State of the World’s Mothers Report Ranks the United States as 31st for Best Place in World to Be a Mother

by Dr Sam Girgis on May 8, 2011

Today is Mother’s Day, and all over the world children will be celebrating with their mothers and giving thanks for everything that they do for us.  This is truly a time to reflect upon all that a mother provides for her children.  The impact that a mother has on her children is not matched by any other person throughout life.  To coincide with Mother’s Day, the 12th annual State of the World’s Mothers is published by the nonprofit organization Save the Children.  The study evaluated the health and social conditions for mothers and their children in 164 countries throughout the world.  The United States ranked 31st overall in the study, the worst ranking for any industrialized country.  The worst place for a mother and her children was Afghanistan, while Norway was on top in the worldwide ranking.  There were several factors which contributed to the low ranking for the United States.  The United States rate of pregnancy related deaths among women is 1 in 2,100, and eight out of every 1000 children die before the age of 5.  Another factor that was cited as a reason for the low US ranking was the least generous maternity leave policy, in both duration and percentage of wages paid, among industrialized countries.  Despite ranking 31st in the study, we are quite fortunate in the United States compared to many other countries in the world.

In Afghanistan, one in every 11 women dies during pregnancy or as a result of complications of childbirth.  This is in stark comparison to Greece where only one in 31,800 maternal deaths occurs during pregnancy or childbirth.  In Afghanistan, one child out of every five will die before the age of five years old, compared to Finland, Greece, Japan, and Singapore where the under five mortality is one in 333 children.  In Afghanistan and Chad, more than 85% of childbirths are unattended by a trained health professional.  The report emphasized that more needs to be done to change this disparity throughout the world.  In the United States, one half of one percent of the federal budget is allocated to fighting worldwide poverty.  Of the countries that received help from the US, 14 have reduced child mortality to as much as 70%.  Despite this, more needs to be done.  So on this Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate with and give thanks to our mothers but also remember the less fortunate in the world.

Source:, State of the World’s Mothers 2011

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