National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Report: U.S. Among 13 Countries With Increasing Maternal Mortality Rates

The U.S. maternal death rate is twice that of Canada's, according to a new report on global maternal death rates published by the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the World Bank, Reuters reports.

The survey is designed to track progress of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, one of which aims to reduce global maternal death rate to less than 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030. It also aims to have no country have a maternal death rate greater than 140 per 100,000 live births. Currently, the global average is 216, with high-income countries averaging about 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births and sub-Saharan African nations averaging 546 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.

Key Findings

The survey found that the U.S. in 2015 reported 14 deaths from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth per 100,000 live births, an increase from the 12 deaths per 100,000 live births reported in 1990. According to Reuters, the U.S. is one of 13 countries whose maternal mortality rate increased between 1990 and 2015. Other countries that reported increases included North Korea, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Canada remained consistent at seven maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in both 1990 and 2015.

Overall, the survey found that the safest places to give birth are Finland, Greece, Iceland and Poland, which each have three maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Belarus showed significant gains, dropping from 33 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990 to four per 100,000 live births in 2015 (Miles, Reuters, 11/12).