NEW YORK – The best place in the world to be a mom is Norway, where maternal and child mortality rates are low, women's life expectancy and years in school are high, and the average maternity leave is about one year, a new study measuring the well-being of mothers and babies shows.
Australia and Iceland join Norway at the top of Save the Children's 12th annual Mothers Index, released Tuesday. Afghanistan comes in last, and the United States places 31st.
Released every year in the days before Mother's Day, the international nonprofit group's ranking analyzes the maternal and child indicators and other published information of 164 countries.
The survey considers Afghanistan the worst place to be a mother, with women having a life expectancy of 45 years — the world's lowest — and one of every 11 women dying in childbirth. One of every five children in the country doesn't live to age 5.
By contrast, a typical Norwegian woman lives to be 83 years old, and just one in 175 will lose a child before his or her 5th birthday.
Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Norway, while only 14 percent of births are attended in Afghanistan. Eighty-two percent of women in Norway use modern contraception, contrasted with less than 16 percent of Afghan women.