The dollar bill: believe it or not

January 30, 2015

By Paul Brucker

The dollar bill: believe it or not

A dollar is the basic monetary unit in the United States. But how much do you know about it? Consider these facts:

  1. It’s composed of a blend that’s 25% linen and 75% cotton. That’s so the dollar is difficult to counterfeit and won’t crumble in the wash. 
  2. Its average life span in circulation is 18 to 22 months. Compare that to the $100 bill, which has an average life span of 15 years because it doesn’t pass between users as frequently. 
  3. It costs the U.S. government 4.2 cents to produce a dollar bill. The government prints about 16.7 million one dollar bills each day (mostly to replace dollar bills that are torn, soiled or otherwise unusable). 
  4. The dollar bill weighs in at 1 gram and is .0043 inches thick. Take out a ruler and measure it – you’ll find its 2.61 inches wide and 6.14 inches long.
  5. One dollar bills account for 45% of all currency the United States produces. 
  6. There are about 4 billion one dollar bills in circulation
  7. The government recycles 90% of all the dollar bills it shreds. Some end up in souvenir bags for visitors to Federal Reserve Banks. Some of it is used by power plants for fuel and by manufacturers of goods, such as cellulose insulation for homes. And some is composted to fertilize plants, such as trees. “Our staff likes to tell visitors that money doesn’t grow on trees, but can help trees grow,” says Federal Reserve Bank spokesman Bill Medley.

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