The Best and Worst States for Working Dads

How does your home turf stack up?

working dad with daughter straightening tie
Photo: Shutterstock

It's not that surprising that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 93 percent of dads with kiddos under age 18 are working. Um yeah, kids are expensive! But not all 50 U.S. states are accommodating to working fathers. The personal-finance website WalletHub recently compiled a list of the best and the worst states for the papas who want to bring home the bacon and make it home in time to read bedtime stories. In fact, according to the report, 60 percent of families depend on two incomes, so clearly many dads are increasingly looking to balance work and parenthood.

WalletHub looked at several factors in ranking states (and the District of Columbia) for the list: work-life balance, of course, but also health conditions, financial well-being, and child-rearing environments, as well as day care quality and male life expectancy.

The overall best states for working dads, ranked from #1 to 10 are: Minnesota, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas, Virginia, and North Dakota.

The overall worst states for working dads, ranked from #42 to 51, are: New Mexico, Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Alaska, and Nevada.

I was thrilled to see my home state New Jersey rank pretty high (#5) on the overall best states for working dads! Meanwhile, Virginia has the highest median income for families with dads present and who have children under 18. Mississippi boasts the lowest child care costs for homes where the dad is present, and dads there may live the longest. Iowa rocks when it comes to having the lowest unemployment rate for fathers. Move to Oregon if you want to work the fewest hours, guys.

But stay away from Alaska if you don't want to work long hours! It ranked the worst among states in hours worked per day. In Mississippi, men have the lowest life expectancy. The state with the most uninsured men is Texas, and Florida has the highest day care costs for families with a dad in the home.

The takeaway from this report: If you aren't happy with your life as a working dad, or being married to one, maybe it's time for a move! Or perhaps a strongly worded email to your local representatives about how to improve conditions for working dads in your state? It's a big election year after all.

How did your state rank?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.

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