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June 2000Vol. 1, No. 4Report Ranks Nations by Status of Mothers, Children

A new report by Save the Children, ranks U.S. mothers and their children 4th worldwide on key indicators of well-being.

State of the World's Mothers 2000 is based on published statistics from governments, international agencies, and research institutions. The survey of 106 countries--20 industrialized and 86 developing nations--measures women's health, educational, and political status; children's status; and GDP to calculate the first-ever "Mother's Index Rank." The U.S. rank ties with Switzerland and falls behind Norway, Canada, and Australia. In measuring child well-being alone, the United States falls to 15th in relation to other countries surveyed.

Regarding the United States, the report notes:

  • One child in five in the United States lives in poverty
  • Black and Hispanic children are twice as likely as white children to be poor
  • Race, ethnicity, and geography correlate with pronounced disparities in U.S. infant mortality figures. The report cites Washington, DC, as an example of a U.S. locality in which the infant mortality rate is comparable to the rate in developing countries, such as Panama and Uruguay.
  • The maternal mortality rate for African American women is three times higher than the rate for white women ages 18 to 22.

The report also cites the nation's high rate of teen pregnancy as detrimental to children's and mother's well-being.

The report acknowledges that more research is needed to fully understand the reasons for the relationships and trends observed.

All the indicators collected for the Mothers' Index are displayed in the first Appendix. A second appendix outlines the methodology and research notes.

State of the World's Mothers 2000 is available online at: (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)

For a free, print copy, contact:

Save the Children
Department of Public Affairs and Communications
54 Wilton Road
Westport, CT 06880
Tel.: 203-221-4000
Fax: 203-226-6709

Related Item

For a related article about Latino children living in poverty, see "Census Data Shows Latino Children Living in Poverty" in the April issue of the Children's Bureau Express.