The Value of United States Currency in Circulation

We look into how much paper currency and coin production is in circulation, and some interesting facts surrounding the U.S. Mint’s production.

Have you even wondered how much currency is in circulation in the United States? With millions of bills and coins trading hands each day, and much more lost and destroyed, another question to ask is how much the currency is worth. The following looks at the several interesting facts surrounding the U.S. Mint’s production of currency according to the Federal Reserve.


The Value of Paper Currency in Circulation

For starters, the ignoble $1 bill has a life expectancy of 1.8 years, with approximately 9.5 billion bills in circulation. This compares to about 850 million $2 bills in circulation, with a total value of $1.7 billion. The $5 bill has a life expectancy of about 1.3 years with 2.2 billion in circulation, for a total value of $11 billion. $10 bills have a life expectancy of 1.5 years, with 1.63 billion in circulation and a total value of $16.3 billion. A two-year life expectancy is given to the $20, and with 6.26 billion in circulation, the $20 bill claims $125.1 billion dollars’ worth in circulation.

4.6 years are given to the $50 bill. The fifty has a total value of $125.1 billion. The $100 bill’s life expectancy (for the $625 billion in circulation) is 7.4 years. The larger bills, ranging from the $500 to $10,000 bills, have various the life expectancy and circulation values. And while their total value is $300 million, their circulation numbers are considerably less. In 2008, the total value of all U.S. bills, including Federal Reserve notes and out-of-issue currency was $853.2 billion.

The Composition of Currency

composition-currencyAlthough many people refer to the U.S currency as paper, this paper is actually made of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton – meaning that no actual paper is used. The “copper” penny is composed of 2.5 percent copper and 97.5 percent zinc, although older pennies are mostly copper, making them worth more than 1 cent each. The nickel does have 25 percent nickel, but the remaining 75 percent is copper.

2009 Circulating Coin Production

composition-currencyFrom bills to coins, the U.S. Mint makes them all. In fact, the number of coins with the 2009 years is made up of 1.65 trillion pennies, 86.64 million nickels, 146 million dimes, 379.12 million quarters, 3.4 million 50-cent coins and 322.98 million $1 coins. The $1 coins consist of 271.88 million presidential coins and 51.1 million Native American coins. So how many are in circulation? A total of 2.585 trillion.

Facts About U.S. Money

U.S. bills, of course, are printed in a variety of ways to make them counterfeit-proof. With printing facilities in Fort Worth, Texas and Washington, D.C., over 18 tons of ink are used every day to make this happen. In fact, during the 2008 fiscal year, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced approximately 38 million notes a day with a face value of about $629 million and delivered 7.7 billion notes at an average cost of 6.4 cents per note.


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