All About Babies

These Are the Best (and Worst!) States to Have a Baby

A recent survey found parents in some states have it a little easier than others.

newborn baby in pink and blue hospital blanket Shutterstock
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, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and North Dakota. The worst? Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada, West Virginia, and Alabama.

To determine the rankings, WalletHub analysts compared the 50 states and Washington, D.C., examining each state by the following factors: 20 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, Maine, and Wyoming. On the flip side, expect higher hospital bills if you're in Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, Florida, or Nevada, 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 New Jersey, California, or Nevada.

The state-by-state discrepancies continue after you leave the hospital. Child care costs are cheapest in the Southeast—specifically Mississippi, Alabama, Maryland, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Head north and—surprise, surprise—the price skyrockets, with parents in, Alaska, New York, New Jersey, California, and Florida paying the highest costs. But Northeastern mamas, take comfort in the fact that there are far more pediatricians around you. Washington, D.C., Delaware, and Vermont nabbed the top three spots, while West Virginia, Washington, and Louisiana rounded out the bottom.

The survey also determined how baby-friendly a state is. Washington, D.C.—landed the top spot, with Hawaii, Connecticut, Vermont, and Minnesota also earning high praise. The least hospitable places to raise the under-2 set? Alabama, Nevada, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota. 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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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on TwitterPinterest, and Google+.

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