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The National Debt: Visualizing $16 Trillion


On September 4th, 2012, the United States national debt surpassed the $16,000,000,000,000 mark.

Sixteen Trillion Dollars?!

What exactly is it to have 16 trillion of something?

For a visualization we can wrap our minds around, let’s turn to professor James Gray of the Community College of Aurora [see video to the right].

As professor Gray demonstrated, it would take 35,000,000 pounds of rice to get ONE trillion grains…. now multiply that by 16.

Can you imagine 560,000,000 pounds of rice?  If EVERY American had approximately 1.8 pounds of rice, we would then have 16 Trillion grains.


….I don’t think that quite puts it into perspective yet.


“One Trillion” is such a massive number that it is extremely difficult for one to completely fathom the sheer size of that integer – especially once it comes to money.

One Million dollars =

One Billion dollars =

It would take 7 of these 1995 Ford Taurus’s to equal the weight of $1 Billion

  • $1,000,000 x 1,000
  • weighs 22,000 pounds = 7 Ford Taurus automobiles (1995 model)

One Trillion dollars =

  • 1 Million x 1 Million
  • $1,000,000 x 1,000,000
  • Weighs 22,000,000 pounds = 49 Statues Of Liberty

Now take those 49 Statues Of Liberty…. and multiply it by 16 and you have the weight of our National Debt.

The National Debt of the United States of America – if printed in $100 bills – would weigh nearly as much as 784 Statues of Liberty – or 352,000,000 pounds!


Think about that for a while…… Now VISUALIZE IT (click on the image below)




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Comments (4)

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  1. Jon says:

    I can’t believe Obama racked up 16 trillion dollars of debt in just three and a half years.

  2. Today’s survey: Obama’s 2013 budget proposes over $1.3 Trillion ($1,300,000,000,000) dollars which continues to increase our deficit. This continues to explode beyond the total earning capability of the 1%, 2% or 99% of the population. Should Obama be reelected in 2012? http://tinyurl.com/6ojgpz6

  3. Jani is hot says:

    Check out this 19 yr old girl Mitt Romney “America Street” her homemade signs say it all (video) http://youtu.be/PiPYv4NIOEg