Where It Pays to Be a Mom—Hint: Not in America

The Free Stuff Moms Around the World Are GettingSwag. Freebies. Favors.

It doesn't matter what word you use, the concept is the same--it's free stuff, and we all love when we get it.

Especially when we're talking handouts that make raising kids infinitely easier.

For some American moms, the free baby formula we're sent home with from the maternity ward is reason enough to celebrate.

But if you're a mom in Sweden, Iceland or France, you could actually be getting other pretty valuable freebies, like free child care, a free hospital stay when you're in labor or free pelvic physical therapy (seriously, it's a thing) after giving birth.

And that's to say nothing of the governments who dole out cold, hard cash in exchange for you creating another citizen.

Can you guess in which countries moms get that lucky?

We did some international digging to find out.

To view the slide show as one long list, click into the show and choose "list view."

What other freebies do you know of in other countries?

View Slide Show

  • Rachel_coy

    The UK is also pretty good for maternity / child benefits.  9 months paid maternity leave (most at c.$200 a week); c. $400 per child set up as a trust fund; child benefit paid per child (c. $25-30 per week – not means-tested) and working family tax credits depending on how much you earn.

    • fatty

      How many blacks and Mexicans do you have? The USA gas 75 million combined. The USA is going to hell fast.

  • Paid maternity leave, free health care, subsidised daycare and other things are certainly not “freebies”. They are not “free stuff”, as the article suggests. Your No.1, Finland, is the most expensive country in Eurozone largely due to VAT being so high (24% for most things) AND income taxation is one of the steepest in Europe (as it is in other countries that you listed). Having 30% or over taken out of your every paycheck in taxes and paying high VAT for every single thing that you buy so that the government can afford to provide the level of social security is not amazing, cheap or free. We pay for everything that we have, but in taxes, not directly. Seriously, one of the stupidest articles I’ve read in a long time.

    • Toni REALTOR

      Typical American attitude… if you didn’t invent it, it’s not worth much. Many of the social systems enjoyed by many scandanavian countries are enjoyed by Canadians as well. We enjoy equal for all health care benefits and coverage, paid maternity leave for up to ONE year, available to moms OR dads, such a thing as “baby bonus” hard to believe,!  My cousin, an American, had to quit his skilled labour job and take a job at LESS money with a government office because it offered health care coverage, all because he did not have sufficient health care coverage for his family. His “catastrophic coverage” alone was costing $1000 per month… insane. His son’s broken arm cost him more than $12,000. in hospital visits…

       My brother in law in Canada had a quadrapule heart bypass, multiple (15+) kidney surgeries for kidney stones, a kidney transplant, and more throughout his life and unbelieveably, didn’t cost him ONE EXTRA CENT, other than his income taxes each year. Didn’t bankrupt him, his kids, or his wife, and he kept his home through it all, didn’t even have to re-mortgage to pay for surgeries..

      We have a GREAT social system. I applaude Canada for following the European trend of social care, we have adapted just fine to using the metric system like most of the world. We have coins for $1 and $2 which last 100 times longer than paper money, and thus a great cost saving measure by government. oh, and gays can legally marry here as well…

      • Guest915

        Toni, as a person with both US and EU citizenship who has had to receive medical care in both places, I much prefer the US version to the EU version. I caught the flu over in Spain and had to wait 5 days for a doctor unless I wanted to pay full cash price (my EU citizenship country is not Spain), and that was one of the smallest wait times that I found. Some doctors told me the wait period was a week to a week and a half. In the US, I can take my insurance and go to the doctor almost immediately. I had to argue with my doctor in Spain to give me an antiviral and cough suppressant because he insisted that I didn’t need medicine and just needed to get rest, to which I countered that I couldn’t sleep since I was coughing too much. He finally gave in.

        • guest

          I’m sure if you didn’t have insurance coverage in US things would have been different or, if you were a citizen of Spain, you would have received treatment fast. Also, maybe that Spanish doctor didn’t want to have to prescribe a narcotic to help you suppress your cough. A lot of people make stuff up to get their hands on those meds. 

