The new $100 bills were released last October, about half a year ago. According to Wikipedia, the average life of a $100 bill is about 90 months (7.5 years). So you’d expect it to take three years or more before the new bills out-number the older ones in circulation. Yet almost all of them I’ve seen recently (in the past month or two) have been the new bills. And when I say “almost” I’m not exaggerating; I see only one old bill for every 10 or so new ones.
This rapid replacement did not happen with new issues of other denominations. I seem to remember it took about a year or more for this to happen with the smaller bills (fives, tens, and twenties) and much longer with the less used fifty. So why such a short replacement time?
Well it could be that I’m seeing an abnormal sample. Admittedly, I only see maybe a dozen or so hundreds in a week. Not a very large number, so this is plausible, although I don’t think all that likely.
Or it could be that the Federal Reserve is actively removing the old ones from circulation, even if they’re not worn out. They normally don’t do that, but maybe they’re making an exception for this bill. perhaps to foil counterfeiters or something.
So anyone know which of these two is the case? Or perhaps there’s another explanation.