Which states elect presidents?
There are forty-four presidents. Thirty-nine were elected (five accidentally became president). Of the thirty nine people elected president, twenty-eight have lived in either New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, or Ohio for at least part of their life. Twenty-one were born in one of those four states.
There’s one uncertainty about how many presidents were born in each state: Andrew Jackson was born near the border of South Carolina and North Carolina. It’s not known which state he was actually born in. Jackson was a man of many states; he served as military governor of Florida and later as one of Tennessee’s senators.
Virginia is the birthplace of more presidents than any other state. New York and Massachusetts are linked to larger numbers of presidents (fourteen and thirteen, respectively); it has always been common for ambitious young people to move to Boston or New York City to try to make something of themselves. Many future presidents have been educated in the Acela corridor.
Out of the thirty-nine men who were elected president, thirty-four served in a political office in a state before becoming president. (The exceptions to this were Taylor, Taft, Hoover, Eisenhower, and Trump.) Most, like Andrew Jackson, were governors or senators.
Eighteen of those thirty-four men were elected to office in New York, Virginia, Ohio, or Massachusetts. Of the five who were never elected to state level offices, three lived in Ohio or New York before they moved to D.C.; these are the states that launch political careers.
Oddly, Pennsylvania, which has been a key battleground state from 1796 to the present, has only launched one presidential political career thus far: James Buchanan. Most Pennsylvanians are not particularly enthusiastic about this fact.
If Joe Biden is elected president in the upcoming election, he will be the first president to have launched a political career in Delaware — and the second born in Pennsylvania.