less, but they still managed to donate about one percent of it to charitable organizations. (Source: The Ibid.)

As president, Obama has championed many nonprofit issues. He signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which called for an expansion of AmeriCorps, from 75,000 to 250,000 members by 2017. It also created the Social Innovation Fund, a new grants program to help nonprofits expand effective programs and to direct funds to charities that need help to recruit and manage volunteers.

Obama also created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, which is a body that promotes volunteerism, national service, and innovative approaches to social problems.

He won legislation to create the Promise Neighborhoods program, which directs money to nonprofits that work with schools, foundations, businesses, and others that help young people and families in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Obama Family Income by Year

Year Income
2016 $400,000 presidential income
2015 $400,000 presidential income
2014 $477,383
2013 $481,098
2012 $662,075
2011 $789,674
2010 $1,728,096
2009 $5,505,409
2008 $2,656,902
2007 $4,139,965
2006 $983,826
2005 $1,655,105
2004 $207,647
2003 $238,327
2002 $259,394
2001 $272,759
2000 $240,000

Source: Celebrity Net Worth, op cit.