Skip to main content

Best place in the world to be a mother is...

By Alexis Lai, CNN
May 9, 2013 -- Updated 0101 GMT (0901 HKT)
A mother breastfeeds her baby at the Binza maternity hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday.
A mother breastfeeds her baby at the Binza maternity hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Finland ranked as best country for mothers in Save the Children's 14th Mothers' Index
  • Index intended to illustrate link between maternal and child well-being
  • Each year, nearly 3M babies die within first month of life; 287,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth
  • Sub-Saharan African countries ranked as the ten worst places to be a mother

(CNN) -- Thinking of having a baby? You may want to consider moving to Finland -- the best place in the world to be a mother, according to Save the Children's 14th Mothers' Index.

The index, part of the group's annual State of the World's Mothers report, is intended to illustrate the link between maternal and child well-being. Each year, nearly three million babies die within their first month of life -- more than a third die on their day of birth -- and 287,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth, according to the report.

The index ranked countries according to five indicators of a mother's well-being: maternal health (the risk of maternal mortality); children's well-being (the mortality rate of children under five); educational status (number of years of formal schooling a woman receives); economic status (gross national income per capita); and political status (the participation of women in national government).

Finland was followed closely by its Nordic neighbors and other Western European countries. Australia was the only non-European country to place in the top 10.

The United States ranked 30th, performing poorly in under-five mortality rates, maternal death, and political participation, compared to other highly-developed countries.

Industrialized countries account for only 1% of newborns dying on their first day of life, but among them the U.S. has the highest mortality rate, with approximately 11,300 deaths each year. The report attributed this to the country's high rate of premature births (one in eight births) -- the second highest in the industrialized world.

The U.S. also has the highest teenage birth rate of any industrialized country -- and teenage mothers in the U.S. tend to have less education, prenatal care, and financial resources than their older counterparts.

Sub-Saharan African countries ranked as the 10 worst places to be a mother, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo coming in last place.

While newborn, child, and maternal death rates have declined across the developing world in the past two decades, the report found that progress has been the slowest in this region. Developing countries lack basic healthcare for women and their babies before, during, and after delivery, accounting for the majority of newborn and maternal deaths.

The Mothers' Index ranked 176 countries -- all countries are included except those with insufficient data or a national population below 100,000.

Top 10

1. Finland

2. Sweden

3. Norway

4. Iceland

5. Netherlands

6. Denmark

7. Spain

8. Belgium

9. Germany

10. Australia

Bottom 10

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

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0326 GMT (1126 HKT)
Think that U.S. President Barack Obama has done a back flip on Iraq and Syria? Think again.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0338 GMT (1138 HKT)
Treated with all due respect, volcanoes can offer some stunning vistas. Just don't fall in.
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0522 GMT (1322 HKT)
The blogger, the hacker, the PM... and Kim Dotcom? New Zealand's election campaign erupts in scandal.
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 0236 GMT (1036 HKT)
In the aftermath of that deadly day, the enemy quickly became clear. But now a plurality of extremist threats tests global resolve.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Soviets put stray dogs into orbit. Then, next thing you know...
September 12, 2014 -- Updated 0928 GMT (1728 HKT)
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who will rule whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 1448 GMT (2248 HKT)
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
After months -- if not years -- of speculation, the tech giant's first foray into wearables has arrived. Here are our first impressions.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1241 GMT (2041 HKT)
Steven Sotloff's family believes ISIS paid rebels to alert the group about his location in Syria.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0805 GMT (1605 HKT)
Bali might be a popular tourist destination but there are crowd-free corners worth exploring.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
Scots are preparing to vote on the future of their country. Will they decide to leave the UK?
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT