Last Updated: March 25, 2024
Richest PoliticiansPresidents
Net Worth:
$70 Million
$400 Thousand
Aug 4, 1961 (62 years old)
6 ft (1.85 m)
Politician, Lawyer, Writer, Author, Law professor
United States of America
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What is Barack Obama's net worth and salary?

Barack Obama is an American politician who has a net worth of $70 million. That is a combined net worth with his wife Michelle Obama. The Obamas were not wealthy for much of their adult lives. They first became millionaires in roughly 2005 thanks to book royalties as Barack entered the political spotlight. He is a former Senator from Illinois and the 44th President of the United States. Barack Obama served one term in the Illinois Senate and is the first African American President of the United States.

Before entering politics, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, where he served as the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. After graduating, he worked as a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

His political career began in the Illinois State Senate, where he served from 1997 to 2004. During his time in the state legislature, he worked on legislation related to healthcare, education, and ethics reform. His keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention catapulted him into the national spotlight, setting the stage for his election to the U.S. Senate later that year.

In the U.S. Senate, Obama continued to focus on issues such as transparency in government, nuclear non-proliferation, and veterans' care. His engaging speaking style and calls for bipartisan cooperation resonated with many Americans, laying the groundwork for his presidential campaign.

Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was groundbreaking, utilizing social media and grassroots organizing in innovative ways. His victory made him the first African American President of the United States. During his presidency, Obama's administration faced significant challenges, including the economic recession and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

Domestically, he prioritized healthcare reform, resulting in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. His administration also made strides in areas such as renewable energy, financial regulation, and LGBTQ rights.

In foreign policy, Obama focused on rebuilding America's image abroad, ending the Iraq War, and ordering the operation that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden. The administration also played a key role in international agreements such as the Iran Nuclear Deal and the Paris Climate Agreement.

After leaving the White House, Obama has remained active in public life, focusing on initiatives related to education, civic engagement, and leadership development through the Obama Foundation. He has also authored several books, including his presidential memoir, "A Promised Land."

(SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Early Life

Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. He is the only US President to date who was born outside of the contiguous 48 states.

His mother, Ann Dunham, was of English, German, Swiss, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh descent. Ann met  Barack Obama Sr. in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii Manio in 1960 where he had earned a scholarship. Barack Sr., who was from Kenya, was married at the time. Barack and Ann married in 1961. Barack Jr. was born six months later.

Barack Sr. and Ann divorced in 1964, at which point he moved back to Kenya, where he married for a third time. Barack Sr. only visited Barack Jr. after moving back to Kenya. He visited his son in Hawaii in 1971 when Barack Jr. was nine years old. Tragically, Barack Obama Sr. died over Christmas in 1982 in a car accident. Barack Jr. was 21 years old at the time.

In March 1965, Ann married an Indonesian man named Lolo Soetoro. When Lolo's visa extension application was rejected, he returned to Indonesia. Ann and Barack Jr. joined him there in 1967. Barack lived in Indonesia until 1971, when he moved back to Honolulu to live with his mother's parents. He attended high school here, graduating in 1979. Ann and Lolo stayed married until 1980. Unfortunately, she died in 1995 after suffering from cancer.

Barack has several half-siblings from both his mother and his father.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Barack moved to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College, where he earned a full scholarship.

In 1981, he transferred to Columbia University, where he earned a degree in political science with a specialty in international relations. He graduated from Columbia in 1983. He spent one year working as a financial researcher for Business International Corporation, followed by a stint at as a project coordinator for several New York non-profits.

In 1985, Barack moved to Chicago after being hired to work as a director for a non-profit called the Developing Communities Project. He worked there from 1985 to 1988. In 1988, he spent two months traveling the world, including five weeks spent in Kenya, where he visited relatives.

In the fall of 1988, Barack enrolled at Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he was the president of the Harvard Law Review. During the summers, he returned to Chicago, where he continued working as a community organizer. After graduating, Obama worked as a civil rights attorney in Chicago. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004.

Key Facts
  • Never earned more than $30k per year between 1991 and 2004
  • Salary jumped to $157k when he was elected to the US Senate
  • Michelle was the breadwinner for a long time, earning $274k per year as a lawyer
  • The Obamas earned $1.65m in 2005 thanks largely to Barack's book royalties
  • In 2017 Barack and Michelle signed a $60m book deal for their autobiographies
  • Barack and Michelle earned $85m between 2000 and 2017
  • In June 2017 they paid $8m for a D.C. home
  • In August 2019 they reportedly paid $15m for a property on Martha's Vineyard

Personal Life

In the summer of 1989, Barack was working at a Chicago law firm called Sidley Austin. For three months, starting in June, an associate named Michelle Robinson was assigned to be Barack's advisor. They soon began dating and became engaged in 1991. They married on October 3, 1992.

