Having a baby is no easy feat. You can do all the reading, listen to all the experts, and think you know what you’re doing, but there’s always something that will surprise you. For many new parents, the transition into their new role comes from having proper support from family and community. Of course, where you live can have a considerable impact, good or bad. That’s why a new survey highlights the best and worst states to have a baby based on critical metrics.
WalletHub wanted to determine which states were the best to have a baby in and which were the worst. So, using data, WalletHub compared 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 32 key indicators and ranked the states from best to worst to have a baby in.
“Expenses can vary significantly, considering the wide disparities in the cost of living. They can also differ from one pregnancy to another, given that some women experience delivery complications,” the site explains. “But there’s more to think about than just cost. Some states provide better quality health care service and better environments in which to care for children.”
To determine the best states to have a baby, WalletHub compared the states “across four key dimensions: 1) Cost, 2) Health Care, 3) Baby-Friendliness, and 4) Family-Friendliness.” Each state was graded on a 100-point scale, with 100 “representing the most favorable conditions for expectant parents and newborns.” Some of the key indicators included, but were not limited to, the cost of a babysitter or nanny in the state, the maternal mortality ratio, the rate of preterm births, food security for infants, the rate of child care centers per capita, etc.
From there, WalletHub compiled the numbers and listed the states from best state to worst based on the indicated metrics. Here’s what they found.
The worst states to have a baby:
43. West Virginia
51. The absolute worst state to have a baby: South Carolina
The best states to have a baby:
7. North Dakota
5. Rhode Island
4. New Hampshire
1. The best state to have a baby: Massachusetts
It’s important to note that personal factors also come into play when determining which state is the best for you to have a baby. After all, it’s no secret that access to support during pregnancy and immediately after can make a big difference.
So although the answer probably isn’t to move away from South Carolina or Alabama to give birth — nor is it an affordable or reasonable suggestion for most working families — lawmakers could take a note and dedicate extra resources to new parents and the services they need in the worst states to have a baby. It might make a big difference for families.