WASHINGTON (NEWS10) — Large, unfathomable numbers usually mystify people, and must be translated into lay terms to be understood. Human brains have difficulty perceiving the difference in scale between a million, a billion, and a trillion in numerical terms, but can comprehend the difference visually.
Visual analogies make it easier to mentally navigate those differences. Comparing a dollar to a trillion dollars—or $1.9 trillion, as in the American Rescue Plan—is like comparing a cell to the sun. The infographic above shows how a tall given number would be if represented by a stack of hundred dollar bills.
Each number is an order of magnitude beyond the last one. A million bucks in hundreds would be 3.3 feet tall, or roughly as tall as a chair. Meanwhile, a billion in hundreds would reach .63 miles into the sky, but a trillion would reach all the way to the International Space Station, 631 miles away.