The Most Influential Contemporary Americans People
Ultimate List
52,314 votes 230,876 views more info

The Most Influential Contemporary Americans

List Criteria: Americans who are alive today (or who died less than 20 years ago) and have impacted the way Americans live their lives

A list of the Americans who have had the most central influence on, or importance to, the modern era. This would include Americans who have most significantly altered the course of events from roughly the 1980s onward. So while someone like Ronald Reagan or Steve Jobs might very well apply, figures like Franklin D. Roosevelt or even Martin Luther King Jr. would probably not be considered contemporary enough to qualify.

Americans from every walk of life and every industry have managed to profoundly influence the country. This can include efforts to alter the culture or perspective of Americans, technological or scientific innovations that forever changed the way we live, business achievements which altered the course of one or multiple industries, or political decisions that permanently shifted later events in America and the world.

Vote for the Americans below you think had the greatest impact on the way we live today. Or if you don't see your selection, add it by making your own list.
  • 15 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 1
    Up 924
    Down 379

    age 59

    open
  2. 2
    Up 873
    Down 461

    most listed Died at 56 (1955-2011)

    open
  3. 3
    Up 1178
    Down 1097

    the people's #1 age 53

    open
  4. 4
    Up 1410
    Down 524

    Died at 93 (1911-2004)

    open
  5. 5
    Up 646
    Down 720

    age 68

    open
  6. 6
    Up 837
    Down 771

    age 60

    open
  7. 7
    Up 881
    Down 732

    age 68

    open
  8. 8
    Up 469
    Down 695

    age 30

    open
  9. 9
    Up 378
    Down 653

    age 52

    open
  10. 10
    Up 419
    Down 463

    age 73

    open
  11. 11
    Up 535
    Down 476

    age 84

    open
  12. 12
    Up 701
    Down 396

    ranked low on reranks age 68

    open
  13. 13
    Up 688
    Down 811

    age 67

    open
  14. 14
    Up 206
    Down 564

    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 83

    open
  15. 15
    Up 478
    Down 445

    Died at 71 (1937-2008)

    open
  16. 16
    Up 523
    Down 417

    age 72

    open
  17. 17
    Up 513
    Down 387

    age 70

    open
  18. 18
    Up 244
    Down 514

    age 88

    open
  19. 19
    Up 326
    Down 367

    age 72

    open
  20. 20
    Up 255
    Down 747

    age 73

    open
  21. 21
    Up 485
    Down 371

    ranked low on reranks age 51

    open
  22. 22
    Up 438
    Down 747

    age 66

    open
  23. 23
    Up 32
    Down 53

    age 67

    open
  24. 24
    Up 299
    Down 664

    age 50

    open
  25. 25
    Up 314
    Down 611

    age 63

    open
  26. 26
    Up 377
    Down 419

    age 77

    open
  27. 27
    Up 177
    Down 438

    age 86

    open
  28. 28
    Up 128
    Down 490

    age 61

    open
  29. 29
    Up 310
    Down 496

    age 51

    open
  30. 30
    Up 340
    Down 336

    ranked low on reranks age 92

    open
  31. 31
    Up 171
    Down 596

    often listed & ranked high on reranks age 78

    open
  32. 32
    Up 272
    Down 303

    age 90

    open
  33. 33
    Up 346
    Down 459

    age 90

    open
  34. 34
    Up 223
    Down 250

    added by BostonBruins age 60

    open
  35. 35
    Up 261
    Down 411

    age 91

    open
  36. 36
    Up 131
    Down 455

    age 79

    open
  37. 37
    Up 181
    Down 396

    age 80

    open
  38. 38
    Up 102
    Down 381

    age 50

    open
  39. 39
    Up 136
    Down 635

    age 60

    open
  40. 40
    Up 275
    Down 539

    age 90

    open
  41. 41
    Up 199
    Down 551

    age 60

    open
  42. 42
    Up 55
    Down 108

    added by jschro1861 Died at 93 (1916-2009)

    open
  43. 43
    Up 146
    Down 290

    added by 2probb Died at 51 (1958-2009)

    open
  44. 44
    Up 122
    Down 393

    Died at 68 (1937-2005)

    open
  45. 45
    Up 185
    Down 388

    Died at 66 (1942-2008)

    open
  46. 46
    Up 226
    Down 500

    age 39

    open
  47. 47
    Up 114
    Down 244

    age 69

    open
  48. 48
    Up 166
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks & added by JonathanWilliams age 56

    open
  49. 49
    Up 126
    Down 510

    age 64

    open
  50. 50
    Up 70
    Down 295

    age 57

    open
64 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists