≡ Menu

What Does a Billion Dollars Mean?

Most the time people in America describe a billion as a thousand million.

But for this example, I would like to describe a billion as:

  • one million thousand or
  • ten million hundred

So that means you can visualize a stack of a billion dollars on your dining room table in the following different configurations:

Thinking in terms of $100 bills:Bundles of $10,000

  • Count out 50,000 stacks of 200 (two hundred) each, $100 bills
  • Count out 20,000 stacks of 500 (five hundred) each, $100 bills
  • Count out 10,000 stacks of 1000 (one thousand) each, $100 bills

$10K Bundles of $100 Bills

You could count out stacks of 100 each, $100 bills (like this picture of bundled hundreds).

Each bundle is $10,000 each.

You would need to count out 100,000 of these $10,000 stacks to create $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars).

You’d better have a very large dining room table.

stack of 10,000 $100 bills

Stacks of $100 Bills

Now it gets even more interesting when we start looking at stacks of $100 bills another way.

Suppose you wanted to make a single $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollar) stack of $100 bills.

It would have to be 10,000,000 bills high.

That is a stack of 10,000,000 – $100 bills…

According to the department of treasury a bill is .0043 inches thick. That means that 10,000,000 thick stack would be 43,000 inches tall or 3,573 feet tall – a little over 2/3 mile high.

Stacks of $1000 Bills

When we think of a $1Billion in terms of stacks of $1000 bills, a single stack would be 1,000,000 bills thick and would reach a height of 4,300 inches tall or 358.88 feet – 1.19 times the length of a football field – high

Remember a Million Thousand Earlier?

Now those stacks of $1000 bills on your dining room table would be could be configured this way:

  • Count out 1000 stacks, 1000 high each of $1000 bills
  • Count out 500 stacks, 2000 high each of $1000 bills
  • Count out 10,000 stacks of 100 each of $1000 bills

That’s 10,000 stacks of $100,000 bundles of $1000 bills. Whoa, that’s a lot of thousands – a million thousand.

Another Way of Looking at $1 Billion (1,000,000,0000) Dollars

  • $1 Billion of $100 bills end to end is approximately 55,000,000 inches long.
  • $1 Billion of $1 bills end to end is about 86,805.56 miles long, approximately 3.49 times the circumference of the earth

A Billion Is A Huge Number – How About One-Part-Per-Billion…

1. One 4-inch hamburger in a chain of hamburgers circling the earth at the equator 2.5 times.
2. One silver dollar in a roll of silver dollars stretching from Detroit to Salt Lake City.
3. One kernel of corn in a 45-foot high, 16-foot diameter silo.
4. One sheet in a roll of toilet paper stretching from New York to London.
5. One second of time in 31.71 years.

A billion is a difficult number to comprehend, but an advertising agency did a good job of putting that figure into some perspective in one of it’s releases. I added a few of my own here too…

  1. A billion seconds ago it was 1976.
  2. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
  3. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age
  4. A billion hours is about 114,155.25 years
  5. A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet
  6. A billion inches is 15,783 miles, more than halfway around the earth
  7. A billion dollars of the US debt – paying it off by one dollar a second – takes 31 years, 259 days, 1 hour, 46 minutes, and 40 seconds
  8. A billion dollars ago was only 3 hours, at the rate our government is spending it (based on figures from usgovernmentspending.com ) and we’re talking 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – 365 days a year – Congress will spend a little over 8 times that amount every 24 hours every single day in 2008

The next time you hear a politician use the word ‘billion’ in a casual manner, think about whether you want the ‘politicians’ spending YOUR tax money – to the tune of ~$2,931,200,000,000 (that’s 2931.2 Billion to be spent by Congress in 2008 )

Give or take a billion…

Washington, D. C < HELLO! > Are all your calculators broken ??

{ 3 comments… add one }