How much money is there in the world?

calendar iconJan 12, 2018


Mitchell Hartman, a Senior Reporter for American radio show Marketplace answered a popular question. Read on... 

"I'm curious as to how much money is out there in the world? Does anybody keep records as to how much money the world has?" - Listener Elizabeth Masten, from Norfolk, Virginia, USA

Excerpt from Market Place article

Jacob Kirkegaard, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said one part of the answer can be found in information published by the U.S. Federal Reserve:

“It’s a number called M0, which is essentially the number of notes and coins in circulation. For the United States, that number on the Federal Reserve website is somewhere in the vicinity of $1.5 trillion."

Kirkegaard said that a comparable tally of currency in circulation from all over the world, tracked by the Bank for International Settlements, totals about $5 trillion.

But using a more inclusive definition of money, “that amount goes much, much higher,” explained Jeff Desjardins at the financial media website Visual Capitalist, which has published an infographic on the topic.
“Add in checking accounts, savings accounts, money-market accounts — not quite physical money, but you can make a bank transaction digitally and use that as money,” and Desjardins said the total amount of money easily accessible in the world economy grows by several multiples. This is called broad money, and according to the CIA World Factbook, and the global total is in excess of $80 trillion.

Read full article here


Hartman, Mitchell. "How much money is there in the world?" Marketplace. I've Always Wondered series. October 30, 2017. Accessed January 11, 2018.

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Catch Up: $5 trillion is the total value of the world's cash in circulation (The Money Project, 2015)
The Money Project posted a fantastic infographic titled: 'All of the World’s Money and Markets in One Visualization' on December 17th, 2015. Feast your eyes on this bite-size graphic of the world's money supply...

For how long has cash been around?

Last Updated: Feb 1, 2018