Birth rate

Birth rate
Countries by birth rate in 2008

Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year (in estimation review points).[1] Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality".[2] When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase.[3] This number is equal to the rate of population change (not factoring in migration).[3] It is important to distinguish between a total or crude birth rate, which uses all births, typically indicated as births per 1000, versus an age-specific rate which is typically indicated as the number of births per 1 000 persons in this age group.[4] The first known use of the term "birth rate" in the English language was in 1859.[5] The birth rate is typically the main variable in assessing the rate of population growth.[6]

According to the United Nations' World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision Population Database, crude birth rate is the number of births over a given period divided by the person-years lived by the population over that period. It is expressed as number of births per 1,000 population. CBR = (births in a period / population of person-years over that period).

Another indicator of fertility that is frequently used is the total fertility rate, which is the average number of children born to each woman over the course of her life. In general, the total fertility rate is a better indicator of (current) fertility rates because, unlike the crude birth rate, it is not affected by the age distribution of the population. Fertility rates tend to be higher in less economically developed countries and lower in more economically developed countries.

World historical and predicted crude birth rates (1950–2050)
UN, medium variant, 2008 rev.[7]
Years CBR Years CBR
1950–1955 37.2 2000–2005 21.2
1955–1960 35.3 2005–2010 20.3
1960–1965 34.9 2010–2015 19.4
1965–1970 33.4 2015–2020 18.2
1970–1975 30.8 2020–2025 16.9
1975–1980 28.4 2025–2030 15.8
1980–1985 27.9 2030–2035 15.0
1985–1990 27.3 2035–2040 14.5
1990–1995 24.7 2040–2045 14.0
1995–2000 22.5 2045–2050 13.4

The birth rate is an item of concern and policy for a number of national governments. Some, including those of Italy and Malaysia, seek to increase the national birth rate using measures such as financial incentives or provision of support services to new mothers. Conversely, other countries have policies to reduce the birth rate, for example, China's one child policy. Measures such as improved information about and availability of birth control have achieved similar results in countries such as Iran.

There has also been discussion on whether bringing women into the forefront of development initiatives will lead to a decline in birth rates. In some places, government policies have been focused on reducing birth rates through improving women's sexual and reproductive health and rights. Typically, high birth rates have been associated with health impairments and low life expectancy, low living standards, low status of women, and low levels of education. There are claims that as countries go through economic development and social change, population growth such as birth rate declines.

In 1974, at the World Population Conference in Bucharest, women's issues gained considerable attention. Family programmes were seriously discussed and 137 countries drafted a World Population Plan of Action. In the discussion, many countries accepted modern birth control, such as the pill and the condom, but opposed abortion. In 1994, another action plan was drafted in Cairo under the United Nations. They discussed the concern on population and the need to incorporate women into the discourse. They agreed that improvements in women's status, and initiatives in defense of reproductive health and freedom, the environment, and sustainable socio-economic development were needed.

Generally, birth rate is calculated using live birth counts from a universal system of registration of births, deaths, and marriages, and population counts from a census or using estimation through specialized demographic techniques. Birth rate is also commonly used to calculate population growth. It is combined with death rates and migration rates to calculate population growth.

As of 2009, the average birth rate for the whole world is 19.95 per year per 1000 total population, a 0.48% decline from 2003's world birth rate of 20.43 per 1000 total population.

Per U.S. federal government data released in March 2011, births fell 4% from 2007 to 2009, the largest drop in the U.S. for any two-year period since the 1970s.[8] Births have declined for three consecutive years, and are now 7% below the peak in 2007.[9] This drop has continued through 2010, according to data released by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics in June 2011.[10] Numerous experts have suggested that this decline is largely a reflection of unfavorable uneconomic conditions.[11] This connection between birth rates and economic downturns partly stems from the fact that American birth rates have now fallen to levels that are comparable to the Great Depression of the 1930's.[12] Teen birth rates in the U.S. are at the lowest level in U.S. history.[13] In fact, teen birth rates in the U.S. have consistently decreased since 1991 through 2011, except for a brief increase between 2005 and 2007.[14] The other aberration from this otherwise steady decline in teen birth rates is the 6% decrease in birth rates for 15–19 year olds between 2008 and 2009.[15] Despite these years of decrease, U.S. teen birth rates are still higher than in other developed nations.[16] Racial differences prevail with teen birth and pregnancy rates as well. The American Indian/Alaska Native, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic black teen pregnancy rates are more than double the non-Hispanic white teen birth rate.[17]

According to the CIA – The World Factbook, the country with the highest birth rate currently is Niger at 51.26 births per 1000 people. The country with the lowest birth rate is Japan at 7.64 births per 1000 people. (Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of China, is at 7.42 births per 1000 people.) As compared to the 1950s (birth rate was at 36 births per 1000 in the 1950s[18]), birth rate has declined by 16 births per 1000 people. In July, 2011, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced that the adolescent birth rate continues to decline.[19] Birth rates vary even within the same geographic areas. In Europe, as of July 2011, Ireland's birth rate is 16.5 per cent, which is 3.5 per cent higher than the next-ranked country, the UK. France has a birth rate of 12.8 per cent while Sweden is at 12.3 per cent.[20] In July, 2011, the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced a 2.4% increase in live births in the UK in 2010 alone.[21] This is the highest birth rate in the UK in 40 years.[21] By contrast, the birth rate in Germany is only 8.3 per 1,000, which is so low that both the UK and France, which have significantly smaller populations, produced more births in the last year.[22] Birth rates also vary within the same geographic area, based on different demographic groups. For example, in April 2011, the U.S. CDC announced that the birth rate for women over the age of 40 in the U.S. rose between 2007 and 2009, while it fell among every other age group during the same time span.[23] In August 2011, Taiwan's government announced that its birth rate declined in the previous year, despite the fact that it implemented a host of approaches to encourage its citizens to have babies.[24]

