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The birth rate, or the crude birth rate (CBR) as it is sometimes referred, refers to the number of childbirths per 1,000 of the population per year. When combined with the crude death rate (the total number of deaths per 1,000 of the population per year) the rate of natural population growth or decrease is calculated. However, for a more complete and accurate picture of population growth or shrinkage, patterns of migration must also be considered.

The levels of birth rate are affected by numerous factors. Of significant impact is government policies, which can either stimulate or depress the level of fertility and the number of births within a nation. For example, China has a relatively low birth rate (about 13 per 1,000 people) due to ...

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