What are some examples for visualizing a billion?


Quick Answer

Common ways to visualize large numbers include using time, distance or money as well as comparing to common objects. For example, a billion seconds is 31.7 years or 11,504 days. A billion inches is just over 15,782 miles or three round trip flights from New York City to Los Angeles.

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Full Answer

Using money is a common way to make real the concept of a billion. A stack of one billion $1 bills on the surface of the earth reaches 67.9 miles into space. Additionally, $1 billion in $100 bills requires a stack three times as high as the Empire State Building. Alternatively, giving away $1 billion requires handing out one $100 bill a minute for just over 19 years.

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