Where Does the U.S. Rank on the Best Places to Be a Mom List?

posted: 05/11/15
by: Blythe Copeland
It's never been easy to be a working mom.
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It's never been easy to be a working mom.

The 16th State of the World's Mothers report, published annually by Save the Children, ranked the best and worst places in the world to have kids--and found that children in poor urban environments around the world are more likely to die than their wealthier counterparts. "For babies born in the big city," said president and CEO Carolyn Miles in a press release, "it's survival of the richest." About 1/3 of those who live in cities end up in slums, where, the report says, "a lack of clean water, basic sanitation, and health services can equal death."

While the U.S. is one of the wealthier nations in the world, and has excellent education about the benefits of prenatal care, we're still ranked 33rd, just behind Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Croatia, in part because mothers here face a 1 in 1,800 risk of death--higher than any other developed country. "An American woman is more than 10 times as likely to eventually die in pregnancy or childbirth as a Polish woman," says the report. "And an American child is just as likely to die as a child in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia."

Of 25 capital cities in the report, the infant mortality rate of Washington, D.C., was the highest. The city showed 6.6 deaths for every 1,000 births in 2013; says the report, "While this rate is an all-time low for the District of Columbia, it is still 3 times the rates found in Tokyo and Stockholm....Babies in Ward 8, wherever half of all children live in poverty, are about 10 times as likely as babies in Ward 3, the richest part of the city, to die before their first birthday."

Overall, the best countries for moms are Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark, with Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Australia, and Belgium rounding out the top ten. (See the full index for more rankings.)

On the brighter side, moms who get prenatal care do fare well, so one hopes this study will help shine a light on the importance of regular visits to the obstetrician and healthy living while pregnant.