Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born on November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1953, the Biden family moved from Pennsylvania to Delaware. Joe Biden graduated from the University of Delaware and Syracuse Law School and served on the New Castle County Council. In 1972, at the age of 29, he was elected to the United States Senate.
Just weeks after the election, tragedy struck the Biden family. Biden's wife, Neilia, and their one-year-old daughter, Naomi, were killed and their two young sons, Joseph “Beau” III and Hunter, critically injured in a car accident. Biden took the Senate oath of office at the hospital and began commuting to Washington every day by train, a practice he maintained throughout his career in the Senate.
In 1977, Biden married Jill Jacobs. Jill Biden, who holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in Education, has worked as an educator for over two decades. The Bidens raised three children: Beau, Hunter, and Ashley. In 2015, Beau Biden passed away from brain cancer.
As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, Biden was recognized for his work on criminal justice issues, including the landmark 1994 Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. Biden served 36 years in the United States Senate.
In 2008, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his running mate. Biden served as Vice President of the United States from 2009 to 2017. As vice president, he implemented the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, advised President Obama on key foreign policy decisions, led several initiatives to reduce violence against women, and initiated the “Cancer Moonshot” program. On January 12, 2017, President Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his decades of public service.
In 2020, Joe Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump to become the 46th President of the United States. Biden is the oldest person to take the oath of office (78), the first president from Delaware, and the second Roman Catholic president in United States history (the first was John F. Kennedy).
During the campaign, Biden selected Kamala Harris as his running mate. Harris is the first woman, first African American, and first person of South Asian heritage to serve as Vice President of the United States.
Read a full biography of President Biden on whitehouse.gov.
You Might Also Like
Podcast Voices from a Night at the Met
Since November 3, 1961, the White House Historical Association has served as the private partner to the White House to enrich, enhance,...
Collection The Presidents
Biographies & Portraits
Collection The First Ladies
Biographies & Portraits
Bio Dr. Jill Biden
Jill Tracy Jacobs Biden was born on June 3, 1951, in Hammonton, New Jersey. Growing up in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, she graduated...
For much of American history, the spouse of the Vice President of the United States did not maintain a prominent...
Notably Absent: Presidential No-Shows on Inauguration Day
Since 1789, the Inauguration of a president has marked the beginning of a new chapter in American history. As historian Paul...
In 1848, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts was offered the vice-presidential nomination for the Whig Party, alongside presidential nominee Zachary Taylor....
The Presidents Timeline
GEORGE WASHINGTON | 1789-1797 JOHN ADAMS | 1797-1801 THOMAS JEFFERSON | 1801-1809 JAMES MADISON | 1809-1817 JAMES MONROE | 1817-1825 JOHN QUINCY ADAMS | 1825-1829 ANDREW...
The First Ladies Timeline
Martha WashingtonAbigail AdamsMartha JeffersonDolley MadisonElizabeth MonroeLouisa AdamsRachel Jackson / Emily DonelsonHannah Van Buren / Angelica Van BurenAnna Harrison / Jane HarrisonLetitia Tyler / Julia...
Video First Ladies Symposium: Welcome and Introduction
The 2021 First Ladies Symposium was a day-long event, hosted by the White House Historical Association in partnership with American University's...
Video White House Historical Association 60th Anniversary Gala
The White House Historical Association celebrated its 60th anniversary with a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New...
Press NEW Episode: The 1600 Sessions Podcast “Voices from a Night at the Met”
The White House Historical Association released a new episode of the 1600 Sessions podcast today, “Voices from a Night at the Me...