Having a baby is an expensive and challenging life event, but the extent of the difficulty can vary depending on where you live.
A new report from the personal finance website WalletHub ranks the best and worst states to have a baby, based on metrics like hospital delivery charges, infant mortality rates and the number of child care centers per capita.
According to WalletHub’s findings, the best states for parents and their newborns are Vermont, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Minnesota. The lowest-ranked were Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana and Oklahoma.
The report compares all 50 states and Washington, D.C., basing its rankings on four key factors ― baby-related costs; accessibility and quality of health care; baby-friendliness; and family-friendliness ― and 30 metrics within each of those categories, including average infant care costs, parental leave policies, midwives and OB-GYNs per capita, and pediatricians and family doctors per capita.
WalletHub’s analysis found that Alaska has the lowest share of babies born with low weight, at about 6%, while Mississippi has the highest share, at nearly 12%. Meanwhile, Mississippi had the lowest average annual cost for early child care, at $3,192 per year, compared to the District of Columbia’s figure of $15,515 — higher than any of the 50 states.
Visit WalletHub for the full rankings and more information about the methodology behind this report.