US & the World: Are we still Number One? America Number 1 in the world?
Most Americans—including me—like to think of our country as the best in the world.
But are we still on top?
What are the facts?

In a brave new book, The Measure of a Nation, Howard Steven Friedman answers this question. Friedman is a leading statistician and health economist for the United Nations. He compares the U.S. with other wealthy, large nations in five areas: health, equality, safety, education, and democracy. Each day this week, we’ll discuss his key findings in each area, starting with health today.

And now the reader’s warning: We don’t fare very well in this comparison. And it’s hard to argue with Friedman’s facts. He uses highly reputable and transparent data to compare the US with Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The results of this comparison are grim.


Americans have the lowest life expectancy overall.
American women have the lowest life expectancy.
American men have the lowest life expectancy.
America has the highest rate of infant mortality.
America has the highest rate of maternal mortality (mother’s death in childbirth or soon after).
America has the lowest rate of return on health expenditures, meaning that we spend more than other nations and have the lowest life expectancy.

What do you make of these health statistics?

Are you surprised to read this report on health?

Do you think the healthcare reforms will improve our ranking?

Please, leave a Comment below.

Originally published at, an experiment in civil dialogue about American values.

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