Crude Birth Rate: Definition & Calculation

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  • 0:01 What Is CBR?
  • 0:40 Calculating CBR
  • 1:33 Why Determine CBR?
  • 3:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Have you ever considered the number of babies born in a given year or population? In this lesson, learn what crude birth rate is, how it is calculated, and look at some examples.

What Is Crude Birth Rate?

Some years, it seems like everyone you know is having a baby. Other years, it might seem like giving birth is the last thing going on in your circle of friends. But, whether it affects you directly or not, birth surrounds you all the time; someone's probably being born at this very minute! And minute by minute, the number of people being born into the world starts to stack up.

We look at the number of births in a given time period and population as the crude birth rate, or CBR. More specifically, CBR is the number of live births per year, is estimated mid-year, and is almost always reported per 1000 living people. Let's look at an example.

Calculating Crude Birth Rate

The calculation of crude birth rate is simple, as long as the required data is available. The formula is:

CBR = (number of births) x 1000 / estimated population at mid-year

For example, let's say we wanted to calculate the CBR for Anywhere, USA, for year 2013. If we say the number of live births that year was 672 and the estimated mid-year population was 107,619, we can plug the numbers in to look like this:

672 x 1000 / 107619 = 6.24 births per 1000 people

This little example is quite a bit below the average United States birth rate of 13 per 1000 people. Anywhere, USA, is a fake place with fake numbers, but now you got the gist.

Why Determine Crude Birth Rate?

At this point you may be wondering why someone would want to calculate CBR. Like most math and sociological problems, there actually is a purpose other than making students do work.

As the name implies, the CBR is a crude measure of public health. Crude measure in this sense doesn't mean awful or unmannerly; it actually refers to an unrefined or nonspecific way of figuring something out. In other words, though reliable, crude measurements have their flaws.

One reason we use CBR is that the data to compute it--the number of births and the total population--is more readily known than other, more accurate (and non-crude) measures, like general fertility rate, total fertility rate, and pregnancy rate. These other measures all take into account the sex and age of the population that might give birth and are more difficult to track and measure.

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