What's the Concept Behind Million, Billion, and Trillion?

What's the Concept Behind Million, Billion, and Trillion?

Are you wanting to understand the concept of million, billion, and trillion? Click here for a guide to understand these large numbers and measurement units.

If you somehow managed to take one billion steps, you would end up walking around the earth's equator 15 times!

Although large numbers can be hard to imagine, they're widely used to understand length, weight, and other measurement units alongside population, economics, and much more. 

Understanding a million, a billion, and a trillion is only half the battle, however. The other half is converting them. Luckily, conversion calculators make it fantastically simple — which is why an online million billion converter is so useful. 

In this post, we'll look at common naming systems for large numbers, different types of measurements, and the concept behind millions, billions, and trillions. Read on to learn more. 

Common Naming Systems for Large Numbers 

Different countries and cultures deal with large numbers in different ways. This has led to the creation of different naming systems for large numbers. Some of the most common in use today include Indian numbers, the short scale, the long scale, Chinese numbers, and many more. 

For the purposes of this brief section, we'll focus on the first three. 

Indian System for Large Numbers 

The Indian system includes the following large numbers:

  • One lakh has 5 zeros (100,000)
  • Ten lakh has 6 zeros (1,000,000)
  • One crore has 7 zeros (10,000,000)
  • One hundred crore has 9 zeros (1,000,000,000)
  • One lakh crore has 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000)
  • Ten crore crore has 15 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000)
  • Ten thousand crore crore has 18 zeroes (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)

This number system is used all throughout the country of India, as well as in neighboring Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Myanmar. It's also used (although to a lesser degree) in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. 

Short Scale System

The short scale system names large numbers in the following way:

  • One hundred thousand has 5 zeros (100,000)
  • One million has 6 zeros (1,000,000)
  • One billion has 9 zeros (1,000,000,000)
  • One trillion has 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000)
  • One quadrillion has 15 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000)
  • One quintillion has 18 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)
  • One sextillion has 21 zeroes (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

Due in large part to its use in the United States, many other countries have adopted the short-scale system. This includes English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, Nigeria, and many more. It also includes many Arabic-speaking countries alongside others such as Brazil, Russia, Israel, and others. 

Long Scale System

The long scale system has the following large numbers:

  • One hundred thousand has 5 zeros (100,000)
  • One million has 6 zeros (1,000,000)
  • One milliard has 9 zeros (1,000,000,000)
  • One billion has 12 zeros (1,000,000,000,000)
  • One billiard has 15 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000)
  • One trillion has 18 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000)
  • One trilliard has 21 zeroes (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

The long-scale system is widely used in continental European countries such as Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, and others. Alongside that, many French-speaking countries, Portuguese-speaking countries, German-speaking countries, and Spanish-speaking countries use it.

What Are Measurement Units?

Measurement units (or units of measurement) are names we give to definite quantities. We use them to understand different kinds of amounts -- for example, different kinds of weights lengths, times, and volumes. 

Two main types of units are used around the world: the metric units and the customary units. 

Metric Units

Metric units are part of the International System of Units (SI). This system of units is used in nearly every country on earth except three (the US Myanmar, and Liberia).

SI uses the following types of measurements:

  • length is measured in centimeters, meters, and kilometers
  • weight is measured in centigrams, grams, and kilograms
  • volume or capacity is measured in milliliters, centiliters, and liters
  • time and duration are measured in seconds, days, years, etc.

Customary Units

Customary units are pretty much only used in the United States. However, Canada occasionally uses customary units as well.

Customary units include the following types of measurements:

  • length measurements use inches, feet, and miles
  • weight measurements use ounces, pounds, and tons
  • volume or capacity measurements use cups, pints, and gallons
  • time and duration measurements use seconds, days, and years

Measuring a Million, Billion, and Trillion

Now that we know about the short scale, long scale, and Indian numbering system alongside the two main types of units (metric and customary), let's take a look at what a million, a billion, and a trillion look like.

Due in large part to the influence of the United States, the short-scale system for large numbers is widely used around the world, so we will stick to that for our definitions. 

What is a Million?

One million is the number one with six zeros after it: 1,000,000. It's right after nine-hundred thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine (or 999,999) and right before one million and one (or 1,000,001).

Adding another zero gives you ten million (10,000,000) and adding two zeros gives you one hundred million (100,000,000). 

