Barack Obama makes final farewell address as US President in Chicago

Barack Obama makes final farewell address as US President in Chicago

Barack Obama makes final farewell address as US President in Chicago

Updated 11 January 2017, 13:30 AEDT

After eight years as President of the United States, Barack Obama takes the stage to make his farewell address as leader.

After eight years as President of the United States, Barack Obama is making his farewell address as leader.

Mr Obama has returned to his home town of Chicago to give a final farewell address to the nation.

The outgoing President is speaking at the McCormick place Convention Centre near the shore of Lake Michigan to a much smaller crowd than the 240,000 people who gathered in the city for his historic victory speech in 2008.

He is expected to use the address to look back at the progress America has made in the last eight years, and share his thoughts on what the country needs to do to meet future challenges.

His top policy achievements were jolted by the November 8 election of Donald Trump, who has threatened to undo Mr Obama's actions on issues ranging from advancing healthcare reform to curbing climate change.

Mr Obama is expected to speak about how his experience in Chicago — at the start of his political career — taught him that change happens from the grassroots.

First lady Michelle Obama, Vice-President Joe Biden, his wife, Jill Biden, and many current and former White House staff members and campaign workers are attending the speech.

"The President is not one to be overly sentimental, but given the circumstances, I think it would be unrealistic to expect anybody to not feel some nostalgia for this moment," his spokesman, Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with Mr Obama.

Even the final trip on the presidential aircraft was a moment tinged with wistfulness. It was Mr Obama's 445th trip on the presidential aircraft, a perk he has said he will miss when he leaves office.

All told, he will have spent more than 2,800 hours or 116 days on the plane during his presidency, Mr Earnest said.

Mr Obama has said he planned to reflect on his administration's achievements in his address, encouraging supporters to keep fighting for issues like the environment, gay rights and economic equality.

Mr Obama will vacate the White House in 10 days when his successor Donald Trump is inaugurated.

He plans to remain in Washington for the next two years while his younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school.

He has indicated he wants to give Mr Trump the same space that his predecessor, Republican President George W Bush, gave him after leaving office by not maintaining a high public profile.

In the days leading up to the address, crowds braved the cold, lining up at McCormick Place in the early hours of the morning in the hope of getting their hands of a ticket to the historic address.