Israel a Better Place to Be a Mom than U.S.?

In commemoration of Mother’s Day, Save the Children is publishing its 14th annual State of the World’s Mothers report.

Save the Children has created a Mothers Index for 176 countries and Israel ranks number 25 this year, five notches ahead of the U.S. which ranks number 30.  The highest ranked countries are the Nordic countries with Finland at number one and the lowest ranked countries are located in Africa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo ranks 176, the lowest. The rankings reflect a composite score derived from five different indicators related to maternal well-being (i.e. maternal health, children’s well-being, educational status, economic status and political status).

The Save the Children Mothers Index is admittedly rather a rough tool and perhaps does not capture the stress of mothers living in a developed country, such as Israel,  in a volatile region as compared to the U.S. which may have the advantage of currently being in a relatively safer region.

Perhaps Israeli moms worry more than American moms about safety but as an Insight Express/NBC News survey of 7,164 U.S. women was conducted the week of the Boston Marathon bombings, safety was on moms’ minds. 1 in 5 say keeping kids safe and healthy is a major stress-causer, and 40% of moms said worrying that the world is not a good/safe place is a top stressor.

Actual exposure to terrorist events has shown likely increases in miscarried pregnancies in Israel. A study by researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine looked at medical records of pregnant  women in embattled Sderot who endured loud alarms and rocket fires and compared them to  women in Kiryat Gat who were living outside the range of missiles. The women from the more peaceful Kiryat Gat experienced 4.7 percent of miscarriages, while Sderot had a 6.9 percent miscarriage rate, a 59 percent increase in the miscarriage rate.

In any case, anywhere, it’s hard to be a mom.

About the Author
Pini Herman, PhD, is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research based in Los Angeles; He specializes in demographics, big data and predictive analysis; He has been affiliated with the University of Southern California Dept.of Geography, the USC School of Social Work, and served seven years as Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.