- 1 child in 4 does not reach his or her fifth birthday in Afghanistan, Angola, Niger and Sierra Leone. In Sweden, only 1 child in 333 dies before age 5.
- Fewer than 15 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Afghanistan and Chad; 96 percent of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Sri Lanka.
Over the course of her lifetime, 1 woman in 8 will die in pregnancy or childbirth in Afghanistan. Compare that to 1 in more than 47,000 in Ireland.
- A typical woman in Angola, Dijbouti and Niger has less than four years of schooling versus a typical woman in Australia or New Zealand who receives over 20 years of formal education.
- A girl born in Swaziland will not live to see her 30th birthday. Compare that to a girl born in Japan who will live to 86 years old.
Why doesn’t the United States do better in the rankings? The United States ranked 27th this year based on several factors:
● One of the key indicators used to calculate well-being for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal mortality. The United States’ rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 4,800 - one of the highest in the developed world. Thirty-five out of 43 countries performed better than the United States on this indicator, including nearly all the Western, Northern and Southern European countries and Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine.
● Similarly, the United States did not do as well as many other countries with regard to under-5 mortality. The U.S. under-5 mortality rate is 8 per 1,000 births - up from 7 in last year’s Index. Twenty-nine countries performed better than the U.S. on this indicator.
● Only 61 percent of children in the United States are enrolled in preschool - making it the ninth lowest country in the developed world on this indicator.
● Next to Australia, the United States has the least generous maternity leave policies of any wealthy nation.
● The United States is also lagging behind with regard to the political status of women. Only 17 percent of seats in the U.S.Congress are held by women, compared to 47 percent in Sweden and 42 percent in Finland. Why is Sweden number one? Sweden performed as well as or better than other countries in the rankings on all the indicators. It has the highest ratio of female-to male earned income, the highest percentage of women with seats in the national government and - along with Iceland - the lowest under-5 mortality rate in the world.