Just in time for Mother's Day, international nonprofit Save The Children released its list of the best and worst countries to be a mom. The rankings are based on "mothers' and children's health, educational and economic status," according to a press release. Moms in Scandinavia are sitting pretty, with Sweden and Norway taking the number one and two spots. Moms down under also fare well, as New Zealand and Australia also made the top ten. Most of the countries in the bottom ten are in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Niger ranking as the worst place to be a mother. According to statistics from Save the Children, "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." [Save The Children via NPR]
One of the reasons Scandinavian countries have such plush social services for moms and kids is the fact that NOBODY is having babies. The fairly homogenous populations there are highly educated, and everyone knows that the more you educate a woman, the less likely to want to push something watermelon sized out of her nether regions and commit career suicide. Sweden (and Norway and Finland, to a less extent) have tried get around that problem by instituting generous maternal and paternal leave policies, as well as a guarantee that your job will be there for you after you're done strolling around the park with your husband and the babe for the first couple years of the kid's life. It's a sweet system, but the socialism, high social welfare component is only politically feasible with a small and highly educated population who need a little prodding to have the bebies.