“For changing the American story, for showing that the forces of empathy are greater than the furies of division, for sharing a vision of healing in a grieving world,” Time said, explaining its choice.
The Democratic pair were chosen ahead of three other finalists: frontline health care workers and Anthony Fauci, the racial justice movement and President Trump.
Time’s magazine cover boasts portraits of Biden, 78, and Harris, 56, with the subtitle “Changing America’s story.”
“Together, they offered restoration and renewal in a single ticket. And America bought what they were selling,” the publication said.
Biden beat Trump by 306 electoral college votes to Trump’s 232 to end the real estate tycoon-turned-politician’s presidency after one term.
Biden received roughly seven million more votes than his Republican adversary, who is yet to concede, claiming widespread fraud of which there is no evidence.
Time praised the Democratic ticket for ousting an incumbent president for the just the 10th time in US history.
“Biden and Harris had to revive the party’s fading strength with white voters without college degrees; energize its emerging base of diverse, urban young voters; and motivate the hordes of angry suburbanites, particularly college graduates and women, who had fled the Trump-era GOP,” it wrote.
Time magazine’s award — handed out annually since 1927 — honors the person or people who most impacted the news, for better or worse, during the calendar year.
When asked by Time what he would like people to say about him after four years in the White House, Biden replied: “That America was better off and average Americans are better off the day we left than the day we arrived. That’s my objective.”
Harris is the first Vice President-elect to be named Person of the Year.
She said in an interview with Time that Biden’s administration would have to tackle a host of issues from the White House, including the pandemic, an “economic crisis” and a “long-overdue reckoning on racial justice.”
“We have to be able to multitask, just like any parent or any human being does,” Harris said.
Essential workers on the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic, including doctors, nurses and grocery store employees, had topped a readers’ poll of who should be named Person of the Year.
Earlier Thursday, Time named basketball superstar LeBron James Athlete of the Year for his achievements on and off the court.
The 35-year-old Los Angeles Lakers player was honored for battling voter suppression among Black citizens in a year when he won his fourth NBA title.
K-Pop sensation BTS was named Entertainer of the Year.
Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg was Time’s Person of the Year last year, while Trump won in 2016.