Reading Level of State of the Union Addresses

datascience@berkeley collected the reading level of each president’s first State of the Union address using the Flesch-Kincaid readability test. The test’s scale of 0-18 correlates to grade level. For example, Trump’s score of 8.1 places his speech at an 8th grade reading level; Wilson’s score of 15.6 places his speech at a collegiate reading level.

PresidentPartyYearFlesch-Kincaid Grade Level
Donald J. TrumpRepublican20188.1
Barack ObamaDemocrat20108.7
George W. BushRepublican20029.8
Bill ClintonDemocrat19948.9
George Bush Sr.Republican19909.0
Ronald ReaganRepublican198211.1
James Carter, Jr.Democrat19789.8
Gerald FordRepublican197510.9
Richard NixonRepublican197010.8
Lyndon B. JohnsonDemocrat196411.4
John F. KennedyDemocrat196112.8
Dwight D. EisenhowerRepublican195312.4
Harry S. TrumanDemocrat194612.7
Franklin D. RooseveltDemocrat193415.5
Herbert HooverRepublican192914.5
Calvin CoolidgeRepublican192310.9
Warren HardingRepublican192114.7
Woodrow WilsonDemocrat191315.6

Transcripts: https://presidency.ucsb.edu/sou.php