By Caitlin St John
May 05, 2015
Holding Hands

With Mother's Day just around the corner, it's the perfect time to reflect on all mothers, not just our own. Save the Children released its 16th annual State of the World's Mothers report yesterday to shed light on the places where life for mothers can be most improved. The report takes into account the well-being of mothers and their children in 179 countries across the globe.

Multiple factors of women's well-being, such as lifetime risk of maternal mortality, gross national income, and participation of women in national government, are taken into account, along with a number of factors reflecting children's well-being—including under-5 mortality rate and expected amount of schooling. The 2015 report focused on the state of mother's in urban areas—where more than half of the world's population currently lives. (That number is expected to reach approximately 66 percent by 2050.)

Scandinavian countries rank within the top 10 best countries for mothers and countries in sub-Saharan African rank in the bottom 10. The United States has not ranked within the top 10 in nine years, and ranked 33rd this year—dropping two spots from last year.

In fact, among the report's more startling finding was that Washington, D.C. has the highest infant-death risk and greatest inequality of any capital city in developed countries, with a mortality rate of 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births (the U.S. average is 6.1).

Overall, urban slums are one of the worst places for mothers to bring up her children. The report states that the poorest urban children are at least twice as likely to die as the richest urban children. This is because of social and economic disadvantages, deprivation and discrimination. Although urban areas have more health facilities, these facilities are often unable to reach those who are in the most need due to lack of funding.

In order to lessen the gap between rich and poor mothers, Save the Children stresses the need for universal health coverage and nutritional services, and the mobilization of resources to end preventable child deaths in urban slums.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Image: Holding hands via Shutterstock