U.S. scores poorly in world motherhood rankings

May 5, 2010 | NeW Staff

My friend and fellow NeW member, Melissa, came across an article yesterday that reported on the results of the world motherhood rankings.  The index, compiled by Save the Children, a charity organization, ranked the United States in 28th place, the lowest among developed countries. 

Several factors contributed to America’s low score, including maternal mortality rate.  In the United States, the statistic is one in 4,800. 

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 ofmaternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland.

In addition, the index also considered child mortality rate and the percent of children enrolled in preschool.  On these counts, the U.S. is well behind the majority of the developed world.  According to the report,

…a child in the U.S. is more than twice as likely as a child in Finland, Iceland, Sweden or Singapore to die before his or her fifth birthday…[and] only 61 percent of children were enrolled in preschool, which on this indicator made it the seventh-lowest country in the developed world.

The report also noted that maternity leave and policies in place to help working mothers raise a family in the U.S. is the “least generous of any wealthy nation.” 

However, the report does not discuss the causality of these findings.  Although the numbers are startling, and it appears the United States can improve in this area, the reasons behind these figures are what will prove the most interesting.  Once causality is determined, the policies and next steps to take become clear. 

What do you think are the reasons behind the U.S.’s poor scores in motherhood?

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