The ten digits in the number system allow you to count from 0 to 9. All higher numbers are produced using place value. Place value assigns a digit a greater or lesser value, depending on where it appears in a number. Each place in a number is ten times greater than the place to its immediate right.

To understand how a whole number gets its value, suppose you write the number 45,019 all the way to the right, one digit per cell, and add up the numbers you get.

45,019 Displayed in a Place-Value Chart
Millions Thousands Ones
Hundred Millions Ten Millions Millions Hundred Thousands Ten Thousands Thousands Hundreds Tens Ones
4 5 0 1 9

You have 4 ten thousands, 5 thousands, 0 hundreds, 1 ten, and 9 ones. The chart shows you that the number breaks down as follows:

45,019 = 40,000 + 5,000 + 0 + 10 + 9

In this example, notice that the presence of the digit 0 in the hundreds place means that zero hundreds are added to the number.