In scientific notation, the number 1,000,000 is written as 10^6. Ten million is written as 10^7, and one-hundred million is 10^8.

If you counted up from one, and it took you one second to count each number, then counting to one million would take about 11.5 days. In terms of money, if you stacked $100 USD bills on top of each other, then $1,000,000 USD would be about the height of an average chair (a little over three feet).

What is a Billion?

One billion is the number one with nine zeros after it: 1,000,000,000. It's right after nine-hundred million nine-hundred thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine (or 999,999,999) and right before one billion and one (or 1,000,000,001). 

Adding an extra zero to one billion will give you ten billion (10,000,000,000). Furthermore, adding two zeros (so 11 zeros in total) will give you one hundred billion (100,000,000,000). 

There are a thousand millions in one billion.

In science, the number 1 billion is written as 10^9. Ten billion is 10^10 and one-hundred billion equals 10^11.

Assuming you count nonstop with a new number every second, it would take about 32 years before you reach the number one billion. If you placed $100 USD bills on top of each other, it would far surpass the height of a chair. In fact, it would be taller than the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building. 

What is a Trillion? 

One trillion is the number one with twelve zeros after it: 1,000,000,000,000. It's right after nine-hundred billion nine-hundred million nine-hundred thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine (or 999,999,999,999) and right before one trillion and one (or 1,000,000,000,001). 

If you take one trillion and add a zero, it gives you ten trillion (10,000,000,000,000). Adding another zero to ten trillion will give you one hundred trillion (100,000,000,000,000).

Scientific notation writes a trillion as 10^12. The number 10 trillion equals 10^13 and 100 trillion is 10^14. 

Starting with one and counting to the next number every second would take you about 32,000 years before reaching one trillion. In terms of length (and money), it would take roughly 631 miles of $100 USD bills to reach $1 trillion USD — that's about 2.5 times higher than the International Space Station

How to Understand Large Numbers

Millions, billions, trillions (and numbers beyond) are huge quantities to deal with. They can be hard to grasp and seem irrelevant. However, numbers play an important role in the world. 

For example, a country's spending patterns and debts are often measured using these large numbers. Population numbers also require the use of large numbers. The sciences — especially astronomy— also depend upon the use of large numbers. 

One of the best ways to really grasp the size of a number is to shrink it down to measurements you are familiar with. 

For example, a great way to grasp length is to realize that an inch is about the length from your fingertip to your first knuckle.

A million inches equals about 16 miles. Assuming you walk at a regular speed, it would take around 5.5 hours to walk a million inches. A billion inches, however, is roughly 15,782 miles — that's about 3/4ths the length of the entire planet.

Adding another three zeros to get a trillion inches equals about 15,782,828 miles. This distance is equal to going around the planet 633 times!

Measurement Conversions

As we saw above, the Indian system, short scale, and long scale are some of the most common naming systems for large numbers. Since they don't use the same numbers, it's important to be able to convert numbers from one system to another system. 

Let's take a look at some common conversions. 

How Much Is One Million in Lakhs and Crores?

According to our conversion calculator, the number one million (1,000,000) is equal to 10 lakhs. In terms of crores, one million is equal to 0.1 crores. 

How Much Is One Billion in Lakhs and Crores?

The number one billion (or 1,000,000,000) is equal to 10,000 lakhs. For crores, that's equivalent to 100 crores. 

How Much Is One Trillion in Lakhs and Crores?

Our conversion calculator says that one trillion (1,000,000,000,000) is the same as 10,000,000 lakhs. Furthermore, 1 trillion is equal to 100,000 crores.

How Much Are 1 Billion Dollars in Indian Rupees?

Converting currency is difficult because the value of each currency changes on a regular basis. However, as of June 2022, one US dollar (or USD) is worth about 78 Indian Rupees (or INR).

With that in mind, $1 billion USD is worth over 78 billion INR (78,252,465,930.83 to be exact).

Convert Measurement Units with MillionConverter

If you need to convert measurement units from the short or long-scale system of numbers (millions, billions, trillions) into the Indian system of large numbers (lakhs and crores), it's helpful to have a conversion calculator to do the math for you.

With one simple click, our online million billion converter can give you fast and accurate conversions. Give it a try to see for yourself.