The Best and Worst States to Have a Baby

Being a baby mama is expensive—especially in these places

Bride with Baby

Photo by Cinzia Bruschini

Do you know how much a baby stroller rolls out for these days? The answer: anywhere between 50 bucks and thousands of dollars. (Check out these "luxury strollers.")

While child-rearing ain't cheap or easy anywhere, it turns out some states are slightly better suited for the challenge, according to a recent study from WalletHub.

To figure out the optimal place to bring forth life in the United States, analysts contrasted "26 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.

While Vermont's breakdown sees it ranked first for health care, fifth for family friendliness, and eighth for baby friendliness, it sits way further down at the 20th spot for costs. Fascinatingly, Mississippi ranked last overall, even though it ranked first in terms of having the lowest average annual infant-care costs. Similarly, Louisiana ranked number one for overall lowest costs— including annual infant-care, delivery charges, insurance premiums, babysitter/nanny fees, and newborn screening— but fell into the 48th slot as one of the "worst" states to have a baby. Unfortunately, many states that boast more affordable costs, don't rank as highly on "health care," "friendliness," or "friendliness." (Special shout-out to North Dakota who ranked second in cost, and still managed to crack the top five best states overall!)

Americans actually incur the highest birthing costs in the world, reports The Economist. The average cost of a normal delivery is over $10,000, but expect that number to rise to around $30,000 once you've considered those other "infant-care costs" right before or right after birth. No health coverage? Double or even triple that mean number, says the findings. Can you guess which state reported the highest average annual infant-care costs?" Nah, New York ranked third on the list. It's actually Rhode Island, followed by Connecticut.

In any case, if you're family planning, these results are worth a gander. We know moving has its own stresses and dollar signs, but it might be worth it.

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