        • Guest

          As a US citizen living outside the States (NZ), I would say I MUCH prefer the system here. If you weren’t a citizen of Spain, then I’m not overly surprised (much like non-citizens in the States have it). Even before I acquired permanent residency here (not citizenship, which I still do not have nor want), my medicine was subsidized. My asthma inhalers cost me about $6 each, most prescriptions are $3. I have never waited more than 10 mins at my doctor or 20 minutes at the ER when I had to go; my whole stay (dehydration) was free as well. My entire pregnancy I paid only for my prenatal vitamins, all care was free. I opted for a homebirth; however, I am entitled to a FREE hospital stay as well as 2 nights in a birthing centre to recovery where all needs, food, etc are free. You’re also provided with things like nappies, beanies, etc while there. All children medical needs (doctors visits, vaccinations, medicine, etc) is free under 5, and dentists are free while they’re still in school. Sure, our tax rate is a bit higher, but quality of life is much better. Knowing I don’t need to stress if there is a medical emergency and we don’t have the $$ to fork out is more than worth the trade off. 

          To combat all of that….I visited the States for a few weeks this year for my parents to meet my son. He got a bad fever on a Friday night. We had to take him to an after-hours clinic. Our bill just from the visit-not including the medicine-was $636. Luckily we got travel insurance, but shame on them. By “them”, not just the medical centre, but the entire government and country for the individualistic attitude of “all my money to myself”. 

          • soyouknow

            I live in Oklahoma, here we have something called sooner care, my twin girls were born at 26 weeks, sooner care paid for every penny of a 4 month long NICU stay that would have cost me millions for the multiple surgeries and for the other specialized care they received. All is well now they are perfectly normal children, still on sooner care all healthcare is taken care of by the state . . .

          • fatty

            You can have all kinds of stuff in a country of only white people like New Zealand or mostly white as in the case of Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and England, but in the USA a country of 300 million and 100 million of them are non-white. You can’t have free medical with them, because the blacks and Mexicans would swamp the system.

        • portuguese citizen

          Being an eu citizen u should have an european health card and that doesn’t mean it only works in the country you are from……… know your rights better. And yes you people take too many medicine……. a tea and rest would be enough.

      • Frenc

         Why would a broken arm cost $12,000? I had a seizure two years ago, wound up in the ER, had a CT, MRI, EEG, and a number of blood tests. Total bill was around only $5,000, though I was able to get the majority written off because of my low income. Yes, our government really does help us with these things, but many people don’t know how to get the help. And as much as I would LOVE to be able to go into the doctor’s w/out worrying about whether or not I can pay my bills, it also terrifies me to know that there’s a possibility that our government will have ability to determine whether or not my sickness is worth “fixing”. I’ve heard a number of stories from countries with socialized health care where patients are turned away from treatment because of age or a low chance of survival. These are also countries with stagnant, or close to stagnant, economies and rapidly declining numbers of working citizens who still demand programs their countries will soon be unable to afford, so I don’t understand how anyone can support the idea after taking an honest look into the future.

        • Karen

          I had the misfortune of developing cancer without insurance.  I work three jobs just to pay medical bills.  Two of my jobs are just to pay medical bills–I live on the third and my widows benefits.  Because of the lack of help, I have a lein on my home and will never be out of debt.  When I die, my children will not be able to have my home since it will be sold to cover medical bills.  I have finally given in and decided to file bankruptcy but that will not free up my home.  Our country does not help people nearly enough.  Before people get angry at this comment, I do know that there are many people recieving free heallth care because they don’t work and collect welfare and live off the system.  The ones who suffer in our country are the ones who do work but cannot afford to buy insurance on our own.  The ones who don’t work have coverage.  That’s what needs fixed (I am not including those who truly can not work).

