Fact Check

Barack Obama's Net Worth

Barack Obama's net worth increased over $10 million from 2008 to 2012?

Published Oct 16, 2012

Claim:   Barack Obama's net worth increased over $10 million from 2008 to 2012.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, October 2012]

Seen on Facebook: Tea party's photo of President Obama on a golf cart purporting his net worth 12/31/07 and 12/31/11


Origins:   This graphic claiming that Barack Obama's net worth had increased from $1.3 million at the end of 2007 to over $11.4 million by the end of 2011 was widely circulated in October 2012.

It's fair to say the Obamas' net worth has increased significantly during the time Barack Obama has been President, but fixing a specific

dollar amount to that increase is difficult: net worth figures for politicians are typically derived from analyzing financial disclosure forms, a method which leaves room for a good deal of interpretation.

Certainly the dollar figures displayed in the above graphic were not just pulled out of thin air: CNN/Money did peg Barack Obama's net worth at $1.3 million in 2007, and some sources (such as this Associated Press article) stated his net worth in mid-2012 to be around $11.8 million.

Other sources vary widely regarding the latter figure, however. In mid-2012 Forbes estimated the Obamas' net worth to be $5.7 million (down slightly from the previous year), OpenSecrets.org put the figure somewhere in the broad range of "$1,566,014 to $7,764,999," and other sources listed similarly broad range estimates such as "somewhere between $2.6 million and nearly $8.3 million."

The Forbes report noted why the online version of its article included a considerably lower estimation of the Obamas' net worth than the print version of its article had:

The current issue of Forbes magazine values the Obamas at a shared net worth of nearly $9 million, based on the May 16, 2011 financial disclosure, the most up-to-date as of press time. The day after our issue went to press, Obama released his new financial disclosure form, showing that: 1) the Obamas have taken money out of treasurys; 2) book money is decreasing; and 3) the family still owes on its mortgage, disclosed for the first time. The latest disclosure also gave new information on the family’s college savings plans, which allowed us to refine our valuation and bring the sum down. The above valuation takes all this into account.

Last updated:   16 October 2012

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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