James Earl Carter Jr. was born in Plains, Georgia on October 1, 1924. His father, James Earl Carter Sr, was a prosperous businessman and farmland investor, while his mother, Bessie Lilian, worked as a nurse at the Wise Sanitarium where Carter was delivered.
Between 1937 and 1941, Carter attended a local high school before joining the Naval Academy in 1943, fulfilling his lifelong dream of serving in the military like his father, who had served in the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps during WWI.
During his stay at the Naval Academy, Carter met his future wife, Rosalynn, through his sister Ruth. “I just felt compatible with her,” he said in Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas’ book What Makes a Marriage Last, according to People. After graduating from the Naval Academy, the couple married in 1946.
Following his military career, Carter retired from the Navy to focus on his family and their business. In 1961, he built a ranch-style house for his wife and four children, which now holds an estimated value of $209,996 according to Zillow. The house also served as Carter’s home after his presidency. Unlike many of his predecessors and successors, Carter refused to capitalize financially on his post-presidential popularity, returning to his roots instead. “It just never had been my ambition to be rich,” he said.
Carter was able to live a comfortable life despite selling off his peanut business to pay off his debts. He resorted to writing the $217,000 annual pension to make ends meet.
The 2019 fiscal year budget from the General Services Administration revealed that Carter cost taxpayers $456,000 compared to the $952,000 budgeted for former president George H. W. Bush. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama cost $1 million.
Carter has been seen shopping for clothes at the local Dollar General and flying commercial airlines when he travels. After leaving the White House, he taught at Emory University and a Baptist Sunday school. Garth Brooks told Yahoo, “He’s going to outwork you every time he comes on the job site.”
We’re pleased to share this wonderful photo from the @POTUS and @FLOTUS visit to see the Carters in Plains, Ga.!
Thank you President and Mrs. Biden! pic.twitter.com/QcA33iUev4
— The Carter Center (@CarterCenter) May 4, 2021