We all agree children are the future, no? So imagine our surprise when the 2011 State of the World’s Mothers report ranked the U.S. ranked 31st on its list of the best places to be a mom. The report grades countries based on healthcare available to moms and babies, length of and pay during maternity leave, female-to-male pay ratio, maternal mortality risk, and a child’s chance of death before age 5.
It’s no secret that the U.S. tends to be stingy when it comes to maternity leave, but it’s shocking to find out that our under-five mortality rate is worse than most other developed nations. In Japan, for example, young children are half as likely to die before they reach kindergarten. Out of the forty-three industrialized nations on the list, the United States ranks worst in risk of maternal mortality, at 1 in 2,100. That means an American woman is fifteen times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than a woman in Greece. Yikes.
Here’s the good news: the United States gives the most aid to countries in need even though it ranks 19th in wealth. U.S. development assistance has helped countries improve under-five mortality rate by as much as 77% between 1990 and 2009. Still, if you want a long, well-paid maternity leave, top prenatal and postpartum care, you may want to find a way high-tail it to number one on the list, Norway.