          • Karen

            I also don’t want to imply we should have free coverage.  I am willing to pay for insurance.  I just can’t offord for it to be in the hundreds of dollars per month.  Even now, with three jobs, I couldn’t because I would still be paying all the old bills which I cannot possibly live long enough to pay off.

          • fatty

            Karen you have fucked up. You probably got credit card bills up the ying yang. You got a mortgage for thirty years, because you think that is what you are supposed to do. You probably buy all your food at the grocery store instead of planting a garden or buying in bulk. So you probably waste about $30,000 a year thrown in the trash.

          • k

            The constitution never guaranteed your right to medical care. That sucks that you got cancer several of my family members have had cancer and as I sit here both of my parents are in the hospital. Think about this: if you lived in one of those other countries you could have been denied treatment if your doctor didn’t think your chance of survival was good enough. What are you complaining about? Suck it up and act like a real American. The government doesn’t owe you crap. Government’s “help” or your freedom. You choose

          • Truth is truth

            K – You’re a Jerk for saying “suck it up and act like an American”… Obliviously you have never had to go thru the struggles others have had because they are in eligible for insurance due to pre-existing conditions, inability to afford healthcare etc… How about a little empathy? You are the reason why people outside of America can’t stand us. Arrogant, insensitive A-hole!

          • Joe Schmone

            Karen cancer has been cured it is one big money making industry http://www.cancertruth.net http://www.naturalcures.com

      • Joe Schmone

        Americans are fat idiots and a family of five goes to ball game and watcher gorillas dribble basketballs and it can cost a family of five $3,000. They buy a $1,500 tv and a $100 a month cable bill. They both have two cars even though the wife might not work. They have a 30 year mortgage which is stupid. If you can’t pay for the home in ten years get a trailer. Then they go to the grocery store and get overpriced junk like hot pockets, hot dogs and cheese.

      • fatty

        I bet that bastard ate a lot of pizza and hot dogs and fucked himself up eating all that crap.

      • fatty

        You mean fags don’t you? Why can’t we call them fags? It sounds so right.

    • yeah__but

      With our system, employers have to pay for it- and therefore they add up to 25 percent cost to every service and product they provide.  They cannot compete with companies based in countries that have national health care and do not burden the employer.  So we are all paying for it, one way or another- if not a VAT, we pay higher prices built into goods and services.  And we pay for everyone who doesn’t have health insurance.  

      • Joe Schmone

        People need to quit going to the grocery store and eat fish, crabs, lean meat and quit buying processed junk food. Don’t go to McDonald’s at all. Buy sardines and seeds to eat if you get hungry. I go to Dollar General and buy my stuff

    • flutterbycook

      Your attitude is pathetic. We pay insane taxes in the US and have a terrible health care system. Our government is corrupt – the rich politicians get richer and average people can’t make ends meet. 12 weeks of unpaid leave IF you work for a large enough company is disgusting at best. These countries SUPPORT new parents in various ways, even if those parents pay into it with their taxes. We pay into SSI and other government funds that most of us will NEVER see in our lifetime. The only parents who are supported in this country are the degenerate slime who have more kids to collect more welfare money. Do your homework.

    • jahliones

      It my not be “free stuff” like you say, but most Scandinavian countries and Switzerland have less social problems than America. The tax they take is ok by me for the money i get every month for my son. Free schooling. Tutuition to help for school when he reaches high school. Lots of free activities and such. Over here is still better than the US

  • Israel also offers a comparatively (to US) generous social security package to moms: 14 weeks paid leave, prenatal, neonatal and all healthcare is socialized, a one time payment for each birth (height of payment depending on the number of children born in one birth and if it’s the first birth), as well as child benefit payments until age 18.  

    However, as “Navigateher” said, we pay for all of this through our taxes, so it’s not really free- it’s probably less than we deserve… 

  • maggy

    do your research – in fact, Germany DOES offer payouts for children. It is about 150 Euros per month, and if children go to University after High School, parents are entitled to this payment until the child is 24.

