Study: US, Afghanistan Among Worst Places to Raise Kids, Be a Mother

Out of the world's wealthiest nations, the United States is the worst place to live as a mother or a child, according to a survey by children's rights organization Save the Children. But Afghanistan, where the U.S. military has led operations for ten years, is dead last in nearly every category for women and children.

Save the Children's twelfth annual Mother's Index looked at factors like the health of mothers and their children, as well as their education and economic status, including access to medical care, as well as the overall security and well-being of the mothers and their children. Out of all the countries in the world, the U.S. placed 31st, last among countries considered "developed" or "first world" countries.

Norway, Australia, Iceland, Sweden, and Denmark rounded out the top five.

The reasons for the weak ranking are many, including the highest having the highest maternal mortality rate, 1 in 2,100, out of all industrialized nations. According to the survey, a woman in the U.S. is 7 times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as a woman in Ireland or Italy.

Also, a woman in the U.S. is 15 times as likely to die form maternal death, compared to a woman in Greece.

Results for children in the U.S. were grim, as well. The mortality rate for children under 5 years old in the U.S. is 8 per 1,000 births, which is the same as Latvia, which has a GDP 75 percent lower than the U.S., according to the CIA World Factbook.

In comparison to countries like Japan, Greece, Finland, Norway, and Slovenia, a child in the U.S. is twice as likely to die before reaching the age of 5.

The study also pointed to low preschool enrollment rates and a poor maternal leave policy in the U.S. for its low ranking. According to the study, only 58 percent of children in the U.S. attend preschool, which is the fifth-lowest rate in the developed world.

In addition, American companies give new mothers the least amount of maternal leave and percentage of wages of any "wealthy nation," the study says.

Although the U.S. scored poorly compared to other developed nations, the study showed the intense disparity life in the U.S. compared to Afghanistan, the country the U.S. has invaded since 2001.

Afghanistan scored at the bottom of the list in nearly every category, including life expectancy of women, which is only 45, slightly less than half of the U.S. rate of 82 years. Women also have a mere 5 years of formal education, the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world, and are the least likely to have professional medical care available when they give birth out of any group of women anywhere in the world.

In addition, approximately 1 out of 5 children die before the age of 5, with a 199 per 1,000 under-5 mortality rate.