This Mother's Day, you might find the best-off äitis in Finland, and the worst-off mamans in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those are the best and worst countries for moms, respectively, according to one international ranking released this week:
The index, compiled from external data sources by the charity group Save the Children, is based on five metrics: the lifetime risk of maternal death, the under-five mortality rate, years of formal schooling, income per capita, and the participation of women in government.
To anyone who follows these things, the winners and losers are depressingly predictable. The top 10 are all in Europe (and Australia), bolstered by their widespread availability of maternal healthcare, and the bottom 10 are all in Central Africa. (Though to be fair, this is an index of quantifiable development statistics, not of happiness or contentment or even of having the most children -- all of which could be construed to mean "good" motherhood and would likely shift some Global South countries to the top.)
Around the world, newborn deaths account for 43 percent of all deaths among children under age 5, and nearly all newborn and maternal deaths (98 and 99 percent, respectively) occur in developing countries where there's a dearth of basic health care services.