How much is a trillion dollars?

Million, billion, trillion … all big numbers. A trillion is just a bigger number, right? True … but it may be bigger than you think. A million is hard enough to imagine, much less a billion. We need some perspective on what these unimaginable numbers really mean.

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Numbers

We’ll start simple: how big is a trillion on paper?

1,000 = one thousand
1,000,000 = one million
1,000,000,000 = one billion
1,000,000,000,000 = one trillion

A million is equal to a thousand thousands (1,000 x 1,000).
A billion is equal to a thousand millions (1,000 x 1,000,000).
A trillion is equal to a thousand billions (1,000 x 1,000,000,000)
or a million millions (1,000,000 x 1,000,000).

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Time

How Long Ago Is a Trillion Seconds?

If you count backward, then:
1 million seconds = 12 days ago
1 billion seconds = 31 years ago
1 trillion seconds = 30,000 B.C.
(give or take a decade or two)

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Height

How high is a trillion in $1000 bills?

If you stack a trillion-worth of $1000 bills together, then:
1 million dollars = 4 inches high
1 billion dollars = 364 feet high
1 trillion dollars = 63 miles high
(give or take a foot or two)
Note that this is a STACK, not laid end-to-end.

Let’s Measure a Trillion in Money

With about 305,000,000 people and 111,000,000 households in the U.S.

$1 Million is 1¢ per household,
$1 Billion is $3.28 per person and $9 per household,
$1 Trillion is $3,280 per person and $9,000 per household

If a person’s salary is $40,000 per year it would take:

25 years to earn $1 Million
25 Thousand years to earn $1 Billion,
25 Million years to earn $1 Trillion

 If you lived to be 80 years of age, to have:

$1 Million you would have to save $34 each day of your life,
$1 Billion you would have to save $34,000 each day of your life,
$1 Trillion you would have to save $34 Million each day of your life


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  2. Pingback: The Federal Reserve Is Destroying Working America.

  3. Wow. the Iraq Invasion and debacle cost us a trillion and counting, but Obama is the worst President ever because he wants the USA to join the rest of the developed nations in caring for it’s citizens?

  4. Not only that, but our nation originally gave money, support, and/or weapons to Saddam Hussein and the Taliban when we didn’t like the opposing side- USSR in the Taliban’s case. And Osama Bin Laden was killed on Obama’s watch.

    • No I wouldn’t know that if Fox News didn’t tell me, aren’t you glad, freedom of speech is apart of your world? Now the real question is, from the tone of your answer, your screaming “Fox News LIES. ” but, how can a factual mathematic number produced by Obama be a lie? A number is a number,. You just hate the fact that there’s no defense for the destruction Obama and the Demarcates have done to this once great country

  5. Pingback: How much is a Million Dollars? A Trillion? A Billion? | Little Bitty Eagle

  6. SJC

    I know it would not pay off the 17 trillion dollar debt we owe but if all the riches of rich would contribute several billion or million toward the debt it would decrease tremendously and then each americian contributed 1000.00 per month the debt would have to come down a lot. The big question I have is why would America sit back and do nothing while Obama created this kind of debt? What is wrong with the American people. I would have thought they would have dragged Obama out and tarred and feathered him before he would be allowed to do this to our country. I personally would have loved to see someone with a little bit of backbone do something. I don’t have a platform to speak to the people that matter if I did I would have told them before he finished his first term ” Don’t allow this again”. It makes us all look like idiots and makes us look like we are a bunch of cows with smiles on our faces being led out to slaughter.

  7. Nope

    Previously in British English (but not in American English), the word “billion” referred to a million millions (1,000,000,000,000). However, this is no longer the case, and the word has been used unambiguously to mean one thousand million (1,000,000,000) for some time. The alternative term “one thousand million” is rare and is used primarily to ease understanding among non-native speakers of English, as many other languages use words similar to “billion” (e.g. Spanish billón) to mean one trillion (1,000,000,000,000 or a million millions).

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