"Both President and Mrs. Carter are both determined to use their influence for as long as they can to make the world a better place, and millions of the world's poorest people are grateful for their resolve and heart," a spokeswoman said

By Maria Pasquini
March 22, 2019 12:08 PM
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Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter has officially become the oldest living American president.

As of Friday, Carter — who was born on Oct. 1, 1924, and is 94 years and 173 days old — surpassed the previous record held by the late George H. W. Bush, who was 94 years and 171 days old when he passed away last year.

Carter, the nation’s 39th president, lives in Plains, Georgia, with his wife of 72 years, Rosalynn Carter, 91.

Despite his advanced age and a cancer diagnosis in recent years, Carter remains active and continues to regularly teach Sunday school at his local Maranatha Baptist Church.

“He and Mrs. Carter take walks, and they have followed a healthy diet for a lifetime,” Carter Center spokeswoman Deanna Congileo told CNN.

“Both President and Mrs. Carter are both determined to use their influence for as long as they can to make the world a better place, and millions of the world’s poorest people are grateful for their resolve and heart,” Congileo added.

Carter, who famously worked on his family’s peanut farm before entering into politics, assumed the presidency in 1976. During his one term in office, the Democratic former Georgia governor helped broker a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, but went on to face various foreign policy setbacks.

He lost his bid for re-election to Republican Ronald Reagan.

After leaving office, Carter, who has been nicknamed the “active ex-president,” received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, and both he and his wife have continued their work with Habitat for Humanity.

According to the organization’s website, the former president and his wife have been working with Habitat for more than three decades and have helped build, renovate and repair of “more than 4,000 homes.”

Jimmy Carter in 1977
| Credit: Library of Congress/MCT/MCT via Getty
From left: Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn Carter in 2015

Carter and his wife currently share a modest life together in Georgia, where they live in a $167,000 two-bedroom rancher.

In a 2018 profile by the Washington Post, it was noted that not only is Carter the only modern-era president to return full-time to the house he lived in before he entered politics, but he’s also the only living president who saves taxpayers money.

That year, Carter’s pensions, office, staff and other expenses cost the government $456,000 — less than half the $952,000 budgeted for George H. W. Bush and the $1 million for former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

To this day, Carter continues to teach Sunday School at Marantha Baptist Church, but has cut back his schedule in recent years. Currently, he has only two scheduled dates listed on the church’s website: April 14, and 28.

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Although Carter continues to live an active lifestyle — and continues to speak out against the Trump administration — he has experienced a handful of health problems in his later years.

In 2015, the former president revealed he was diagnosed with cancer after a melanoma was discovered in his liver. He said the disease spread to other parts of his body — including four “very small” spots in his brain — but a year later said he was cancer-free.

In July 2017, Carter also collapsed from dehydration while working at a Habitat for Humanity work site in Winnipeg, Canada, but was back in action the following day.