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Scandinavia Named Best Place To Be A Mother, U.S. Ranks 33rd

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by Photo Via Stokke

Each Mother’s Day, Save the Children releases its annual State of the World’s Mothers report, ranking the best and worst places to be a mama around the globe. This year’s findings? Scandinavian countries Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden, made up the top 5 spots (cue our tips on how Danes raise the happiest kids in the world). Meanwhile, conflict-affected sub-Saharan African countries came out on the bottom, with the worst place to be a mother listed as Somalia, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Mali, and Niger.

In total, 179 countries are ranked in the list—46 developed and 133 in the developing world—and they are all evaluated on five main issues: maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic status, and the political status of women. Norway was the only country to rank in the top 12 of all of these indicators.

Perhaps surprisingly, the U.S. ranked 33rd this year (sliding two spots from 31 last year), performing worse than any other developed country in the world in maternal health. Why? In the U.S., women face a 1 in 1,800 risk of maternal death, which is the worst performance of any developed country. A little bit of context: An American woman is more than 10 times as likely to eventually die in pregnancy or childbirth as a Polish woman, and almost 10 times as likely as an Italian woman. When it comes to the advancement of the political status of women, nearly half of all countries in the world out-performed the U.S., indicated by the fact that only 1 in 5 members of Congress are women.

As for offspring, an American child is just as likely to die before his or her fifth birthday as a child in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia. The report also notes that among 25 of the wealthiest capital cities surveyed around the world, Washington, D.C. has the highest infant mortality rate, and babies from the District’s poorest wards are dying at much higher rates than the city’s already high average.

As they saying goes: We’ve got a long way to go, baby…

To download the full report, read more summary of the findings, and find out how you can help, click here.

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