How much U.S. currency is currently in circulation?


First, when I talk about currency I’m talking about the stuff we carry around in our pockets: paper and coins. Federal Reserve Economic Data provides several measures of currency in circulation. Here’s a graph of five different ways of measuring currency by the FED:

Four of these measures are almost identical:

  • Currency in Circulation (WCURCIR) [Weekly]
  • Currency in Circulation (CURRCIR) [Monthly]
  • Monetary Base; Currency in Circulation (MBCURRCIR) [Monthly]
  • Factors Absorbing Reserve Funds: Currency in Circulation (WCICL) [Weekly]

The FED defines them as: Currency in circulation includes paper currency and coin held both by the public and in the vaults of depository institutions. The total includes Treasury estimates of coins outstanding and Treasury paper currency outstanding. The outlier is Currency component of M1 (CURRENCY) which excludes the currency in the vaults of depository institutions.

And in case your wondering here’s a break out of currency based upon denomination ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, and $100):

Written on August 9, 2016