How Much Does One Million Dollars Weigh?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Jul 23, 2020 3:59:12 PM ET
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How much does one million U.S. dollars weigh? That depends on what coins or dollars you use to add up to that number. 

One million dollars in one-dollar bills weighs about 1.1 tons, or 2,202 pounds (in the Avoirdupois system, which is what’s used in the United States). According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, a dollar bill weighs exactly 1 gram regardless of denomination. One pound is equivalent to about 454 grams; therefore, 1 million grams equals 2,202 pounds (1,000,000 divided by 454).  

Each dollar bill is made up of a combination of 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen. This material is so durable that it takes around 4,000 double folds for a bill to tear.


One Million Dollars in Other Denominations

Obviously, one-dollar bills would not be the denomination of choice when packing a million dollars into a suitcase. So what is the ideal denomination for the typical 1-million-in-a-suitcase movie scene?

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Keeping in mind that there’s 1 gram per dollar bill, 1 million in five-dollar bills should weigh around 440 pounds, or 200 kilograms (1,000,000 divided by 5 equals 200,000; divide 200,000 by 454). It’s still not exactly a convenient weight. One million dollars in 10-dollar bills is more manageable at only 100,000 bills, but it would still weigh 220 pounds (100 kilograms).

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A million dollars becomes somewhat manageable in 20-dollar bills — 110 pounds (50 kilograms) for 50,000 bills. That drops to 44 pounds (20 kilograms) for 50-dollar bills and an easy 22 pounds (10 kilograms) for 100-dollar bills, which is light enough to lug around in a suitcase for most people.

One Million Dollars From Different Perspectives

What does a million dollars look like when the bills are stacked one on top of another? All U.S. dollar bills, regardless of currency, are .043 inches thick. Therefore, a million one-dollar bills stack up to 4,300 inches, or 358 feet tall. This is about the same height as a 30- to 35-story building.

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Dividing this number by other dollar denominations gives you the height of their respective stacks. One million dollars is 71.6 feet tall in five-dollar bills, 35.8 feet in 10-dollar bills and 17.9 feet in 20-dollar bills. 50-dollar bills make for 7.16 feet, and 100-dollar bills reach 3.58.

A U.S. dollar bill measures 2.61 inches wide and 6.14 inches long, and has an area of 16.0254 square inches. This means that one million dollars in one-dollar bills is enough to cover an area of 111,287.5 square feet or about the size of two football fields. Again, dividing this number by other dollar denominations will give you the area that the respective denominations will cover.

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If you laid dollar bills end-to-end, a line of one million, US one dollar bills will stretch approximately 96 miles. Using five-dollar, 10-dollar, and 20-dollar bills, the line will extend some 19, 9, and 4 miles respectively. A line of one million 50-dollar bills is 1.9 miles, while a million dollars in 100-dollar bills extends to about 1,672 yards.

One Million Dollars in Coins

Coins weigh far more than dollar bills. For instance, a nickel alone weighs 5 grams. That means that one million dollars in nickels weighs 100,000 kilograms (100 grams in nickels for each dollar), or about 110 tons (220,264 pounds). The U.S. half-dollar coin, on the other hand, weighs 11.34 grams. Since it takes 2,000,000 half-dollar coins to make one million, one million dollars in half-dollar coins weighs 22,680 kilograms, or almost 25 tons. The American Innovation one-dollar series coins weigh 8.1 grams. A million of these coins therefore weigh 8,100 kilograms, or 8.9 tons.

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