US Not the Best Place to Be a Mom Per Charity Study

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Save the Children, a leading independent organization that creates lasting change for children, has released the 11th annual “State of the World’s Mother’s Report” for 2010 and the United States is not in the top ten best countries in the world to be a mom. We are not in the top 20. According to the report, the US is in 28th place for factors affecting the health and well-being of women and children.

Among 160 countries listed, the best place in the world to be a mother is Norway, followed by Australia, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark. Also in the top ten are New Zealand, Finland, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.

The country ranked at the bottom of the list was Afghanistan. The bottom ten also included Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, and Equatorial Guinea.

The Index is based on an analysis of several indicators of women's and children's health and well-being. A major factor for being low on the list is the maternal mortality rate. The US has one of the highest in the developed world with one in 4800 mom’s dying in childbirth.

As a comparison, a woman in Niger has a one in 7 risk of dying of pregnancy or child-birth related causes. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece and Italy, the risk of maternal death is less than 1 in 25,000.

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“A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland,” the report said.

The US also scored poorly with childhood mortality. A child in the US is more than twice as likely to die before his fifth birthday as a child in Finland, Iceland, Sweden or Singapore. The “under-five” mortality rate in the US is 1 in 125 births. In Afghanistan, child mortality rates are higher than 1 in 4.

The report also found the US to have the least generous maternity leave policy among developed countries, including both duration of time to be away from work after having a child and the percentage of wages paid during the leave.

Two other factors that play into the poor rankings are education and income. A typical female in Afghanistan, for example, receives less than five years of formal education. In Australia and New Zealand, the average woman stays in school for more than 20 years. According to the American Council on Education, about 57% of women go to college in the US.

Saudi Arabian and Palestinian women earn only 16 and 12 cents respectively for every dollar a man earns in those countries. In Mongolia, women earn 87 cents for every dollar and in Mozambique, they earn 90 cents. The typical US woman earns 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

The State of the World’s Mothers urges governments in industrialized nations to provide women with access to education, economic opportunities, and maternal and child health care which give mothers and their children the best chance to survive and thrive.

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