What's a Trillion?  Understanding the Size of the U.S. National Debt*

Millions, Billions, Trillions: The Big Number Problem 

In order to understand a big, abstract number like one million or one billion, it helps to put it in terms of things we experience every day. But even then, big numbers stretch the imagination.  Big numbers can be really hard to understand. Whenever a word ends in “—illions,” it’s easy to just think of it as a whole lot of something, and nothing more. But there is a huge difference between one million and one trillion.

How much is one trillion?  (For Glenn Beck's definition Click Here)

How many millions are in one trillion? Are there one hundred millions in a trillion? One thousand millions? 

Actually, there are one million millions in a trillion.

Trillions in Numbers - One trillion is 1,000,000,000,000. That is 12 zeros.

  • One trillion is more stars than there are in the entire Milky Way galaxy.
  • One trillion seconds will pass in 31,688 years.
  • One trillion $10 bills, taped end to end, would wrap around the Earth more than 380 times.
  • One trillion dollars is a ton of cash—actually 1.1 million tons of it.
  • It would take more than 10,000 18-wheelers to transport one trillion $1 bills.
  • You could spend $10 million a day and it would still take you 273 years to spend $1 trillion.
  • Our national debt today would fill up 30 of the largest container ships ever constructed, each holding more than 4,100 containers full of cash.

*Courtesy of Defeatthedebt.com

To see the current U.S. National Debt go to Big Red U.S. Debt Clock

PS.  Big Red Calculator can display "quadrillions"  (if we one day need to.)