Mr Trump, 70, pledged in his victory speech to be a President “for all Americans.” He also said “We owe her (Hillary) a major debt of gratitude for her service.”
A wealthy real-estate developer and former reality TV host, Trump rode a wave of anger toward Washington insiders to defeat Clinton, whose gold-plated establishment resume includes stints as a first lady, US senator and secretary of state.
The Associated Press and Fox News projected that Trump had collected just enough of the 270 state-by-state electoral votes needed to win a four-year term that starts on January 20, taking battleground states where presidential elections are traditionally decided.
Trump told thousands of cheering supporters that Clinton had called him and conceded defeat.
Victorious in a cliffhanger race that opinion polls had forecast was Clinton’s to win, Trump won avid support among a core base of white non-college educated workers with his promise to be the “greatest jobs president that God ever created”.
Both candidates, albeit Trump more than Clinton, had historically low popularity ratings in an election that many voters characterized as a choice between two unpleasant alternative.
Trump, who at 70 will be the oldest first-term US president, came out on top after a bitter and divisive campaign that focused largely on the character of the candidates and whether they could be trusted to serve as the country’s 45th president. The presidency will be his first elected office.
During the campaign, Trump said he would “make America great again” through the force of his personality, negotiating skill and business acumen. He proposed refusing entry to the United States of people from war-torn Middle Eastern countries, a modified version of an earlier proposed ban on Muslims.
He offered vague plans to win economic concessions from China, to build a wall on the southern US border with Mexico to keep out undocumented immigrants and to pay for it with tax money sent home by migrants.
In October, a 2005 video surfaced in which he boasted about making unwanted sexual advances on women. He apologised but within days, several women emerged to say he had groped them, allegations he denied. He was judged the loser of all three presidential debates with Clinton.