Wednesday Trivia: The Best Country to be a Mom

Mother With Kids

Mother’s Day is fast approaching…which got us wondering: Where do moms have it best?According to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers Report, the United States is only the 25th best country in the world to be a mom. (That’s six spots better than it ranked last year. I’m a bit surprised. Are you?) Norway took the number one spot, and Sweden and Iceland took second and third place. How did Norway garner such an honor? Well, the  country  has one of the most generous maternity-leave policies among developed nations, and women there are highly educated and well represented in government. It also boasts the highest female-to-male income ratio and is tied for the second-lowest under-5 mortality rate.

Researchers compared the wellbeing of mothers in 165 countries—43 developed nations and 122 in the developing world—based on a variety of criteria including health, nutrition, education, and economic and political status. For more analysis of the list, check out this Huffington Post story.

What do you think of the results? How do you think our nation should change to make life better for mothers? Or, tell us why you think America is actually a fantastic place to be a mom.

(And don’t forget: You can make life better for your mom—at least for a little while—by doing something special for her on Mother’s Day. Start with these six ideas for personal cards and gifts)


  1. Stephanie

    These results didn’t surprise me at all. Friends of ours who live in Norway enjoyed 2 years of maternity leave and nearly 1 year of paternity leave. Just might be worth enduring a cold winter for!

    May 1, 2013 at 1:48 pm
  2. Mo

    Not surprised either, but Norway is a socialist country (very wealthy high standard of living), but it can be frustrating that way.

    May 1, 2013 at 3:21 pm
  3. Lillian

    The maternity leave in the US is abysmal – I am not at all surprised by this. Women need to have full rights to their bodies, get paid the same amount as men, and have a longer, paid maternity leave!

    May 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm
  4. Maria

    @mo what’s frustrating about wealth and high standard of living?

    May 1, 2013 at 9:29 pm
  5. Cara Elisabetta Berk

    So Belarus is in front of us, and Czech Republic behind. But those “more developed countries” There is no way you can say that America is srsly failing mothers on developed country stats. In comparison, the hot bed countries that are always up in the news appear in least developed countries. So while Rwanda is number one on that list, I am sure we can’t complain about our access to drinking water in america. Sure you don’t get 2 years maternity leave, but you can use a toilet indoors and don’t have to worry about dying from malnutrition. What’s the point of this list and this feeling that we are failing?

    May 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm
  6. Cara Elisabetta Berk

    @Lillian, how would you feel about the maternity leave in say Sudan?

    May 8, 2013 at 2:44 pm
  7. Jen

    Mo, you want to look up the definition of socialism. Norway is not a socialist country!

    May 8, 2013 at 2:48 pm
  8. amecom

    So the criteria is based on number of years of formal schooling for girls, amount of paid maternity leave, average life expectancy, and the percentage of women in government office? Those things aren’t the highest on my list of ‘musts’ in order to be happy as a mother. All of these things are very socialist leaning, so it stands to reason which countries would score highest.

    May 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm
  9. amecom
    May 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm
  10. Homegirl Quel

    Great point, Cara. I agree completely.

    May 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm
  11. Taniah

    @Maria I think what Mo means is that cost of living in Norway is expensive, though I’m not sure how he/she thinks that relates to socialism. And Norway’s political system isn’t actually socialism, but a constitutional monarchy with a democratic system and a parliament (similar to Britain.) They do have a lot of social programs in place, which means higher taxes that make it an even more expensive place to live. But I think that is a fair trade off for the benefits they get for their money. I feel like in the U.S., we pay ever increasing taxes while watching our social programs continue to be cut. I had to go back to work about two months ago after six weeks of unpaid maternity leave. It’s difficult to focus on my work because I am constantly thinking about the care of my infant, and meanwhile my husband and I are still paying for the debt we accrued during my time off.

    May 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm
  12. Jen
    May 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm
  13. Gina

    @ Cara: Sorry, but the US is seriously failing mothers on the developed country stats! I.e. in Germany (#12) – and similar in most other European countries – you get 65% of your salary paid on your parental leave for the first year. You can take 2 more unpaid years and then return to work legally demanding you OLD Job back! You are strictly not allowed to work 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after the birth while getting fully paid. Men are encouraged to stay at home for 2-3 months to now, too, by paying extra if the “other” partner stays at home, too. The state pays you 200 $ per child per until your child is 18 years old unconditionally. Public Kindergarten costs 200 $ a month at the most. Single moms are not being further shamed by society and punished by the government like in the US, but receive support from society and the government. Women don´t get shamed by society for abortion, if they are to young nobody wishes them to have a child before finishing a solid education. All this leads to MUCH LESS CHILD POVERTY and healthier (and older :-)) moms in those countries. So the point of the list is not to make you feel like your failing, but to open your eyes as to what is possible, if women in this country would stand up for their rights!

    May 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm
  14. Jen

    @Cara, A lot of factors play into this. It’s not only maternity leave, clean water, and indoor toilets. It’s access to healthcare (infant and post par tum death rates) as well as affordable and easily available childcare. Also education and % of women in politics plays a roll.

    May 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm
  15. amecom

    @Jen, we could go back and forth all day. Personally, I’ll pick the USA over Norway every time :-) I believe it is a socialist country based on how heavily regulated they are by the government. (Webster’s definition: any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods).
    Found an interesting article about Norway’s ‘happiness’. You’ll have to Google ‘Why Norway is a BS argument for higher taxes’ because I don’t think I can insert a link on this thread.

    May 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm
  16. amecom

    @Gina… ‘stand up for their rights’ … There is where we vastly differ in opinion. It is not my ‘right’ to be paid to have a child. This notion that I deserve to be paid to stay at home is ridiculous! What happened to earning a living to support your family and not requiring the government to take care of you from cradle to grave?? Personal responsibility is key!

    May 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm
  17. TSlice

    Wait, we’re supposed to be happy because we’re “not Sudan”?? We are an industrialized country with access to the some of the best health care and education facilities in the world, but these stats are pathetic.

    May 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm
  18. Kwrites

    it’s pretty obvious which commenter(s) here have bought in to the Republican dogma that is ruining this country, too bad women can’t stand together and fight for what truly matters if we are ever to break free from the status quo

    May 9, 2013 at 9:29 am
  19. Sharron Jessup

    Although I am an American citizen with many rights, i am well aware that there are countries who value women more. Also, our country has a shameful poverty rate. What ever your politics is, the facts show that we are behind several countries in may areas. Examples: health care, education, infant mortality, prison system just to name a few..

    May 9, 2013 at 3:20 pm
  20. Lori

    This is purely my personal opinion. What people fail to realize when they compare the US with Norway or other similar European countries is the population dynamics. Europe is a great place to work (if you are lucky enough in some of those countries), and to have a child. They actually pay women to encourage them to have children.
    However Europe does have a problem that the US does not have YET. Its population is getting older. The birth rates have declined steadily and that means in one or two generations there will be a collapse of the social support system. There simply won’t be enough young people to work and pay taxes to support the older retirees when the life expectancy of these latter ones is getting longer.
    The social policies of supporting women thru pregnancy leave and maternity are fully in line with that of keeping the birth rate from declining further, in order to keep a normal population growth or at least keep it from declining and aging.
    The US on the other hand does not have this issue just yet. Mainly I believe due to the influx of young immigrants, and higher birth rates in the latino and black communities and also our society in general. It is more common in the US middle class to find families with two or more children. It is a rare sight in most of those very developed countries to have more than two children in one family (most mothers only one child). Ever think of the reasons despite the great incentives to have children offered by their governments? Just some food for thought :)
    Happy mothers day!

    May 10, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s