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MyFox Houston estimates University the Houston professor Jim Granato as saying that it would take someone an ext than 31,000 years to count to one trillion.

You are watching: How long does it take to count to a trillion

Where walk this calculation come from?

Recall the a trillion is a thousand billion, and a billion is a thousand million.

There room 31,536,000 secs in a 365 day year, and one trillion separated by 31,536,000 is around 31,710.

So that looks like that’s wherein the calculation of end 31,000 year to count to one trillion came from: it’s based upon an presumption that a person is count one number every second.

But let’s think around this a little.


Counting time assumptions

Let’s shot to model just how long the will take to count to 100 and also then come 1,000, by making part simplifying, but moderately realistic, assumptions.

Let’s assume the we deserve to say each solitary word in a surname in 1 second.

This is not specifically correct, because it takes much longer to say “nineteen” than it does to say “ten”. However what we space assuming is the it will take double as lengthy to say “twenty one”, and also three times as lengthy to speak “one hundreds one”.

Note, through the way, that the answer counts on where one lives. An initial of all, also in English, civilization in the UK and in commonwealth countries perform not count like civilization in the unified States, and also people in Vietnam and Germany count in different way again, and from each other. Ns am assuming us English counting.

Counting come 100

The numbers 1 v 20 all take 1 2nd to say, as execute the 7 numbers 30, 40, 50 ,60, 70, 80, and also 90, if the remaining 73 numbers up to 100 all take 2 seconds to say.

These are approximations, yet they offer us better than assuming all numbers take the same time to say.

So our approximated time to count to 100 is now


Of course we can do if much faster if we rate it up, but there’s a long method to walk to one sunshine so let’s keep an also pace. In ~ the end we can think about what would occur if we can say much more number words every second.

Notice that 173 secs is nearby to the time it would take – 180 secs – to counting 90% the the number 1 with 1,00 in ~ 2 seconds each.

Counting come 1,000

With our stated presumptions on exactly how long that takes to say number names, how long will it take us to count to 1,000?

Many that the number from 101 v 1,000 will take 4 seconds to say: numbers prefer 131 (“one hundred thirty one“) and 273 (“two hundreds seventy three“).

But there are exceptions.

I tried to take into account all exceptions in counting to 1,00 and, below, in counting come 10,000. To the ideal of my expertise I did not omit any kind of exceptions.

Some numbers from 101 through 1,000 will certainly take 2 secs to say. These space the 9 number 200 (“two hundred“), 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800 , 900 and 1,000 (“one thousand“).

Some numbers from 101 with 1,000 will certainly take 3 secs to say. There space a lot much more of these.

Between 101 and also 199 these room the 27 numbers 101 (“one hundreds one“) v 120 (“one hundred twenty“) and 130, 140, 150, 160, 170, 180 ,190.

Similarly in between 210 and also 299 there space 27 numbers the take 3 seconds to say.

The very same goes because that 310 come 399, 410 to 499, 510 to 599, 610 come 699, 710 come 799, 8210 to 899 and also 910 to 999.

So there are

number that will certainly take 3 seconds to say.

This leaves 648 numbers between 101 and also 1,000 that will take 4 secs to say.

So the full time to say every the numbers as much as 1,000 we estimate as

seconds, i beg your pardon is just under 1 hour.

Notice that this is not far off the number us would get if simply assumed we counted 90% the the numbers as much as 1,000 at 4 seconds each.

Counting to 10,000

How long will the take united state to counting to 10,000?

Most numbers will certainly take 6 secs to say: numbers like 1274 (“one thousand 2 hundred seventy four“), however again there are exceptions.

Let’s counting these exception to see how much off would be an estimate of


We already know the exceptions up to 1,000, so let’s look at them native 1,001 on.

There space 9 number from 1,001 through 10,000 the require just 2 secs to say. This are: 2,000, 3,000; 4,000; 5,000; 6,000; 7,000; 8,000; 9,000 and 10,000.

There are 252 numbers between 1,001 and also 10,000 that call for 3 secs to say. These space 1,001 through 1,020; 1,030; 1,040; 1,050 1,060; 1,070; 1,080; 1,090 and the corresponding numbers in the n,000 range where n=2, 3, …, 9.

There are 648 number in the variety 1,001 through 10,000 that call for 4 secs to say. These space 1,021 through 1,029; 1,031 with 1,039; … , 1,091 v 1,099 and the matching numbers in the

selection where

There are

number in the variety 1,001 v 10,000 that require 5 seconds to say. These room the numbers
is a number that takes 3 seconds to say. For each selection of
there are 243 of the latter, as we observed in counting approximately 1,000.

The staying 5,913 number in the variety 1,001 v 10,000 take 6 seconds to say.

So the full time to counting to 10,000 is


Again, this is near to the moment we would certainly take – 54,000 – if we counted 90% of the numbers approximately 10,000 in ~ 6 seconds each.

An estimate of the moment to counting to one trillion

Counting all exceptions together we say larger numbers becomes more difficult.

However by now we deserve to see a glimmer of a general pattern: there are many much more numbers indigenous 100 exchange rate to one trillion than there room from one come 100 billion. In truth there are 9 times together many. So by looking only at numbers from 100 billion to one sunshine we are covering 90% of every the numbers from one v one trillion.

Most numbers approximately one trillion take 19 seconds to say: numbers prefer 832, 521,432,987 (“eight hundred thirty 2 billion, 5 hundred twenty one million, four hundred thirty two thousand, nine hundred eighty seven“).

Our basic observation is the to count as much as

takes about as long as it would to count 90% that the numbers up to
at the typical rate.

If this proceeds to hold an excellent up come one sunshine then we estimate to counting to one trillion would certainly take about

times as lengthy as if us were to counting one number every second.

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That is, we estimate it would certainly take approximately 542,241 years to counting to one trillion.