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Women and Children


 U.S.AustraliaNetherlands
mothers (rank)3129
child well-being, rank2615 (est.)1
birth rate, per 1,000 population141211
life expectancy at birth, years798281
infant mortality, number per 1,000 births who die before age 5754
maternal mortality ratio, number per 100,0002866
teen pregnancies, per 1000864411
health care, % insured, % by gov't, % by private85, 32, 53100, 100, 099.9, 99.9, 0
total expenditure on health, US$ per person9,0006,0004,700
total expenditure on health as a % of GDP (% gov't, % private)17% (48%)9% (67%)10% (87%)
paid maternity leave, weeks (pay %)018 (AUD$656.90 per week)16 (100%)
paternity leave, weeks, all unpaid12 each52 shared26 each
adult obesity, %

282112
childhood overweight / obesity, % (age range)40 (13-17)23 (2-16)16 (10-12)
Gender Equality Index (rank)48t9t12t
Women in politics, %172441
higher education costs -- tuition and fees, in U.S. $ (total cost affordability Rank)14,000 (13)8,000 (12)3,000 (3)

Learn more

Every number on this page is publicly available, usually from multiple sources. Links go to the original data source, where I could find it. Many go to a Wikipedia page with the information. Those pages usually link to the original data sources — and to much more. As few of the links below as possible go to secondary sources like newspaper articles about the original data.

Please let me know if I have made any errors in transferring numbers from the sources to the table above. Also, I am very interested in data that differs from what is above.

mothers – Save the Children’s 20011 Mothers Index (.pdf file). The Best and Worst Places to be a Mother. Helps document conditions for mothers and children in 140 countries – 41 developed nations and 99 in the developing world – and shows where mothers fare best and where they face the greatest hardships. It has three tiers. Our table shows the rank of each country. The closer the rank is to 1, the better for mothers and children.hagelslag

child well-being – UNICEF’s Child well-being in rich countries. Our table shows the rank of each country. The closer the rank is to 1, the better for children.

8 Secrets of Dutch Kids, the Happiest Kids in the World

  1. Their parents are among the happiest in the world.
  2. Their moms are genuinely happy.
  3. Dutch dads play a more equal role in child-rearing.
  4. Dutch kids feel no pressure to excel in school and have very little stress. They have no homework until high school and lots of time for play, especially sports.
  5. For breakfast, they eat chocolate sprinkles on buttered white bread.
  6. They have a right to express their own opinions
  7. They have Oma day (kids spending a lot of time with grandparents)
  8. The Dutch government gives families money every month to help with expenses.

From my personal experience, I would add a ninth. Dutch teenagers all have bicycles and think nothing of riding 10 miles to see their friends. They are never dependent on their parents to drive them anywhere in a car.

For the three data points below, you can find basic demographic information at the U.S. Census Bureau’s Information Gateway. Choose your country from the box, and click submit.

  • crude birth rate – The number per 1,000 population.
  • life expectancy at birth. The number of years someone born today can expect to live.
  • under five years old mortality rate. The number per 1,000 births who die before age 5.

maternal mortality – The Maternal Mortality Estimates (.pdf file) developed by WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA. Maternal mortality ratio. The number of maternal  deaths per 100,000 live births.

Maternal Mortality Rate in U.S. Rises, Defying Global Trend, Study Finds

One of the biggest worldwide public health triumphs in recent years has been maternal mortality. Global death rates fell by more than a third from 2000 to 2015. The United States, however, is one of the few countries in the world that have gone against the grain, new data show. Its maternal mortality rate has risen despite improvements in health care and an overwhelming global trend in the other direction.

teenage pregnancies – UN Statistics Division, Prevalence of teenage pregnancy. The table shows the combined number of live births and abortions per 1,000 women 15–19 years old in the years 2005 – 2010.

paid maternal leave – Wikipedia’s Parental Leave. Except where specified otherwise, the number of months at 100% pay. Australia offers 18 weeks at the National Minimum Wage. Many of the countries have much longer periods of unpaid leave, sometimes split among the parents. As you can see on the Wikipedia article, the U.S. and the Pacific Island nation of Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that do not offer any paid maternity leave.

unpaid leave – Wikipedia’s Parental Leave. Hardly any countries outside Western Europe have paid paternity leave and not very many more have even unpaid leave. In addition to the paid leave, Australia offers up to 52 weeks unpaid leave shared between the parents. (All leaves need to be taken before the baby’s first birthday.) In the Netherlands, parents can each take 26 unpaid weeks, though they get tax breaks if they do so. In the U.S., parents can take up to 12 weeks each of unpaid leave.

The Fight Working Moms Won

The Family and Medical Leave Act, which today guarantees just 12 weeks of unpaid leave, was introduced in Congress regularly for a decade before it became law in 1993. President George H.W. Bush vetoed it twice. Conservatives continually denounced it, arguing that it would destroy the free market and the family; a Republican congressman at the time called it “nothing short of Europeanization — a polite term for socialism.”

adult obesity, % – OECD’s Obesity update

childhood overweight / obesity, % (age range) – OECD’s Obesity Update 2014

gender equality – SocialWatch.org’s Gender Equality Index. The three dimensions included in the GEI are: economic activity, empowerment and education. A larger number, closer to Sweden’s 89, indicates more equality between men and women in these three dimensions.

women in politicsInterparliamentary Union. What percentage of the legislators in your country are women? Our table shows the percentage of women in the lower or single legislature.

higher education costs — tuition and fees, in U.S. $ (total cost affordability Rank) – HESA’s Global Higher Education Rankings 2010