Do you know how much a baby stroller rolls out for these days? The answer: anywhere between 50 bucks and thousands of dollars. (Even Toys "R" Us sells "luxury strollers" for as much as $1,489.99.) And God help you should you birth twins and have to purchase a double-wide option.
To figure out the optimal place to bring forth life in the United States, analysts contrasted "20 key measures of cost, health care accessibility, as well as baby- and family-friendliness" across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (Read the full report for explanations of these metrics.) The WalletHub team assigned grades for each state using a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for expectant parents and newborns. Then, they ranked all 51 areas and even created this nifty map of the results.
Apparently, the best location for baby-making backup is the land of maple syrup: Vermont—which is also perhaps-not-so-coincidentally home to the two greatest therapists for all of life's hardships, Ben & Jerry. The whole of the Northeast and the Midwest also seem kid-happy. The graphic appears a little lighter, unfortunately, indicating infant-raising situations are darker in the southern parts of the country. Fascinatingly, Mississippi ranked last overall, even though it ranked first in terms of cost considerations. Those included averages for hospital delivery charges (both conventional and cesarean), early child care, and health-insurance premiums. Americans actually incur the highest birthing costs in the world, reports the International Federation of Health Plans.
The average cost of a normal delivery is $10,808—that's more than the price of many a gently used vehicle—and that amount increases by another 5K for C-sections. No health coverage? Double or even triple that mean number, says the findings.
And while Vermont's breakdown sees it ranked first for health care, third for family friendliness, and fourth for baby friendliness, it sits at the 40th spot for costs.
Maybe the real winner is the runner-up: Minnesota—second in health care, fourth in family friendliness, fifth in baby friendliness, and up more than a few cost notches at the 25th placement. Just imagine giving your offspring a childhood of lake house cabins and the Minnesota State Fair…and one day, we can help you plan them an awe-inspiring hometown wedding.