I read that, in the USA, one billion is considered to be 1×109 (1 000 000 000).

In Mexico, it's 1×1012 (1 000 000 000 000).

Are both values used by American English speakers?

  • In AmE a billioni is 10^9. There is no "thousand million" here. I think BrE changed their tune on that one a few decades ago as well.
    – Robusto
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:09
  • What word is used in Mexico? I assume it is a Spanish word.
    – user3169
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:18
  • 1
    @Robusto Agreed. BrE now conforms to AmE in this respect, although you will still find the previous usage in older books: billion = 10^12, and trillion = 10^18.
    – Mick
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:49
  • @user3169: I'm not Mexican, but most likely 1e9 is a "milliard" and 1e12 is a "billion" (or, rather, the Spanish words for those).
    – LMS
    Jan 15, 2017 at 18:56
  • @LMS I am just trying to establish that this an English language usage question, and not a translation one.
    – user3169
    Jan 15, 2017 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


One billion is 10^9. One trillion is 10^12. This use is standard for English speakers in the USA, Australia, Canada and in the UK. The "short" scale was adopted by the UK government in 1974, but some older speakers may prefer the long scale.

There is the potential for confusion, especially among speakers of other languages (Spanish in the USA or French in Canada) who use the long scale in their native language, so it would not be impolite to ask to confirm.

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