Urban Suburban Mommy

Best – and worst – states to have a baby

State of joy! State of exhaustion! State of emergency!

All those states come into play. But recently, WalletHub undertook a pretty cool study to see which American states are the best – and the worst – for having a baby.

Having a baby is expensive. Of course, no price tag can be put on the happiness and lifelong joy of having a family, but a price tag sure can be put on the actual expenses incurred in having said baby.

Between the front-end investments like the stroller, the nursery, the car seat and the rest of the gear, plus the daily expenses of diapers, clothes, food, shampoos, lotions, colic potions, teething toys (I’m looking at you, Sophie!) and the cute-but-expensive must-haves from diaper bags to baby-wipe warmers, the bill for baby can really bust a budget!

But let’s not forget the hospital bills…

According to the International Federation of Health Plans, Americans pay the highest birthing costs in the world, with the price tag of normal delivery averaging $10,808.

Oh, you can’t have that all-natural vaginal delivery you were expecting? A C-section goes up by another $5,298. Without maternity health coverage, including Medicaid, you can expect those prices to double or even triple.

Birthing costs, however, can vary significantly from state to state, you know, the huge differences in cost of living. They also differ from one pregnancy to another, given that some women experience delivery complications that could bump up the bill.

But there’s quality of health care service to consider as well, and no two maternity wards are created equal.

To determine the most ideal places in the U.S. to have a baby, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across 20 key measures of cost, health care accessibility, as well as baby- and family-friendliness. The data ranges from hospital conventional-delivery charges to annual average infant-care costs to pediatricians per capita.

Top 10 & Bottom 10:

Best States to Have a Baby Worst States to Have a Baby
1 Vermont 42 Arkansas
2 Minnesota 43 New Mexico
3 New Hampshire 44 Georgia
4 Connecticut 45 Florida
5 North Dakota 46 South Carolina
6 Massachusetts 47 Alabama
7 Maine 48 West Virginia
8 Utah 49 Nevada
9 Iowa 50 Louisiana
10 Nebraska 51 Mississippi

Best vs. Worst

  • Mississippi has the lowest average annual cost for early child care, $3,034, which is 4.9 times lower than in the District of Columbia, registering the highest at $14,855.
  • Wyoming has the most center-based child-care centers (per 100,000 residents), 125, which is 12.5 times more than in Indiana, registering the fewest at 10.
  • Alaska has the lowest share of childbirths with low birth weight, 5.79 percent, which is two times lower than in Mississippi, registering the highest at 11.43 percent.
  • Vermont has the most obstetricians and gynecologists (per 100,000 residents), 22, which is 11 times more than in Oklahoma, registering the fewest at two.
  • The District of Columbia has the most pediatricians (per 100,000 residents), 53, which is 26.5 times more than in Idaho, registering the fewest at two.
  • California has the highest parental-leave policy score, 155, while 12 states, such as Arizona, Michigan and South Carolina, tied for the lowest at 0.

Wishing you a happy, healthy nine months, and full coverage for the cost! For the full analysis, visit WalletHub and read the entire report, review the methodology and find ways to start saving up!

*In order to determine the best and worst states to have a baby, WalletHub’s analysts compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across four key dimensions: 1) Cost, 2) Health Care, 3) Baby-Friendliness and 4) Family-Friendliness.

WalletHub evaluated those dimensions using 20 relevant metrics, and devised their corresponding weights. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for expectant parents and newborns.

Finally, WalletHub determined each state and the District’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order our sample.

Please visit WalletHub for the full analysis here