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Just How Much Is One Trillion?

It is a lot, keep reading to find out just how much.

A trillion. You’ve probably heard the word before. It’s a huge number. Look around your classroom or your house – there are easily a few collections of a hundred, maybe even a thousand, things. So what does a trillion look like? Well, let’s look at it a few different ways.

The simplest way to show one trillion is 1012 or ten to the twelfth power. Or a one with 12 zeros after it: 1,000,000,000,000. Neither of these really capture the true scale of how much a trillion is, though.girl holding some money

Think about seconds. There are sixty seconds in a minute. Sixty minutes to an hour and twenty-four hours in a day. So 60 x 60 x 24 = 86,400 seconds in a day. Not even close to a trillion. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you have 31,536,000 seconds. That means a million seconds is eleven and a half days. A billion seconds is 11,574 days or a little shy of 32 years. A trillion seconds is 11,574,074 days. Eleven and a half million days. That’s 31,709 years. A trillion is huge.

Want to know how much a trillion is in money? Get ready for some crazy numbers! Let’s use $100 bills as the measurement. From the mint, $100 bills come in a stack of 100. Each stack is worth $10,000 and is about ½ inch thick.

For a million dollars you have 100 of those stacks. You could carry that in a backpack and it would weigh about 22 pounds; stacked up it’d be about as high as a chair. Now, $100 million changes things: you’d need a pallet and it’d weigh about a ton.

For a billion dollars you would need ten of those pallets of money. Ten tons of money. You’d need a semi-truck to move that much weight—20,000 pounds!

Now for a trillion dollars.

In $100 bills, you would have ten thousand pallets of money. That would cover enough space to park multiple jumbo jets. In dollar bills, you’d have one million pallets of money. That’s about three football fields of money, stacked a few feet deep. That is insane! That would weigh 22,046,244 pounds in $100 bills. In one-dollar bills, you’re looking at 2.2 billion pounds.

To break a trillion down to an amount you can see, one trillion grains of sand would weigh around 50–100 pounds. Tiny particles of sand. It’s a lot to think about.

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