Shine On

Save the Children Mother’s Index lists best and worst places to be a mother

This Mother's Day, be thankful for where you live.

The 14th annual Save the Children Mother's Index lists the best and worst places in the world to be a mom. It records both the likelihood of death in pregnancy and labour and the difficulties women face as mothers -- scoring countries on maternal health, education, child mortality and women's income and political status.

Canada ranks 22nd on Save The Children's list, coming in behind countries including Finland, Spain and Germany. …Read the full report here.

The best place in the world to give birth? Finland, where only one in 345 children die under the age of five, and where children can expect up to 17 years of education.

The worst? The Democratic Republic of the Congo. In general, babies born in sub-Saharan Africa are more than seven times as likely to die on the day of their birth than in industrialized countries, the report claims.

Also see: What's the most important thing you've ever learned about being a mom?

"The 10 top-ranked countries, in general, are among the best countries in the world for mothers' and children's health, educational, economic and political status," says the report. "The 10 bottom-ranked countries – all from sub-Saharan Africa – are a reverse image of the top 10, performing poorly on all indicators. Conditions for mothers and their children in these countries are devastating."

Canada takes the 22nd spot, while the U.S. trails behind at 30th place with the highest first-day death rate among developed countries, mostly because of a high number of premature births and high adolescent birth rate.

The top 25 countries to be a mother:

1. Finland
2. Sweden
3. Norway
4. Iceland
5. The Netherlands
6. Denmark
7. Spain
8. Belgium
9. Germany
10. Australia
11. Austria
12. Switzerland
13. Portugal
14. Slovenia
15. Singapore
16. France
17. Italy
18. New Zealand
19. Greece
20. Ireland
21. Estonia
22. Canada
23. United Kingdom
24. Czech Republic
25. Israel

The worst 10 countries to be a mother:

167. Cote d'Ivoire
168. Chad
169. Nigeria
170. Gambia
171. Central African Republic
172. Niger
173. Mali
174. Sierra Leone
175. Somalia
176. Democratic Republic of the Congo

Also see: Google's Mother's Day ad is a billion-dollar tearjerker

According to
the report, nearly 3 million babies die within their first month of life every year. And more than a third of those babies die on their day of birth. About 287,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth.

"Overall the world has made unprecedented progress in reducing child and maternal deaths," says Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children.

Since 1990, overall child mortality has dropped dramatically: from 12 million annual deaths to less than 7 million globally.

"But within this progress, there are two big challenges — newborns and malnutrition. We can end child and maternal mortality in our generation — by using tried and tested interventions to stop mothers and babies being lost from what should be simple preventable causes," Forsyth adds.

"The prosperity and stability of a country improves as women are better educated, have better personal incomes and are politically represented," Patricia Erb, Save the Children's president and CEO says in a release.

"When women do better, their children are healthier and do better in school. It starts a virtuous cycle of development. We have made great progress around the world but much more can be done to save and improve millions of the poorest mothers’ and newborns' lives."

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