In an attempt to help future parents understand the variety of complex factors that come with raising a child, Wallethub ranked the 50 states (plus Washington D.C.) to determine the most ideal place in the U.S. to have a baby.
For the methodology, Wallethub established a weighted point system based on four different categories that were identified as essential for raising a child: cost (20 points), health care (40 points), baby friendliness (20 points), family friendliness (20 points). To properly determine each state’s value in these categories, more specific metrics were created, such as the average annual cost of early child care and average health-insurance premiums for cost. They then factored this together to arrive at the ranking on the interactive map below.
For the most part, the rankings were not surprising. Vermont was determined to be the number one state to raise a baby, in large part due to having the top healthcare score and landing in the top five for baby friendliness and family friendliness. Most of the top 10 was made up of states from New England and the Midwest, with the exception of Utah, which made the cut thanks in large part to being the sixth least expensive state to raise a child. The bottom 10 was comprised entirely states from the South and Southwest, with Mississippi barely beating out Louisiana and Nevada to officially be crowned the worst state in America to raise a baby. Interestingly, the magnolia state actually had the lowest cost of all the states, but its poor showing in health care, baby friendliness, and family friendliness canceled out the low cost of living.
Of course, Wallethub’s rankings are ultimately subjective and don’t take account for several other categories that have been proven to be essential to successful parenting, including proximity to family and employment rates along with average salary. Still, this is a pretty comprehensive list that gives a deeper look at many of the key factors that can help make this whole raising a tiny human being situation a whole lot easier.