American Moms More Likely to Die Than Peers in Developed Countries: U.S. Slips to 33rd Spot in Save the Children's Global Motherhood Ranking

FAIRFIELD, Conn (May 4, 2015) — The United States continues its descent in the global rankings of best and worst places for moms, slipping to 33rd out of 179 surveyed countries, reveals Save the Children's new report, "State of the World's Mothers 2015: The Urban Disadvantage." Norway rose to the top of the list, which was released today, while Somalia remained last for the second year.

The report indicates that women in the United States face a 1 in 1,800 risk of maternal death. This is the worst level of risk of any developed country in the world. An American woman is more than 10 times as likely to eventually die in pregnancy or childbirth as a Polish woman. And an American child is just as likely to die as a child in Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

"We need to do more to make sure that all mothers and babies have a fair chance of survival and a happy, healthy life – no matter where they live," said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. "Save the Children believes that a mother in Somalia, or frankly a mother in America, deserves the same opportunity to thrive as a mother in Norway."

The 10 bottom-ranked countries – all but two of them from West and Central Africa – are a reverse image of the top 10, and reflect political and economic instability, armed conflict and poor governance. Conditions for mothers and their children in the bottom countries are grim, as nations struggle to provide the basic infrastructure for the health and wellness of their citizens. In these countries, on average, 1 woman in 30 dies from pregnancy-related causes, and 1 child in 8 dies before his or her fifth birthday. View the complete rankings of the "Mother's Index" here:

In much of the world, more children than ever before are living to see their fifth birthday. Today, around 17,000 fewer children die every day compared to 25 years ago, and the global under-5 mortality rate has been cut nearly in half, from 90 to 46 deaths per 1,000 live births. But these numbers mask a harrowing reality for mothers living in poverty, especially in cities, where more and more are choosing to raise their kids.

The report identifies a devastating disparity in survival and health among rich and poor urban children around the world, including the United States. With more than half of the world's population living in cities, failure to address the needs of the urban poor threatens to stall further progress in ending preventable child deaths.

Save the Children's 16th annual ranking assesses the well-being of mothers and children in 179 countries – more than in any previous year. The annual ranking of the best and worst place to be a mom has become a reliable international tool to show where mothers and children fare best, and where they face the greatest hardships, using the latest data on health, education, economics and female political participation. The full report is available at

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.


We’ll be in touch! By signing up to receive emails from Save the Children you will receive a subscription to our monthly eNews, access to breaking emergency alerts and opportunities to get involved. To ensure delivery of Save the Children emails to your inbox, add to your contact list.