    • petrami

      thank you! I tried posting a comment, but I’m not sure it posted correctly. The cash payments, free healthcare, free college tuition and maternity leave offered in Germany (despite high taxes) far outweigh the benefits the article lists for Italy, France or Spain.

  • Mondo1242

    What they don’t tell you is the almost 50% tax rate. There is no such thing as one the government’s dime. its one reason why europe is failing financially. Wake up.

    • Guest

      Australia and New Zealand have a lot of the same benefits and are nowhere near failing. Nor is their tax rate anywhere close to 50%. You wake up, and stop regurgitating the scare tactics spat at you from TV.

    • Patriot9878

      Europe like America are failing, because kosher bankers are doing funky things with the money. All the good jobs have left these high wage companies and the speculators have raised the price of fuel so much which has caused the price of everything to go through the roof and land taxes are going up up up. Just in the last five years with food, taxes and fuel expenditures have increased at our home by $11,000. This is designed to suck all the money out of the workers pockets.

  • Colletteviper

    NOTHING is free. SOMEONE is paying for it. Why should I pay for women to have children when I’m paying for my own?

    • guest

      these countries are encouraging population growth which has been on the decline since the end of WWII… that’s the primary reason.  And then there’s the fact that in those countries the raising of children is considered precious and a more proactive attitude is taken in their society. If you lived there, you wouldn’t complain… it’s a great thing, and if you dont have any kids, then too bad.  (You are contradicting yourself when you say “why should I pay….. when I’m paying for my own”.  It’s either or, not both)
      In this country, some insurance plans started covering in-vitro fertilization – who do you think is paying for that? You, if you have insurance! (ironically, I know of two women who’ve had TWO babies each in that way, both later got divorced too) I could argue why would we want this, but that’s our society…. seems like having the kids is more important than taking care of them afterwards…

      • Patriot9878

        WWI and WWII were nothing, but lies. How much is a life worth? Is a billion enough? So all these warmongering countries who create wars for drugs and oil should have to give each soldier a billion if killed. There are more  wars planned. Children must be raised right and not harmed in any way. Life is so precious, but not worth much during wartime, because during WWII they dropped bombs on every German city and destroyed them all and many were killed as their baby was breastfeeding or as the poor baby laid in their crib.

      • fatty

        Yes, declining since that horrendous Jewish provoked war where tens of millions are killed and all the cities blown to bits and then you get to rebuild them. Isn’t it great?

    • Joe Schmone

      you pay for wars. You pay for all the uced up soldiers. You paid fr 9/11 committed by the government. When the husband can’t provide they don’t have kids. Real men work and the other stays with the kids and homeschools the or at least doesn’t go to work untill the kids start school. Make this a law.Womnen having a child and back to work in a week.

    • fatty

      You pay for all the money drugs costs, when all you got to do is send troops to Colombia and Bolivia and stomp out their drug trade and keep the drugs out of the country.

  • joesockit

    Go to those European Countries, They don’t have cities like Detroit and St Louis where half of the population is illiterate and on every government program available. The US has alot of people who are uneducated and basically unemployable for life mostly by their own choosing.
    The schools, while not the best, are there but there is no parenting so they learn nothing and drop out long before they graduate. You don’t have that in Sweden.
    Our system guarantees the generational welfare families. We should consider paying these people NOT to have kids..

    • Patriot9878

      The government can give money, but birth rates have fallen far behind. These governments will pay for your child, but if war breaks out and they have to go to war, then you give back your child’s life. It all balances out the government has it all figured out. As for school I went to school. I home schooled the kids and could go anywhere at anytime. Used the kids to work in the businesss by the time they were 8 years old. We were around the kids a lot more. School is a waste of time. If your chil isn’t going to higher education let them quit school, but make sure you have work for them or a job they can do. School makes you lazy and where do they learn about drugs and having sex at the schools. So think when your daughter is in school boys are grabbing her arse and your son mght learn to smoke. College is even worse. They say they have to go to college 1,000 miles away and then your daughter is gang banging drunk on the beach. So please keep the kids at home. They can learn more and you can go places. School should last no more than half a day. Reading, writing, aritmetic and geography, but not history, because history taught in schools is nothing, but a lie. Wars are told by the victors and the USA won both world wars. So you won’t get the truth there. They can’t lie about geography and only somewhat at science.