They would eventually have two daughters, Malia Ann, born in 1998, and Natasha "Sasha", born in 2001.

Rise To Presidency

Outside of teaching, Barack also served as an Illinois state senator from 1997 to 2004, at which point he successfully ran for US Senate. He would serve in the US Senate from 2005 to 2008.

The event that brought Barack to national attention was when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. From that point on, he was a rising star in the Democratic party.

Barack announced he was running for President on February 10, 2007. He eventually faced off against Hillary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. He won the nomination then, with Joe Biden as his Vice President, defeated Jon McCain to win the Presidency.

Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States in November 2008. He took office in January 2009.

Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images

Net Worth And Book Royalties

Between 1991 and 2004, Barack never earned more than $30,000 for his work as a professor and state representative. The majority of the Obama family's income during this time came from Michelle's lucrative salary as a lawyer working primarily for the University of Chicago hospital system.

In 2005, Barack's income jumped to $157,100 when he became a US Senator. In the same year, Michelle earned $273,618. In 2005, their total income was $1.65 million. Where did that extra $1.2 million come from???…

Barack wrote his first book "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" in 1995. It was not particularly popular for the first 8 or 9 years after being released. After his 2004 DNC keynote, the book exploded in popularity, leading to a significant royalty windfall for the Obama family that showed up as income in 2005.

In 2006, the Obamas reported income of $916,000. Barack's second book "Audacity of Hope," released in October 2006, was a massive hit, selling millions of copies and rocketing Obama's income to $4.2 million in 2007. Their income continued to swell in the following years thanks to Barack's successful 2008 campaign and election. To this day, Barack Obama earns $3.75 for every hardcover copy and $1.12 for every paperback he sells. Royalties remained healthy in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Obama released "Of Thee I Sing" in November 2010 and "A Promised Land" in November 2020.

In February 2017, Barack and Michelle Obama received a $60 million advance for the combined rights to their autobiographies.

Income History

Below, you will find a table listing a complete 15-year history of the income Barack and Michelle earned between 2000 and 2017. They stopped releasing their tax releases after 2015. We don't know exactly how much they earned in 2016 or 2017. In 2017 we do know that the Obamas received a $65 million book advance for multiple books and media projects.

After leaving the White House they have made even more money from book advances and are now both highly sought-after public speakers. Reportedly, during a trip to Australia in March 2023 in which he met with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Obama was paid more than $1 million for two speeches.

The Obama Family Income History
2017At least $65,000,000

How much does the president make? As President, Barack Obama's base salary was $400,000 a year. He also had access to a $150,000 expense account as well as a $100,000 tax-free travel account and a $20,000 entertainment budget.

Barack and Michelle Obama Real Estate

In August 2000, Barack and Michelle purchased a $1.6 million home in Kenwood, Illinois, in the Chicago suburbs. The Obama home is 6,400 square feet with six bedrooms, six bathrooms, mahogany bookshelves, a granite kitchen floor, and a wine cellar:

Barack Obama Chicago House


Upon leaving office, Barack and Michelle rented a mansion in Washington D.C. while their youngest daughter finished high school. In June 2017, they spent $8.1 million to buy the 8,200-square-foot rental.

Martha's Vineyard Property

In 2019, the Obamas paid $11.75 million for a house on Martha's Vineyard. The property has a 7,000-square-foot main home and 29 oceanfront acres of land. The seller of the property was Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck.

Here's how the home's official listing described it:

"The spacious and dramatic living room space boasts vaulted ceilings with exposed steel beams and a focal point stone fireplace. There are two guest wings and an impressive master suite with a fireplace, a private sun deck, and spectacular water views. Your summer days can be spent poolside in a garden-like setting with the sounds of the waves lapping in the distance or exploring the expansive Great Pond and outer barrier beach for a full day on the water. A property of this stature needs to be seen to be experienced."

The house has not just one, but two guest wings; interestingly, though, only a two-car garage, which means that any long-term guests (like, for example, Sasha and Malia) will have to find someplace else to park. It does, however, have plenty of private beachfront, including a boathouse.

The Obamas are reported to have already been renting the property as a summer home, and evidently, they've loved their time there enough to make an offer to buy the house.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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