Birth rates ranging from 10–20 births per 1000 are considered low, while rates from 40–50 births per 1000 are considered high. There are problems associated with both an extremely high birth rate and an extremely low birth rate. High birth rates can cause stress on the government welfare and family programs to support a youthful population. Additional problems faced by a country with a high birth rate include educating a growing number of children, creating jobs for these children when they enter the workforce, and dealing with the environmental effects that a large population can produce. Low birth rates can put stress on the government to provide adequate senior welfare systems and also the stress on families to support the elders themselves. There will be less children or working age population to support the constantly growing aging population.


Methods of measuring birth rate

The crude birth rate is the number of births in a given population during a given time period (such as 1 January – December 31) divided by the total population and multiplied by one thousand.

Birth rate and the Demographic Transition Model

The Demographic Transition Model describes how population mortality and fertility decline as social and economic development occurs through time. The two major factors in the Demographic Transition Model are Crude Birth Rate (CBR) and Crude Death Rate (CDR). There are four stages to the Demographic Model. In the first and second stages, CBR remains high because people are still in agrarian cultures and need more labour to work on farms. In addition, the chances of children dying are high because medicine is not as advanced during that phase. In the third stage, CBR starts to decline due to women's increasing participation in society and the reduced need for families to have many children to work on farms. In the fourth stage, CBR is sustained at a very low level, with some countries having rates that are below replacement levels in other countries.

See also

Case studies:




  1. ^ See "Fertility rates"; Economic Geography Glossary at University of Washington
  2. ^ "birthrate – definition of birthrate by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Birth rate, crude (per 1,000 people) | Data | Table". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "birthrate: Definition from". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  5. ^ "Birthrate – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  6. ^ "World Birth rate – Demographics". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  7. ^ "UNdata: Crude birth rate (per 1,000 population)". United Nations. 25 August 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Us Birth Rate | U.S. birth rate: Drop in birth rate is the biggest in 30 years – Los Angeles Times". 31 March 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Calculated Risk (12 August 2011). "America's Birth Rate Declined For The Third Year Running". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Calculated Risk (12 August 2011). "America's Birth Rate Declined For The Third Year Running". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Economic turmoil taking its toll on childbearing". USA Today. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Lower birth rate blamed on the economy". 12 August 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "CDC Data & Statistics | Feature: Teen Birth Rates Declined Again in 2009". 1 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Crude Birth Rates – The World and its Major Regions, 1950–2050". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  19. ^ "Federal report shows drop in adolescent birth rate, July 7, 2011 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)". 7 July 2011. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Susan Daly. "Ireland has one of highest birth and lowest death rates in EU · TheJournal". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  21. ^ a b Press Association. "Call for more midwives as birth rate reaches 40-year high | Society |". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ By the CNN Wire staff (1 April 2011). "CDC records rise in birth rate for women over 40". CNN. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Sui, Cindy (15 August 2011). "BBC News – Taiwanese birth rate plummets despite measures". BBC. Retrieved 17 October 2011. 


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • birth rate — birth rates also birth rate N COUNT The birth rate in a place is the number of babies born there for every 1000 people during a particular period of time. The UK has the highest birth rate among 15 to 19 year olds in Western Europe. ...a falling… …   English dictionary

  • birth rate — birth ,rate noun count the officially recorded number of births in a particular year or place: a steep decline in the birth rate …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • birth rate — birth rate. См. рождаемость. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • birth rate — ► NOUN ▪ the number of live births per thousand of population per year …   English terms dictionary

  • birth rate — noun the ratio of live births in an area to the population of that area; expressed per 1000 population per year • Syn: ↑birthrate, ↑fertility, ↑fertility rate, ↑natality • Hypernyms: ↑rate * * * birth rate noun The propo …   Useful english dictionary

  • Birth rate — The birth rate is usually given as the number of live births divided by the average population (or the population at midyear). This is termed the crude birth rate. In 1995, for example, the crude birth rate per 1,000 population was 14 in the… …   Medical dictionary

  • birth-rate — A measure designed to provide information on the comparative fertility of different populations, most commonly used in demographic analysis. A number of different calculations of varying sophistication may be used. The most well known the ‘crude… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • birth rate — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms birth rate : singular birth rate plural birth rates the officially recorded number of births in a particular year or place a steep decline in the birth rate …   English dictionary

  • birth-rate — n. 1) a falling; high; low; rising; stable birth rate 2) the crude birth rate …   Combinatory dictionary

  • birth rate — the number of live births occurring in a year per 1000 total population (the crude birth rate). See: fertility rate …   The new mediacal dictionary

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