Vermont is No. 1, but parents in southern states like Mississippi fare much worse.
Here’s a crib sheet for expectant parents.
Vermont is the best state to have a baby for the second year in a row, according to the finance site WalletHub, which ranked all 50 states and Washington, D.C. by accounting for 26 key measures of cost, baby friendliness (i.e., parental-leave policy, mom groups per capita, child-care centers per capita and share of nationally accredited child-care centers), family friendliness and access to health care. It pulled in data from the Census Bureau, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and several other organizations.
And the Green Mountain state scored highest in health care thanks to having the lowest infant mortality rate; the most child-care centers per capita; and the most pediatricians and family doctors per capita. Vermont also scored among the top 10 states for overall child well-being in the 2018 Kids Count report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and has been ranked as one of the best states for working dads and for working women by WalletHub previously.
Massachusetts claimed the second best spot on this year’s best states to have a baby list for being the most family-friendly state. It also boasted a low infant mortality rate and a high number of pediatricians and family doctors, as well as recently landing the top spot on WalletHub’s best places to raise a family.
A number of New England and Midwestern states rounded out the top 10, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Connecticut, Colorado, Nebraska, D.C. and California.
The worst state overall? Mississippi for two years running, due to having a high infant mortality rate and the fewest midwives and OB-GYNs per capita; it was also ranked among the least family-friendly states and scored low for health care. It scored as one of the most stressed states in WalletHub’s previous reports, as well as among the bottom 10 in the 2018 Kids Count. One bright spot is that it has the lowest child care costs in the country, per WalletHub’s report.
Mississippi was followed by several southern and western states at worse end of the spectrum, including Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico and Nevada.
Citing the Economist, WalletHub noted that the average conventional delivery in the U.S. costs more $10,000, which is even more expensive than the recent special delivery of Great Britain’s third royal baby. But state by state, North Dakota has the lowest conventional-delivery charges at a hospital; and California and New Jersey tied for the highest. Hospital Cesarean-delivery charges are lowest in Maryland and highest in California and New Jersey.
As for child-care center availability, Vermont and D.C. boasted the most per capita, followed by Wyoming, Hawaii and Arkansas.
States with the lowest infant mortality rates include Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New Jersey and California; those with the highest were Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Delaware.
This article was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated with the latest WalletHub data.
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