Parenting is tough whether you're in Milwaukee or Manhattan. But it turns out, new moms and dads in some states may have it a little easier—and cheaper—than others.
According to an annual survey by WalletHub, the best states overall to have a baby are Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and North Dakota. The worst? Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi.
To determine the rankings, WalletHub analysts compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C., examining each state by the following factors: 26 key measures of cost, health care accessibility, baby-friendliness, and family-friendliness. All together, the picture these stats paint is fascinating.
For instance, although the national average cost of a traditional delivery is $10,808, the cost varies depending on where you live. WalletHub found that parents in North Dakota pay the least, followed by Maryland, New Hampshire, Nebraska, and Maine. On the flip side, expect higher hospital bills if you're in Rhode Island, Florida, Nevada, California, and New Jersey, where deliveries are the costliest. Having a c-section? You're in luck if you live in Maryland, New Hampshire, or North Dakota, where hospital charges are the lowest, but not so much if your hospital is in Nevada, California, or New Jersey.
The state-by-state discrepancies continue after you leave the hospital. Infant care costs are cheapest in the Southeast—specifically Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and Arkansas. Head north and—surprise, surprise—the price skyrockets, with parents in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. paying the highest costs. But Northeastern mamas, take comfort in the fact that there are far more pediatricians around you. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts nabbed the top three spots, while Louisiana, West Virginia, and Oklahoma rounded out the bottom.
The survey also determined how baby-friendly a state is. Washington, D.C. landed the top spot, with Hawaii, Connecticut, Colorado, and Minnesota also earning high praise. The least hospitable places to raise the under-two set? Pennsylvania, Alabama, South Carolina, Nevada, and West Virginia. To see how your state fared, check out the full list—then tell us if you agree with its rank in the comments below.
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