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Then vs. Now: A Statistical Look at Obama's Presidency

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.
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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on January 20, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Is the country better off than it was when President Barack Obama first took office nearly eight years ago?

Statistically, the answer is yes, and it's the situation Donald Trump will inherit when he takes the oath of office next month. Still, there are some shortcomings in Obama's record over the last eight years.

The good news: The nation's unemployment rate declined more than three percentage points; the Dow Jones average has more than doubled; income is up (but only slightly); poverty is down (but barely); the number of Americans without health insurance was cut in half; the federal budget deficit is down; and the numbers of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are a fraction of what they were in 2009.

The bad news: The nation's debt nearly doubled during Obama's presidency, and the number of Americans receiving food stamps increased.

And then there's the state of Obama's Democratic Party: When he took office, Democrats held 256 House seats, 58 Senate seats and 28 governorships. Now (before the next Congress convenes), it's 188 House seats, 46 Senate seats, and 18 governorships.

The "then" figure is the best-available number for when Obama first took office in 2009. And the "now" is the most recent figure.

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Federal budget deficit

Federal spending as a percentage of GDP

  • THEN: 24.4% (FY 2009)
  • NOW: 21.4% (FY 2016) projected

—NBC's Courtney Kube contributed to this article.