U.S. Has Highest Mortality Rate for Newborns of any Industrialized Country
About 11,300 newborns die in the U.S. annually, giving the country the highest first-day death rate among developed nations. The United States is, in fact, a more dangerous place for babies to be born than 68 other countries in the world, including Peru, Turkey and Egypt.
“This is 50 percent more first-day deaths than all other industrialized countries combined,” the report states.
Save the Children blames some of the problem on babies being born too early in the U.S., where the preterm birth rate (1 in 8 births) is one of the highest in the industrialized world and second only to Cyprus.
“In fact, 130 countries from all across the world have lower preterm birth rates than the United States,” the report reads.
Another contributing factor is teen births. The U.S. has the highest teenage birth rate of any industrialized country.
“Teenage mothers in the U.S. tend to be poorer, less educated, and receive less prenatal care than older mothers. Because of these challenges, babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be low-birth weight and be born prematurely and to die in their first month. They are also more likely to suffer chronic medical conditions, do poorly in school, and give birth during their teen years (continuing the cycle of teen pregnancy),” the report says.
Additional contributing factors to newborn deaths, in the U.S. and other industrialized nations, are racism, poverty and stress.
Politics also plays a role. Statistics cited in the report show a correlation between the inclusion of women in a country’s governing body and the rate of newborn deaths. Women hold a mere 18% of seats in the U.S. Congress, whereas 16 nations with more than double those positions held by females have a lower newborn mortality rate. In Sweden and Finland, which have the lowest number of newborn deaths in the world, women hold nearly half of all parliamentary seats.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman
To Learn More:
Study: US Has Higher Newborn Death Rate than Egypt (Inland News Today)
Surviving the First Day: State of the World’s Mothers 2013 (Save the Children) (pdf) (see pages 8-9, 55-56, 63, 68)
Why Does the U.S. Have Such a High Infant Mortality Rate? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)
Babies in U.S. More Likely to Die than Those in Cuba or Europe (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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