How Much Money Is There In The World? | 2021 Edition

  • There is approximately US$ 40 trillion in circulation: this includes all the physical money and the money deposited in savings and checking accounts. 
  • Money in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies exceeds $1.3 quadrillion.

Money is the medium of exchange for goods and services. It doesn’t literally make the world go around, but the economies of countries rely on the exchange of money for products and services.

Money supply data is usually analyzed and published by the government or the central bank of the country. Since it is present in various forms (virtual and physical) in different currencies, it’s extremely difficult to determine the exact total amount.

To make things easier, we have converted currencies into the US dollar. And since U.S statistics are easily available, we can examine this question in different ways.

Different Types of Money

Typically, different types of money are classified as “M”s. They range from M0 (narrowest) to M3 (broadest), depending on the policy formulation of the country’s central bank.

The Federal Reserve System — central bank of the United States of America — for instance, publishes data on three monetary:

M0: All physical currency in circulation, including coins, notes, and bills, is called M0 money.

M1: includes all of the currency in the M0 money supply, plus all of the money held in demand deposits, travelers checks, other checkable deposits, and negotiable order of withdrawal. Basically, M1 money contains currency and assets that can be rapidly converted into cash.

M2: includes all elements of M1, plus saving deposits, mutual funds, money market securities, and other time deposits. Usually, these assets are used as an exchange medium and are less liquid than M1.

M3: is M2 plus large certificates of deposits, institutional money market funds, and short-term repurchase agreements. These assets are less liquid than other elements of the money supply.

The Federal Reserve System doesn’t track M3 money since 2006, because all valuable information on economic activity is already available in the M2 money supply.

So How Much Money Is Out There?

As of March 31, 2021, there was nearly US $2.1 trillion in circulation, including Federal Reserve notes, coins, and currency no longer issued.

If you are looking for all the physical money (notes and coins) and the money deposited in savings and checking accounts, you could expect to find approximately $40 trillion. This figure represents only ‘narrow money.’

However, if you add the ‘broad money,’ the amount rises to over $90.4 trillion. This amount further increases when bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are included.

Money in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies exceeds $1.3 quadrillion. This is what it looks like written out: $1,300,000,000,000,000.

This is a much more significant amount compared to the total money in the stock market, which is a mere $95 trillion. Leading tech companies such as Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, and Amazon contribute a lot to the stock market.

The value of all cryptocurrencies in circulation (over $2 trillion) and investment in commercial real estate ($30 trillion) also represent a small portion of the total money in the world. Bitcoin, for example, accounts for less than 1% of the world’s money.

In the 2021 list of the world’s billionaires, Forbes included 2,755 billionaires with a total net wealth of $13.1 trillion. Surprisingly, the top 26 billionaires own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion.

How much money is there in the world ?

According to the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2017, the gross world product (combined gross national product of all countries) totaled $127.8 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity.

Future Of the Money

The total quantity of money in circulation will increase in the future as more investments flow-in, and developing countries stabilize their economies.

The use of physical money is reducing year-by-year and transactions are becoming more digital. As digital payments gain more popularity, the amount of physical money is likely to fall even further.

In Sweden, for instance, only 20% of all transactions are now made in cash. Sweden’s national bank estimates that the amount of physical money circulating in the country will be reduced by 50% by 2050.

Read: 13 Very Interesting Questions with their Answers

Whichever way you look at it, counting up the exact amount is next to impossible. There is no precise way to answer this question. How can you quantify something that changes in value, not just in terms of currency rates but also in meaning?

Frequently Asked Questions

How much money is there per person?

There are more than 332 million people in the United States. If we split up the M1 money and distribute it evenly among US citizens, each person will get nearly $4,100. However, if we include the M3 money supply, every US citizen will get more than $27,000.

How much money Federal Reserve printed in 2020?

Studies show that the Fed took advantage of emergency repo operations, injecting more than $9 trillion into the market since September 2019. Estimates are that 22% of the circulating US dollar was printed in 2020 alone.

Which currency has the highest value in the world?

The highest currency in the world is Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD), with one Kuwaiti Dinar equalling 3.31 United States Dollars. The first series of Kuwaiti dinar banknotes was introduced in 1960 and was initially equivalent to one pound sterling.

What’s the total market cap of cryptocurrencies?

As of August 2021, the total market cap of all cryptocurrencies was more than $2.1 trillion. Bitcoin (which has undergone several rallies and crashes since its inception) accounts for nearly 44% of the global crypto market. While its value has grown at a phenomenal rate in the last decade, the public is only slowly becoming aware of its existence. 

What is the world’s total wealth?

The world is wealthier than ever. According to Mckinsey’s report, global assets grew from $440 trillion (approximately 13 times GDP) in 2000 to $1,540 trillion in 2020, while net worth increased from $160 trillion to over $510 trillion. This figure includes real estate prices, equity market prices, exchange rates, natural resources, human resources, as well as capital and technological advancements that may create new assets or render others worthless in the coming years.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from GGSIPU University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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13 comments
  • Amazing how much money is out there and I just realized how poor and messy my life is by knowing that I don’t have any cash on me. No bank account. No cryptocurrency or anything.

    • If you have no bank account it is not necessarily a bad thing, your finances are not a mess when you consider the fact that the world itself is in 2.33 trillion dollars worth of debt lol you will be fine my friend

    • Samer, Money is only one form of currency!
      This is why some of the richest people can often feel the poorest. When you can never have enough,, because greed can hijack and leave you feeling like you can never have enough,, or that the world is in competition all the time!!

      Here are some other currencies that have value and society needs to be reminded:
      Community, relationships, happiness, purpose, temperance( Opposite of gluttony’s), integrity, humility, Family and authenticity!

  • Since world stock market was about TR.$ 85 in Aug. 2020 and paper market ( paper wealth) are about TR.$ 945 to TR.$ 1200 so paper money are so huge that might be explorer next . On the other hand world wealth report 2019 said world wealth is about TR.$360 and world debt are Tr.$ 258 that are explained inequality has been more and more . These statics remind world needs to be change

    • actually, trees are made from a special fabric material consisting of a blend of cotton and linen fiber. they do this mainly because it has to last years. but yes people do need to stop cutting down trees

  • out of the 1200 Trillion of in the form of investments, derivatives, and cryptocurrencies , only 0.16% are cryptocurrencies. And this is considering the record high crypto market cap from 2021 at 2 trillion USD.

  • the 1.3 quad trillion can not see where it’s coming from when everything seems to fall in the bracket just under 100 trillion. anyway, my life sucks. 32 no job no car no house no prospect. I should have finished my accounting and finance diploma. but anyway thank you for the article it was simple. simple is good — makes us understand better. Wish more articles were straight to the point and simple.

  • This is why Blockchain CBDCs were Invented !
    We will always know how much money is on the Blockchain (based on the $USD)
    Central Banks print money out of this air which can be forged easily and hidden
    So were’s the crime ?? 😛