    • Joe Schmone

      You’ll never see free health care in Africa or Mexico.

  • MagPieC

    you forgot Canada :) You get 1 yr maternity benefits, free hospital stay & free delivery! Plus $100 for each child you have until age 6. Also if you can recieve about $160-$200/per child monthly for child tax benifit monthly until the child turns 18! :)

    • MagPieC

      Either the Mother or Father can collect the benefits or both can share then 50/50

  • KCro2006

    what they don’t say here is France taxes their people to death too. 75% for the rich people.

  • Kate

    In Germany the benefits for mothers are excellent – 14 weeks of full pay during maternity leave (paid by your health insurer), 67% of your salary for a year of parental year – which can be split over two years, midwife care of your choosing – for before and after birth. After birth, the midwife visits for up to 8 weeks, including a maximum of 16 visits, and pelvic training after birth plus antenatal classes are paid by your health insurer. Furthermore, if you are in a permanent position, your employer is obliged to keep your job open as long as three years. And after three years, you have the right to have your job back.
    Your partner also has the possibility to take parental leave – a total of 2 months during the first year. 

    • It iwlll never cover the fact Germany was blown to bits for trying to rid Europe of Communism and the millions of Germans lost. Now they learn all European coutnries are drying up and they aren’t having people born to pay the old people. Now in Russia and other countries they want to pay people to have kids and it’s too little too late. They are making babies for future wars.

  • The problem is who would WANT their child educated in France. Period. They are a typical FAILED Euro disaster

  • petrami

    Without getting into a debate about healthcare……This article is very, very, mistaken in the area of Germany. Completely contrary to what it states, Germany does offer a cash payment per child, every quarter until the child reaches the age of 18. It is called “Kindergeld” and the current amount per infant/young child is roughly $286 each quarter, and the amount keeps increasing as the child ages, at the age of 18 the parent(s) receive roughly $411 per quarter. That’s rather nice, if you ask me, and it completely outweighs the cash payments the article states Italy or Spain offer. Yes, Europeans pay very steep taxes, but they get a lot for it. In addition to Kindergeld, in Germany they do offer 14 weeks paid maternity leave at 100%, they have free healthcare, and free college tuition. As far as the benefits of having a child go, which is what the point of the article was (not to spur a debate about taxes or healthcare) I’d say they have it pretty nice in Europe, especially in Germany. And as someone who has stayed in a German hospital, and seen German doctors on an emergency basis- as a foreigner, and not as a tax-paying German citizen, mind you, I can honestly say (as the article also eludes) that I have had the best medical care I have ever had in my life, in America or not.

  • guest

    No one mentions Norway who by far has the best benefits…

    • You could have that in those countries. You got few blacks and mexicans. and the people dont eat junk food like in America. AMericans are fat obese people and the food they eat is screwing up the country. In Russia they are poor and they are starting to eat that fast junk food and you people will pay if you eat it. I know people in the USA eat fast food two and three meals a day. IT has no nutrtion and isloaded iwth salt and sugar and grease.

    • Joe Schmone

      Norway is a racist country. They need to let in a couple million blacks and se how that system goes.

    • fatty

      Norway has 4 million white people. Unemployment rates are probably too low to measure and very little crime. You don’t have a poor country like Mexico on your southern border to have to contend with. America should be a wall and then kick out all the Mexicans and send the blacks back to Africa and Asians to Asia and Jews to Israel and then clean up the country and give it back to the Indians and move back to Europe this social experiment isn’t working.

