Before and after photos show how dramatically 15 world leaders have aged in office

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is flanked by U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is flanked by U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping

  • Being a world leader comes with a lot of responsibility. It also involves grueling days, difficult decisions, and a consistent amount of high pressure.
  • The intensity of these roles can age leaders during their time in office, and because of the scrutiny of modern-day media, there are photos to show these changes.
  • These before and after photos show how 15 world leaders, from Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin to Queen Elizabeth, have aged in office.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

Being a president, prime minister, or supreme leader is by no means a guaranteed way to stay youthful.

Election cycles, political compromises, long days, and difficult decisions are just a few of the things world leaders have to deal with on a daily basis.
Advertisement
In 2015, the British Medical Journal published a study comparing elected leaders and runner-ups in 17 countries between 1722 to 2015 to see how hard being a world leader is on the body.

The study concluded that becoming a head of government "substantially" increased the risk of mortality. Candidates who served as a head of government lived about 4 years less after their last election than those who never served.

Here are 30 photos showing how world leaders have aged since they were first elected.
Advertisement

{{}}

Here's President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration in January 2017. He was 70 when he took office, the oldest in US history.

Here's President Donald Trump on the day of his inauguration in January 2017. He was 70 when he took office, the oldest in US history.

At age 73 in 2019, here at a news conference in South Korea, he doesn't look too different.

At age 73 in 2019, here at a news conference in South Korea, he doesn't look too different.
Advertisement

British Prime Minister Theresa May came to power in 2016 during a chaotic political time while Britain decided whether or not to remain part of the European Union.

British Prime Minister Theresa May came to power in 2016 during a chaotic political time while Britain decided whether or not to remain part of the European Union.

After a stressful three years, and no concrete outcome, May resigned as Prime Minister in 2019.

After a stressful three years, and no concrete outcome, May resigned as Prime Minister in 2019.
Advertisement

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became leader in 2015, after a surprise victory ousting a government that had been in power for the previous 9 years. He was 43.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became leader in 2015, after a surprise victory ousting a government that had been in power for the previous 9 years. He was 43.

Source: Washington Post

In 2019, with another election approaching, the biggest change looks to be the length of his hair.

In 2019, with another election approaching, the biggest change looks to be the length of his hair.
Advertisement

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in a historic landslide victory in 2014. He was 63.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in a historic landslide victory in 2014. He was 63.

Source: The Guardian

In 2019, after winning another term, he's looking pretty similar. The beard's a little trimmer.

In 2019, after winning another term, he's looking pretty similar. The beard's a little trimmer.
Advertisement

Xi Jinping became China's president in 2013, after being elected general secretary of the Communist Party in 2012. He was 59.

Xi Jinping became China's president in 2013, after being elected general secretary of the Communist Party in 2012. He was 59.

Other than some grey hairs, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong doesn't look too different.

Other than some grey hairs, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong doesn't look too different.

Source: BBC News

Advertisement

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro assumed power at age 50 in 2013 after the death of former President Hugo Chavez.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro assumed power at age 50 in 2013 after the death of former President Hugo Chavez.

Source: AP

In 2019 he's looking a little weathered, which makes sense considering the country's weak economy and a continuing struggle over who the legitimate Venezuelan president should be.

In 2019 he's looking a little weathered, which makes sense considering the country's weak economy and a continuing struggle over who the legitimate Venezuelan president should be.

Source: Vox

Advertisement

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un came to power as one of the youngest world leaders in 2011 after his father, Kim Jong-Il, died. At age 30, he inherited a nuclear arsenal and a bevy of human rights abuses.

North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un came to power as one of the youngest world leaders in 2011 after his father, Kim Jong-Il, died. At age 30, he inherited a nuclear arsenal and a bevy of human rights abuses.

Source: Business Insider

Here he is meeting with Trump in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas in June 2019. A trip to Beijing in 2018 was his first known time outside of North Korea since becoming leader.

Here he is meeting with Trump in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas in June 2019. A trip to Beijing in 2018 was his first known time outside of North Korea since becoming leader.

Source: Business Insider

Advertisement

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's first elected female leader, came to power in 2006 at age 51.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the country's first elected female leader, came to power in 2006 at age 51.

Source: BBC News

Here she is in 2019 after 13 years as Germany's leader. She's said her current term, her fourth, will be her last.

Here she is in 2019 after 13 years as Germany's leader. She's said her current term, her fourth, will be her last.

Source: NPR

Advertisement

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was elected in 2006, but stepped down after a year in office, citing health issues.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was elected in 2006, but stepped down after a year in office, citing health issues.

Source: BBC News

He was re-elected as prime minister in 2012, and in 2019 he's on track to become Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister. Abe is now 64.

He was re-elected as prime minister in 2012, and in 2019 he's on track to become Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister. Abe is now 64.

Source: The Guardian

Advertisement

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the president of Turkey in 2014, after also serving as prime minister for 11 years. This is him in 2002.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected as the president of Turkey in 2014, after also serving as prime minister for 11 years. This is him in 2002.

Source: BBC News

At age 65 in 2019, Erdogan is looking older after a particularly stressful year when his party twice lost the mayoral race for Istanbul. He's previously said that when the city was lost, the country would be, too.

At age 65 in 2019, Erdogan is looking older after a particularly stressful year when his party twice lost the mayoral race for Istanbul. He's previously said that when the city was lost, the country would be, too.

Source: Al-Monitor

Advertisement

Russian leader Vladimir Putin became prime minister in 1999 after working as a spy and security chief. In 2000 he went on to become president when Boris Yeltsin resigned. He was 47.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin became prime minister in 1999 after working as a spy and security chief. In 2000 he went on to become president when Boris Yeltsin resigned. He was 47.

Sources: CNN, The New York Times

Now 66, here's Putin nearly two decades after he came to power.

Now 66, here's Putin nearly two decades after he came to power.
Advertisement

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected in 1996 and again in 2009 after a 10-year gap.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was elected in 1996 and again in 2009 after a 10-year gap.

Here he is at age 69 in 2019. In April, it looked like he had won a fifth term as prime minister, but after failing to produce a coalition government, Israel will decide who its leader will be in September.

Here he is at age 69 in 2019. In April, it looked like he had won a fifth term as prime minister, but after failing to produce a coalition government, Israel will decide who its leader will be in September.

Sources: CNN, AP

Advertisement

In 1981, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became Iran's president at age 42. He served in that role until 1989, when he became Iran's supreme leader, which he still is today.

In 1981, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei became Iran's president at age 42. He served in that role until 1989, when he became Iran's supreme leader, which he still is today.

Source: CNN

Here he is in 2019. In July he'll celebrate his 80th birthday.

Here he is in 2019. In July he'll celebrate his 80th birthday.
Advertisement

Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been in power since a military coup in 1979. He is the world's longest currently serving world leader.

Equatorial Guinea's president Teodoro Obiang Nguema has been in power since a military coup in 1979. He is the world's longest currently serving world leader.

Source: Nation

Here he is in 2018 after 39 years as president.

Here he is in 2018 after 39 years as president.
Advertisement

Queen Elizabeth II wasn't elected, but she's the longest-serving living monarch in the world. Here she is at age 30 in 1957, five years after becoming queen.

Queen Elizabeth II wasn't elected, but she's the longest-serving living monarch in the world. Here she is at age 30 in 1957, five years after becoming queen.

At 93, after a lifetime in the public eye, she's still smiling.

At 93, after a lifetime in the public eye, she's still smiling.
Advertisement