Save the Children just published their annual ranking of the best places in the world for mothers and “the U.S. ranked 31 out of 43 developed countries,” as LearnVest noted in a post today. They say there are four main reasons why the U.S. lags behind former Eastern Bloc territories like Lithuania, Croatia and Slovakia:
High Maternal Mortality Rate
LearnVest says, “In spite of our first world status, surprisingly one in 2,100 moms dies in childbirth in the U.S., the highest of any industrialized nation.” They suggest that the high-rate of C-sections in this country might have something to do with that, since C-sections can lead to complications like “blood clots, infection and excessive bleeding.”
High Child Mortality Rate
“The rate of children under five years old who pass away is eight per 1,000 births in the United States; 40 industrialized countries performed better than we did on this. The majority of these are newborns, especially preemies,” according to LearnVest.
Low Preschool Enrollment
LearnVest notes, “Only 58% of children in the United States are enrolled in preschool—the fifth lowest rate in the developed world. This is a factor in the rankings because pre-primary programs teach socialization skills and creative play skills, which help get kids ready for more advanced schooling.”
Lack of Paid Maternity Leave
“The U.S. has the least generous maternity leave policy—both in terms of duration and percent of wages paid—of any wealthy nation,” says LearnVest. We know this already. Yet nothing is being done politically to change our archaic maternity leave policy.
Save the Children also ranks countries based on the health and welfare of women overall (regardless of maternal status) and how well each nation provides for its children, and in each of those categories the U.S. came in 24th and 34th, respectively, so we score poorly all around. Take a look at the complete list of first world countries ranked in order from best to worst for mothers, alongside their scores for the women’s and children’s indices:
Save the Children says: “The Mothers’ Index was calculated as a weighted average of children’s well-being (30 percent), women’s health status (20 percent), women’s educational status (20 percent), women’s economic status (20), and women’s political status (10 percent). The scores on the Mothers’ Index were then ranked.”
Unsurprisingly, the best places in the world to be a mother are in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The worst are all in Africa, except Yemen and Afghanistan.
To learn more about Save the Children’s fascinating study, visit their site for the full State of the World’s Mothers Report.
Main Image: Flickr