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Where Do Former Presidents Live After Leaving the White House?

After their tenure in the White House, former U.S. Presidents often retreat to private residences, some returning to their hometowns, while others settle in new locales for a quieter life. These homes range from modest to lavish, reflecting their personal tastes and legacies. Wondering which president chose a ranch or who opted for city life? Join us as we unveil their post-presidential abodes.

The White House in Washington, D.C., is an impressive building, but does it ever really feel like home to the President and First Lady? After all, they'll live there for a maximum of eight years, and then they've got to find a real home.

While most world leaders retire to the comfort of a fairly big and expensive house, former President Jimmy Carter and his wife of 75 years, Rosalynn, prefer to keep things plain – and in Plains. The former White House occupants returned to their hometown of Plains, Georgia (current population 700) in 1981, shortly after Carter lost his re-election bid to Ronald Reagan.

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn live in the same two-bedroom house they built in Plains, Georgia, in 1961.
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn live in the same two-bedroom house they built in Plains, Georgia, in 1961.

In fact, the Carters did more than just return to Plains: They moved back into the ranch house they had built in 1961 and have lived frugally there ever since. The house was assessed relatively recently at a modest $167,000 – which wouldn't even pay for the armored Secret Service vehicles parked outside

Gerald Rafshoon, Carter’s former communications director, said the ex-president is simply humble. “He doesn’t like big shots, and he doesn’t think he’s a big shot,” he said.

More about Jimmy Carter:

  • Carter's post-presidency has been the longest in history; it's been more than 40 years since he left office. The 97-year-old has spent the last four decades writing books, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, teaching Sunday School, and advocating for human rights, global health, and fair elections through the Carter Center.

  • Carter said he greatly admired Harry S. Truman because Truman didn't try to profit from his presidency. Unlike many other ex-presidents, Carter has shunned lucrative speaking engagements.

  • While in office, Carter carried his own briefcase, sold the presidential yacht, and wouldn't allow "Hail to the Chief" to be played.

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    • Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn live in the same two-bedroom house they built in Plains, Georgia, in 1961.
      Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn live in the same two-bedroom house they built in Plains, Georgia, in 1961.