I have spent a few days engrossed in this trove of data:
It gives a comprehensive tally of USA Federal Reserve Note (FRN) production monthly from 1974 to present, though the 2013 $5s have not been finalized yet and the Series 2017 and 2017A are still ongoing.
I have been playing with the numbers, and here are some takeaways:
About 40% of US banknotes are $1 bills, over 132 billion of them! The $20 is the second most common (66 billion), the $5, $10, and $100 are closely positioned for third tier (27-32 billion), then the $50 (7.3 billion), and finally the rarely seen $2 bill (1.5 billion). By my estimate, only about 30% of all these notes are still circulating, with the remainder lost to attrition or squirreled away overseas. The Federal Reserve considers two thirds of USD cash to be out of the country at any given time .
For comparison over the same time range, the USA produced 392 billion cents, 45 billion nickels, 72 billion dimes, 69 billion quarters, 3 billion half dollars, and 5 billion small-size dollars. (Remember that coins circulate longer than notes.) If $1 coins replaced $1 notes, I think they would become more common than quarters!
New York City has issued more FRNs than any other Federal Reserve branch, a whopping 56.4 billion notes. San Francisco is second with 45 billion. Atlanta is a surprising third place (37.1 billion), followed by Chicago (31.8 billion) and Richmond (28.1 billion). By far, the smallest issuer is Minneapolis, only 6.5 billion notes.
More than half of the $2 FRNs have been printed since 2003. Is it making a comeback? Atlanta has issued more than any other branch, 291 million. San Francisco is second with 274 million, New York is third with 182 million, Minneapolis is fourth with 158 million, and Chicago is fifth with 136 million. While they are never common anywhere, $2s are more likely seen in the South and West.
FRN production peaked with Series 1995, 28.5 billion notes! Series 1985 had 25.3 billion, Series 1988A had 24.9 billion, Series 2006 had 22.8 billion, and Series 2009 had 18 million. Series 2013 is already over 23 billion, with the final $5 tally still pending.
The overall trend in print run sizes since the mid-1990s has been downward, except for the $100. More $100s were produced in Series 2013 than in any other Series in the last five decades. More than one third of all $100 FRNs issued since 1974 have come from New York. New York also leads the nation in $50, $20, and $10 releases. San Francisco emits more $1 and $5 notes.
USA Banknote Statistics
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