About 31 million people watched Donald Trump be sworn in as president on Friday, about average for first-term presidents in recent history.

Per Nielsen, 30.64 million people tuned in across 12 networks’ inauguration day coverage. The ratings service measured ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, HLN, Fox Business, CNBC, Univision, Telemundo and Galavision.

That’s the fifth largest audience for an inuagural since 1969, as far back as Nielsen’s figures go. Ronald Reagan in 1981 holds the record with 41.8 million viewers, followed by Barack Obama’s first swearing in in 2009 at 37.79 million. The audience for Trump’s swearing in was bigger than those of Bill Clinton in 1992 (29.72 million) and George W. Bush in 2001 (29.01 million).

The average viewership for the inauguration of an incoming first-term president since 1969 is 30.32 million.

Nielsen also notes that more than 60 percent of Friday’s audience (19.21 million) was over age 55. Only 2.81 million adults under 35 tuned in.

Presidents being sworn in for their first term tend to have much higher viewing than those in their second term — the audience for Reagan’s, Clinton’s, George W. Bush’s and Obama’s second inaugurations shrank by an average of 40 percent.

Among individual networks, Fox News led with an average of 8.4 million viewers from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, peaking at 11.8 million for the swearing in and Trump’s inaugural address from noon-12:30 p.m. NBC was second for the full day at 5.8 million viewers, followed by ABC (4.9 million), CBS (4.6 million) and CNN (4.5 million).

Here’s the rundown of inauguration audiences since 1969, from largest to smallest.

Year President Term Viewers (millions)
1981 Ronald Reagan First 41.8
2009 Barack Obama First 37.79
1977 Jimmy Carter First 34.13
1973 Richard Nixon Second 32.95
2017 Donald Trump First 30.64
1993 Bill Clinton First 29.72
2001 George W. Bush First 29.01
1969 Richard Nixon First 27.01
1985* Ronald Reagan Second 25.05
1989 George H.W. Bush First 23.32
1997 Bill Clinton Second 21.58
2013* Barack Obama Second 20.55
2005 George W. Bush Second 15.54

*Inauguration took place on Monday, Jan. 21.

Source: The Nielsen Company.

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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