We come across the words million, billion, trillion when we read or listen to businesses, governments, astronomers and journalists. How many zeroes are in a million? A billion? A trillion? Are there bigger numbers than Trillion. Who is Billionaire? Who is Trillionaire? How many billionaires in India?
A million is 1,000,000 or 106 (1 with 6 zeros)
A billion is 1,000,000,000 or 109 (1 with 9 zeros)
A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000, or 1012 (1 with 12 zeros)
Example of where million, trillion etc are used
Sun is 149.6 million km away from Earth while Moon is only 0.384 million km away (384,400 km)
India’s 2019 population is estimated at 1.365 billion which is 136.5 crores.
U.S. Nominal GDP in 2019 was $21.44 trillion
There are 2095 billionaires(Mar 2020), with the total wealth of around $ 8.7 trillion
Did you know that In 2009, Zimbabwe printed a 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollar note, which was worth only about US$30?
How do we write big numbers
To write a number, the digits are placed from left to right under the places labelled as Units, Tens, Hundreds, Thousands… etc., and read accordingly. For example, consider number 393071425. The number is read as Three hundred and ninety-three million, seventy-one thousand four hundred and twenty five.
Commas in number
To read easily and understand the value we write big numbers with commas separating sets of three zeros. For example, you write one million not as 1000000. but as 1,000,000.
It’s easier to remember that a billion is written with four sets of three zeros than it is to count out 9 separate zeroes.
Scientific way of writing numbers
Scientific notation is a convenient way of writing very large or very small numbers so that it is easier to use in computations and compare A number written in scientific notation is of the form a * 10n where a is the non-zero number between 1 and 10 and n is the number of digits up to the decimal point for example
700 is written as 7 × 102
4,900,000,000 is written as 4.9 × 109
Are there Bigger Numbers than Million, Billion, Trillion
Name Google, was inspired by a very large number called Googol which is 10^100.
Yes, there are numbers bigger than Million, Billion and Trillion as shown in the image below. Mostly the power of 10 increases by 3 for each new number, which means you add three extra zeros to the end of the number to get the next number. This happens till Quadragintillion or 10 ^123 and then it increases in powers of 30. Some of the famous big numbers are
- Googol (10^100 ),
- Skewer’s Number(10^130),
- Centillion (10^303)
- Googolplex(10^ googol )
- Skewes’ Number ((10^10)^10)^34
|Name||Number of Zeros||Number|
|Undecillion||36||1 x 1036|
|Duodecillion||39||1 x 1039|
|Tredecillion||42||1 x 1042|
|Quatttuor-decillion||45||1 x 1045|
|Quindecillion||48||1 x 1048|
|Sexdecillion||51||1 x 1051|
|Septen-decillion||54||1 x 1054|
|Octodecillion||57||1 x 1057|
|Novemdecillion||60||1 x 1060|
|Vigintillion||63||1 x 1063|
|Unvigintillion||66||1 x 1066|
|Duovigintillion||69||1 x 1069|
|Trevigintillion||72||1 x 1072|
|Quattuorvigintillion||75||1 x 1075|
|Quinvigintillion||78||1 x 1078|
|Sexvigintillion||81||1 x 1081|
|Septenvigintillion||84||1 x 1084|
|Octovigintillion||87||1 x 1087|
|Nonvigintillion||90||1 x 1090|
|Trigintillion||93||1 x 1093|
|Untrigintillion||96||1 x 1096|
|Duotrigintillion||99||1 x 1099|
|Ten-duotrigintillion (or Googol)||100||1 x 10100|
|Skewer’s Number||130||1 x 10130|
|Centillion||303||1 x 10303|
Long scale and short scale for Large Numbers
There are two ways of saying big numbers Short scale and Long scale.
For whole numbers smaller than 1,000,000,000 (10^9 ), such as one thousand or one million, the two scales are identical. For larger numbers, starting with 10^ 9, the two systems differ. The long scale increases by powers of one million, whereas the short scale increases by powers of one thousand.
For example, In science and finance and in the USA a trillion is 1,000 billion, which is written as a one followed by 12 zeros. This is also called a short scale.
But there is also a long scale, which is used in France and was previously used in the United Kingdom, in which a trillion means 10 to the power 18 – thus, a million million million (tri- as in tricycle, tripod, triangle, etc.)
Often in Europe, you hear “Milliarde” in German, “miljard” in Dutch, “milyar” in Turkish and “миллиард” in Russian which are standard usage when discussing financial topics. The names ending in -illiard for numbers of the form 10^6n+3. Ex 10^9 is Milliard while 10^16 is Billiard
Due to its dominance in the financial world by the US dollar, short scale was adopted for official United Nations documents.
For more details, one can read our article Numbers bigger than Million, Billion, Trillion: Googol, Zillion
Infographic on Biggest Currency Notes Ever Printed
During hyperinflation, many countries printed note of big amounts for example In 2008 Zimbabwe printed a 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollar note, which was worth only about US$30. Zimbabwe had hyperinflation between 2004 and 2009. The government printed money to pay for the war in the Congo. More details about hyperinflation in our article What is HyperInflation?
In 1993 Yugoslav issued its biggest note, worth 500 billion dinars with the bill less than US$10
in 1946 Hungary after WWII printed a 100 million Pengo Note