The difference between a million and a billion dollars [with graphic]

When reading over earnings reports, doing valuation assessments, trying to visualize someone’s wealth accumulation, or running any other financial analysis, it’s sometimes hard to conceptualize the difference between two very large financial sums.

To that end, here’s a helpful visual on the massive difference between $1 million and $1 billion, from Abu Amin on Quora:


One million vs. one billion

A billion dollars looks like this in $100 dollar bills. You’d need ten forklift rides to cart it around:





For comparison, a million dollars in $100 dollar bills looks like this… a backpack would do:






So, when Apple announces it did $39 billion in revenue last quarter, and has over $110 billion in cash reserves… you can get a better sense of what that’s all about.


Continue learning: Covestor Surpasses $1 Billion in Trades and Introduces Next Generation of Portfolio Sync


  • M*rk

    When I was teaching I asked my students the difference between a million and a billion.  Most had no idea of the relationship.  I illustrated it by telling them that if you counted by seconds it would take a little of 12 days to get to a million.  If you counted by seconds to a billion it would take about 32 YEARS.  I don’t think many adults know the relationship between a million and billion.  How about the relationship to a billion and a trillion?  1000 billions equals 1 trillion.  Wrap your head around that number…

  • Guest

    Or compare that to the multi-Trillion dollar deficit.  Now that’s a visual.

  • dikweed

    How about a trillion?
    Like our national debt.

  • Joseph Simon

    Shell we do a trillion to a billion to a million?

  • Lcohen40

    Another (and for me better) way to explain it is this:
    If you had a million dollars and were told to spend $1,000 per day, you would spend it all in three years. Spending a billion dollars would take you three thousand years!

  • DAG

    Why not throw a trillion in there while you’re at it?

  • Ric06971

    1 trillion would stack as this 100dollar bills stacked 111ft 1.5in high and cover an entire pro football stadum incl the endzones

  • Reo

    Show me a stack at 16 TRILLION and then show me a stack of the 300 trillion dollars in outstanding obligations to the gubment UNIONS that is actually owed by the taxpayers at this moment.

  • Chuck Dewey

    The picture is not exactly correct.It would take 10,000 100 dollar bills to make a million dollars, and that would not fit in a back pack. More like a couple of suitcases!

    • RonBlough

      Per guest each bundle would be 3/4″ thick x 100 bundles = 75″
      75″ / 12″ = 6.25ft high stack.
      Bills are 6″ x 2.5″ = .104166sf ea.
      Stacks are 3/4″ high
      Say the avg. suitcase is 12″high x 24″wide x 36″long this equals 6sf
      It will only take 58 bundles to cover bottom of suit case.
      There is only 100 bundles, so it would only be 1.5″ or 2 stacks deep.
      It will fit in a back pack!

  • Wolf

    16 trillion and rising.  Thanks Obama.

    • yohohoho

      Ah, yes. Obama personally spent all $16 trillion of that himself.

      • Icandomath

         you’re right, according to the CBO he has only spent $13.98 trillion.  To bad for America tax revenue was only $9 trillion.  or in the spirit of the article’ 9,000,000,000,000 – 13,900,000,000,000= – $4,980,000,000,000

      • patriot

        No, Nacy Pelosi helped him.

      • YourMom

         not to burst your bubble or anything, but he did do a lot of it

  • guest

    1,000,000 = 10,000 one hundred dollar bills each weighs in at 1 gram, each bundle has 100 bills or $10,000. so you get around 22 lbs and one hundred bundles each bundle is only 3/4 inches. You could get them all into a back pack.

    • RonBlough

      1gm per bill = 10,000 gm
      448gm = 1 pound
      10,000gm / 448gm = 22.32#
      Nice Job!

  • MLaperle

    Looks to me like they’re talking about the British Billion, which is a million million, as opposed to an American Billion, which is a thousand million.  If it’s an American Billion, then I’d say only one of those pallets would be enough.  If it’s a British Billion, then 1,000 of those pallets would be needed.  Just sayin’.