Ten Miles Square


January 10, 2013 8:30 AM Best in the World, my Ass

By Aaron Carroll

By now, I’m sure you’ve read an article on how we’re dying at higher rates of so many, many things compared to the rest of the world. All that is from an IOM report that I haven’t had the time to read fully yet.

But a colleague pointed me to a site which allows you to look at some of their data in charts. Honestly, I’d like to post them all. Since I can’t do that, I’ll focus on some of my favorites. Let’s start with pregnancy and birth.

This is deaths from maternal conditions related to pregnancy:

Maternal Conditions

That’s moms dying, not kids. Look at how many more mothers – women – die from pregnancy related conditions in the US than in any other comparable country.

Here’s deaths from perinatal conditions:

Perinatal conditions

Here’s deaths from prematurity and low birth weight:


Here’s deaths from birth ashyxia and birth trauma:

Birth Asphyxia

Here’s deaths from neonatal infections and other conditions:

Neonatal Infections

Here’s how much we spent on health care per person, relative to other countries, leading up to 2008:

Spending per capita.007

Best in the world? Keep on telling yourself that.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

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Aaron Carroll ,MD, is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the associate director of Children’s Health Services Research at Indiana University School of Medicine.


  • OKDem on January 10, 2013 1:03 PM:

    Let me point out that anyone can download a personal copy of the report at:

    All IOM and National Academies Press press reports are available as PDF documents because the Academies have recognized that they work for the people of the United States, not for corporate publishers.

  • Rich on January 11, 2013 10:48 AM:

    Even for the US, the rates of these conditions are very low. What are the confidence intervals for these rates? Are they wider for the countries with small populations (much of the list)? How about for population based on women of child bearing age or births/total population---those also would effect precision of the estimates.

  • KenZ on January 11, 2013 5:12 PM:

    Umm, Rich. These aren't statistical projections. They are entire reported population data. When you consider that women in the US are less likely than women in the other countries to receive medical aid due to insurance/expense, it's likely the US numbers are under reported.

  • David Martin on February 01, 2013 11:02 AM:

    Charts like these never seem to have any political impact. I suspect it's because so many Americans assume that our country isn't "homogeneous", and that the numbers would look fine if they were just for normal white people. Unfortunately, those normal whites don't fare very well either.

    Australia has somewhat more people than Florida. I suspect that a Florida/Australia comparison would look far worse than USA/Australia. Based on Governor Scott's proposed budget, released this morning, Florida won't expand Medicaid to implement the Affordable Care Act.