  • You can not have free healthcare in a country full of blacks and mexicans. At night when you go to the emergency room it is so full of meixcans and blacks you have to wait 5 hours. THey don’t go to regular doctors. Free healthcare can’t happen here.

  • Kamilla Jacobsen

    Actually, its 48 weeks on leave with 100% of your salary, or 52 weeks with 80%, in Norway. Free healthcare for the child until the age of 12, then the goverment covers 80% of the cost for the rest of your life. Free birth, free midwife of your choosing and your own room while delivering.

    • Joe Schmone

      they have to pay people to have more kids for coming wars. In Russia they are paying them good money to make more soldiers.

  • Frustrated at all the “gimmies

    This all looks nice and rosy, but who is supplying that money to be doled out? You guessed it . . . John and Jane Q. Taxpayer. When are people going to stop relying on someone else to give them something, support their whims, and pay for things that the individual can’t afford? If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. If you can’t afford kids, don’t have them. Those of us who choose to take responsibility for our actions save, scrimp, clip coupons, budget, give up many pleasures and nice things in exchange for what we consider a higher good, or a better thing; a family.
    Same thing applies to whatever you deem important. Contrary to popular belief, health care, cell phones, and many other things are NOT a right, but a privilege. Stop whining, get to work, make sacrifices, and take the burden off others’ backs.

  • Joe Schmone

    Quit buying the stupid happy meals. I know a girl Bonnie Sue in Cambrdige Maryland bought McDonald’s crap almost every meal and was blowing $150 a week. Idiot stupid, dumb ass women can’t get clothes from relatives. plant a garden. Quit buying all the crap. You do it right you only ned one car. One idiot goes to work an hours drive and the other the other way and the idiots need two cars. Go to work at the same place .Quit having two cars. Quit with the stupid plasma tv and the cable and HBO and the cell phones and quit drinking and smoking. Go to the beach. Do cheap stuff. Don’t eat out make the crap at home. Women are the biggest wasters.

  • Katrine

    Denmark is also a pretty decent place with maternity leave…

    • fatty

      You can do this in a white country, but if you had free healthcare for having babies. Every Mexican and black family would have 15 kids and we would be swamped and it is why so many hospitals along our southern border have had to close. Too many Mexicans having kids. Why not just open the borders all over the world and be done with it.

  • SayItAsISeeIt

    Where is the UK? We have it much easier here than the US baby wise. The UK has child benefit from each child you have and is universal so you get it no matter how much you earn. On top of that if your income is low you get child tax which can be pretty high. On top of that you get 1 year of maternity leave. If you do not feel that you can go back to work you get income support until your child is 5 and at school. Preschool aged 3+ is free, if you are in private nursery you pay, you can get help with the fees depending on what you earn. Health care is universally free here, dental care is free if you are under 16, a student, on low wage etc. If you can’t afford a house you can get a council house, i know govt. housing is highly frowned upon in the USA but here it is kind of normal, a lot of the houses here are either council/ex council and they aren’t bad houses depending on the area you are given. The rent is low, the room are generous and in most you have a front and back garden. If your neighbors are being anti social (partying late/fighting etc) you can phone the council and report them, if it continues they will be placed elsewhere. You have control of the council property and so long as you are a respectful neighbor you can live there until you die. If you have another child of opposite sex or 3 children you can get placed somewhere with an extra bedroom. If something goes wrong with the house, the council are very helpful and will help with fixing it. All education is free here so we don’t have to worry about paying our children’s university fees etc.
    I am personally extremely glad I live here, having a child is less stressful with the knowledge that your govt. would not let you be homeless on the street/struggling to feed your child/struggling to provide health care for your child whereas in USA it seems the govt. doesn’t really care if your child doesn’t have DR appointments/3 meals a day etc etc. Not a dig at USA more of a dig at the govt, it is suppose to be one of the “rich” countries yet it can’t help it’s own citizens in their time of need. I.E provide child care at an affordable rate so it would benefit the mother going back to work.