Although the United States might be one of the wealthiest, most powerful countries in the world, it only ranks 25th on the list of best places to raise kids. The European country Norway tops the list put out each year by the independent organization Save the Children.
Save the Children, an organization dedicated to helping children throughout the world, has put out the State of the World's Mothers report for the last 13 years. The report focuses on nutrition in the first 1,000 days of a child's life and the breastfeeding policies in each country.
It also includes a Mother's Index which ranks 165 industrialized countries based on indicators of the overall health and well-being of both mothers and children.
These indicators include the prevalence of education for girls, mother and infant mortality rates, the number of women in the political arena, earned income rates as they compare to men, and the number of births attended by a medical professional.
The United States rose six positions, up from number 31 in last year's report, but is still lagging behind the report's top tier countries because of the high rates of teen pregnancy, overall poverty levels and the lack of access to health care that many Americans experience.
The researchers also looked at the low rate of children in preschool settings, the very short, nearly nonexistent, paid maternity and paternity leave policies at most American companies, and the higher than expected infant mortality rate.
The United States ranks 40th on the list for child mortality, with 8 out of every 1000 children dying before their fifth birthday.
Norway, on the other hand, leads the list because of their high ratio of female-earned income in comparison to men and for having the second-lowest mortality rate in the world for children under the age of five.
They also offer generous maternity leave packages, very high rates of female education and inclusion in politics, as well as programs aimed at new families.
Besides Norway, the top 10 countries in the Mother's Index include Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Australia, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
The bottom of the 165-country list include the African and Middle Eastern countries of Niger, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Shine.Yahoo.com. Web. 9 May 2012. "The best country for raising kids? Report says it's not the US."
Savethechildren.org. Web. 9 May 2012. "State of the World's Mothers Report.". http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/STATE-OF-THE-WORLDS-MOTHERS-REPORT-2012-FINAL.PDF
Reviewed May 10, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith