With a lot of concern around changing health care policy, tax increases impacting the middle class, benefit cuts to struggling families, and the fact that Americans already pay the highest birthing costs in the world, I was intrigued to check out WalletHub’s just-released 2017 study of the best and worst states to have a baby.
The results are pretty fascinating.
And yeah, troubling.
Click over to see the top states — Go Vermont, Minnesota, and New Hampshire! — and then…the worst states. Oh man, Mississippi, do better, will you?
The states were ranked by 20 measures that break down into costs (ouch, my home state of New York is 50/51), quality of healthcare including quality of hospitals and (New England is doing great here again), baby friendliness like parental leave policy and childcare availability (D.C. is #1!) and family friendliness (what gives, New Mexico?).
The individual results of the 20 measures are pretty remarkable in themselves. Here are just a few:
So what can we take away from this? No, not that we all need to move to Vermont. Though it is lovely there.
Maybe we should look at the states doing right by expecting moms and new parents, and figure just how we can bring those policies to more states. While California has the highest parental leave policy score, we’ve got 12 states tied for lowest, with a score of…zero.
Zero! Certainly we can do better than that in the United States in the 21st century. We must do better. It’s not just the decent thing to do, it’s the smart, responsible, economically-sound thing to do.
Because when all new parents have the very best care and resources for prenatal care, delivery, postpartum care and career support — and that includes mandatory paternity leave too, by the way — we will have a whole more healthy, happy, productive families overall. And that’s good for everyone, whether you’ve got babies or not.
Visit WalletHub’s page on the best and worst states to have a baby in 2017 for full results and methodology. Also, be sure see the analysis of the results from experts Cassandra Chaney and Jennie E. Brand.