The Best & Worst Place to be a mother


Mothers are the foundation of our world. None of us would be here without them.  Know the state of mothers around the world and you will know the state of the world’s children. A healthy mother who has enough to eat and who is financially secure will raise healthy, well fed and well supported children.  

READ more about the rankings and where Canada placed

First 1000 Days: 

Nutrition for mothers and babies

This year’s State of the World’s Mothers report shows which countries are succeeding – and which are failing – to provide good nutrition during the critical 1,000-day window. It examines how investments in nutrition solutions make a difference for mothers, children, communities, and society as a whole. It also points to proven, low-cost solutions that could save millions of lives and help lift millions more out of ill-health and poverty.


  Click report to read more.

The 2012 report of the Mothers’ Index, and ranks 165 countries—the most ever—-on women’s access to health care, education and opportunities including economic status. The report also includes an Infant and Toddler Early Feeding Score for 73 countries and the first index of its kind – a Breastfeeding Policy Scorecard. The scorecard looks at breastfeeding practices and supportive government policies in 36 high income industrialized countries.

Want to learn more?  > > >  Take the "How old am I?" quiz 


How Countries compare

First & Last

Norway ranks high across the board when it comes to - women’s education, income, political empowerment, health care & access to family planning, maternity/parental leave, and policies to support breastfeeding mothers. 

Niger ranks poorly across the board for mothers, with the most stark score in the overall index showing almost half of Niger’s children (47%) are affected by chronic malnutrition (stunting). This statistics has shown no improvement in the last 25 years. 

Comparison – Canada and Norway

Canada once again places within the top 20 countries in our report. This year Canada has moved from 20th place to 19th. The change is due to due in part to the recent increase in the number of women in parliament as well as the inclusion this year of parental leave as part of the index. Compared to Norway, Canada needs improvement in the areas of women’s education and economic success and maternity/parental benefits. Most importantly, Norway’s under 5 mortality rate is half that of Canada (3 deaths per 1000 live births vs 6 deaths per 1000 live births) and only 72% of Canadian women use modern methods of birth control compared to 82% of Norwegian women. 

Comparison – Canada and Niger

While steps to improve Canada’s 19th place standing should be made, the vast divide between the life of a mother in Niger and one in Canada should shock the conscience of any Canadian.

How does a mother’s life in Canada compare to one in Niger?

  1. Almost 100% of births are attended by skilled health personnel in Canada compared to less than a third in Niger
  2. 72% of Canadian women use modern contraception compared to 5% Nigerian women
  3. 1/98 women are likely to lose a child before their 5th birthday in Canada compared to 1/7 in Niger.
  4. In Canada, the risk of maternal death is 1/5,600. In Niger, 1 woman in 16 will die from pregnancy related causes.
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