State of the World's Mother's 2009

The last few days I’ve been reading (semi-skimming) Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers 2009 Report. It’s a 62 page document comparing different countries in terms of care for Children and Mothers. It’s been a really interesting read so I thought I’d share just a few facts from the research that I found surprising and/or interesting:

-          “Four decades ago, America had the best high school graduation rate in the world, but by 2006 it had slipped to 18th out of 24 industrialized countries. As recently as 1995, the U.S. was still tied for first place in the proportion of young adults with a college degree, but by 2000 it had slipped to 9th and by 2006 to 14th. According to the latest OECD figures, the United States has one of the highest college dropout rates in the industrialized world – 53 percent of Americans who enter college do not finish. Only Italy has a higher college dropout rate (55 percent).”

-          “Worldwide, 75 million children fail to complete primary school, either because they drop out in the early grades or because they never got the change to attend school at all.”

-          “In the United States, nearly 2.5 million – or 68 percent – of all American fourth graders are not reading at grade level.”

-          New Mexico, Nevada, Mississippi, Arizona and Alabama are the five lowest-ranked states in the School Success Index. Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont and Maine are the highest scoring.

-          The Complete Mothers’ Index ranks countries based on a number of factors to determine “where mothers fare best and where they face the greatest hardships… The contrast between the top-ranked country, Sweden, and the lowest-ranked country, Niger, is striking. Skilled health personnel are present at virtually every birth in Sweden, while only 33 percent of births are attended in Niger. A typical Swedish woman has nearly 17 years of formal education and will live to be 83 years old, 65 percent are using some modern method of contraception, and only one in 185 will lose a child before his or her fifth birthday. At the opposite end of the spectrum, in Niger, a typical woman has little over 3 years of education and will live to be 56. Only 5 percent of women are using modern contraception, and 1 child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday. At this rate, every mother in Niger is likely to suffer the loss of a child.”

-          The United States ranked 27th on the Complete Mothers’ Index. “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 all the Western, Northern and Southern European countries (save Estonia and Albania) as well as Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine. A woman in the United States is more than 5 times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland.”

There’s a lot more info in the report, but those were just a few little things that stood out to me.

These facts are sobering and personally make me wonder what can I and others like me do to change the living conditions of so many women and children around the world…?

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman