World View

May 07, 2008

What's the best place in the world to be a mother? According to Save the Children, which compared the well-being of mothers and children in 146 countries, it's Sweden. On the other hand, there won't be too many happy Mother's Days this year in Niger, which ranked last among countries surveyed on measures of maternal and child health and well-being.

Consider this comparison between the two nations: Skilled health personnel are present at almost every birth in Sweden, while only 33 percent of births are attended in Niger. A typical Swedish woman has almost 17 years of formal education and will live 83 years; 72 percent of Swedish women use some modern method of contraception; and only one in 185 will lose a preschool-age child. In Niger, a typical woman has less than three years of education, and the life expectancy of a girl born today is only 45. Only 4 percent of Nigerian women use modern contraception, and one child in four won't live to age 5.

The U.S. ranked 27th on Save the Children's list this year.

Here are the top 10 and bottom 10 countries for mothers:

The best

1. Sweden

2. Norway

3. Iceland

4. New Zealand

5. Denmark

6. Australia

7. Finland

8. Ireland

9. Germany

10. France

The worst

137. Ethiopia

138. Mali

139. Djibouti

140. Eritrea

141. Guinea-Bissau

142. Angola

143. Sierra Leone

144. Yemen

145. Chad

146. Niger

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