Barack Obama Fast Facts

Updated 2:44 PM EST, Sat February 20, 2021
(CNN) —  

Here’s a look at the life of Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States.


Birth date: August 4, 1961

Birth place: Honolulu, Hawaii

Birth name: Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

Father: Barack Hussein Obama, goat herder-turned-economist

Mother: Stanley Ann (Dunham) Obama Soetoro, anthropologist

Marriage: Michelle (Robinson) Obama (October 3, 1992-present)

Children: Natasha (Sasha) and Malia

Education: Columbia University, B.A., 1983, Harvard University, J.D., 1991

Religion: Christian

Other Facts

The name Barack means “one who is blessed” in Swahili.

Is the first African-American to be president of the Harvard Law Review.

Nominated and won two Grammy Awards.


1964 - His parents divorce when he is two years old.

Late 1960s - Lives in Indonesia with mother and stepfather Lolo Soetoro.

1971 - Returns to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents and attend school.

November 24, 1982 - Barack Obama Sr. dies in a car accident in Kenya.

1992-2004 - Practices civil rights law and teaches constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School.

November 7, 1995 - Obama’s mother dies of ovarian cancer at the age of 52.

1995 - Publishes his autobiography “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” in which he admits to experimenting with marijuana and cocaine as a teenager.

1997-2005 - Illinois State Senator, representing the 13th District.

2000 - Runs for the US House seat in Illinois’s 1st District and loses to former Black Panther Bobby Rush.

July 27, 2004 - Delivers the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

November 2004 - Wins the US Senate race in Illinois, defeating Alan Keyes. It is the first race between two African-American candidates for Senate.

January 4, 2005 - Is sworn in as US senator.

2006 - Wins a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for his reading of “Dreams From My Father.”

August 20-September 3, 2006 - Tours five African countries and visits Nyangoma-Kogelo, his father’s hometown in Kenya.

January 16, 2007 - Files papers with the FEC to form a presidential exploratory committee.

February 10, 2007 - Announces his candidacy for president at an event in Springfield, Illinois.

November 3, 2007 - Makes a surprise guest appearance on the television show “Saturday Night Live.”

January 3, 2008 - Defeats Hillary Clinton in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses with 38% of the vote.

February 10, 2008 - Wins his second Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album for the audio version of his book, “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” Former President Bill Clinton and former President Jimmy Carter also nominated.

March 18, 2008 - Makes a speech in Philadelphia defending his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who made racially-charged and anti-government comments during sermons.

June 3, 2008 - Secures enough delegates to win the nomination – 2,118 – after the South Dakota and Montana primaries.

June 19, 2008 - Announces he will not accept federal matching funds for his presidential campaign, foregoing $80 million dollars in federal money and a cap on how much he can spend.

August 23, 2008 - Chooses Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) as his running mate. Has first rally with Biden in Springfield, Illinois, in front of the old state capitol.

August 27-28, 2008 - Officially nominated as and accepts the nomination for president on the democratic ticket, becoming the first African-American candidate in US history to lead a major party.

November 3, 2008 - Grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, 86, dies in Hawaii after a long battle with cancer.

November 4, 2008 - Is elected president of the United States with an estimated 66.7 million popular votes and 365 electoral votes.

November 16, 2008 - Resigns his seat in the US Senate.

December 17, 2008 - Is named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

January 20, 2009 - Is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African-American to hold the position.

January 22, 2009 - Issues executive orders regarding the closing of Guantánamo Bay, torture, and creating a review of detention facilities and of individual cases.

April 6, 2009 - Says that the United States “is not, and will never be, at war with Islam” during a speech in Turkey.

April 7, 2009 - Makes a surprise trip to Iraq, his first as president.

October 9, 2009 - Is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

March 23, 2010 - Signs the Affordable Care Act, a health care reform bill, into law.

March 28, 2010 - Makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan, his first as president.

July 21, 2010 - Signs the Wall Street reform bill into law.

August 31, 2010 - Obama delivers an address from the Oval Office to mark the end of US combat operations in Iraq.

September 1-2, 2010 - Hosts meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington. Other participants include Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

April 27, 2011 - The White House releases Obama’s original birth certificate, seeking to put an end to persistent rumors that he was not born in the United States.

May 1, 2011 - Announces that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has been killed in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

May 5, 2011 - Attends ceremony to honor victims of September 11th at Ground Zero. Lays a wreath, meets with first responders, families and colleagues of the victims. He also visits the “Pride of Midtown” firehouse, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, the unit that lost 15 men, the most of any one firehouse.

May 25, 2011 - Is the first US president to address the UK Parliament.

October 21, 2011 - Announces the withdrawal of most US troops in Iraq by December 31, which would fulfill a 2008 campaign pledge to end the war.

May 9, 2012