10 Best & Worst States to Have a Baby: Is Yours on the List?

Suzee Skwiot | Sep 11, 2014 Parenting News

baby laughing with mom

Here's some news for you: children are expensive. Groundbreaking, right? But from the moment they enter the world, and actually long before it, there are medical expenses, living costs, and emergencies that can deplete your checking account faster than you can imagine. So the smartest strategy is to get the most bang for your buck. From child care to available doctors, every state varies in how it approaches its newest members of the population. So WalletHub did the work for you and compiled the rankings of 2014's best and worst states to have your baby.

They created a "budget" -- which includes hospital and delivery charges, infant care costs, cost of living, tax, milk costs, and average annual wages for nurses and pediatricians -- and used it to rank the states.

On top of that, the data included health care availability and the importance of creating a baby-friendly environment, and the 50 states, including the District of Columbia, were each given a grade.

More from The Stir: 10 Best States for Breastfeeding Moms: Is Yours on the List?

We've included the 10 best (in order of best to worse) and 10 worst (in order of better to worst) in the list below.

Can you believe the infant mortality rate in Louisiana?


Image © Heide Benser/Corbis

  • 1. Best -- Vermont


    Vermont claimed the number one spot on the list by having some of the highest numbers of pediatricians and midwives per capita, and by having the most child centers per population. Is baby care important to you? Head to New England!

  • 2. Best -- Maine


    In second place, Maine ranks as one of the best states for delivering your little babe. Turns out, the state has one of the lowest hospital conventional delivery charges in all of the US and has one of the best baby-friendly environments, which includes low air pollution and good parental leave policies.

  • 3. Best -- Oregon


    Over on the Pacific Northwest, Oregon takes the third spot. By placing  fourth in health care for new moms and babies, eighth in baby-friendly environment rankings, and a solid budget rank, the Beaver State rounds up the top three.

  • 4. Best -- Connecticut


    Connecticut, which actually has a low budget rank, ranks highly in both pediatric services for mom and baby and great numbers of mom groups and baby centers.

  • 5. Best -- New Hampshire


    Next up: New Hampshire. The state has the third lowest hospital cesarean delivery charges and fourth lowest hospital conventional delivery charges for new moms. On top of that, it's second in lowest infant death rate, so the state's focus on safe delivery is tops.

  • 6. Best -- Wyoming


    Not only does Wyoming have the fourth highest number of child centers per capita, it is also the sixth best in the baby-friendly environment ranking.

  • 7. Best -- Iowa


    Representing the Midwest is Iowa, which ranks in the top 10 in budget and baby-friendly environment. The state has low milk costs, sales tax, and general cost of living, which makes it a fitting place to have a child.

  • 8. Best -- Massachusetts


    The eighth best state, Massachusetts, also places high by having some of the lowest infant death rates and the second highest number of pediatricians per capita in the United States.

  • 9. Best -- Alaska


    Overall, Alaska may rank ninth, but it has the absolute lowest infant death rate in the country. Along with a decent baby-friendly environment, the state's high health care rank makes it one of the best places to have a baby.

  • 10. Best -- Utah


    Rounding out the top 10 best states list is Utah, which also ranks well in low C-section delivery charges and general hospital delivery prices.

  • 10. Worst -- North Carolina


    And now for the worst... The 10th worst state, according to the WalletHub data is North Carolina, which ranks 33rd in the WalletHub budget, 37th in health care, and 36th in baby-friendly environments.

  • 9. Worst -- West Virginia


    The ninth worst state to have a baby, West Virginia also has the second worst ranking for baby-friendly environments. In fact, it has the second lowest number of child care centers in the country.

  • 8. Worst -- Georgia


    Another Southern state makes an appearance on the worst list. This time, it's Georgia, which ranks in the bottom 10 in both good environments for children and health care for new mothers and infants.

  • 7. Worst -- New York


    New York, the Empire State, is the seventh worst state to have a baby. And why? It's expensive. It has the second highest average annual infant case costs and is four times more expensive than the fourth worst state -- South Carolina. On top of that, child centers are few and far between.

  • 6. Worst -- Nevada


    Next up, we have Nevada, which has some of the highest hospital conventional delivery charges in the country and the lowest number of pediatricians per capita.

  • 5. Worst -- Pennsylvania


    While it might fare decently in budget, Pennsylvania has the absolute lowest number of pediatricians per capita, which makes it responsible for the low baby-friendly environment rank.

  • 4. Worst -- South Carolina


    South Carolina, as the fourth worst state to have a baby, has both low baby-friendly status, and unfortunately poor health care for new mothers and their children.

  • 3. Worst -- Mississippi


    Mississippi, which finishes out in the bottom three, has the highest infant death rate in the country, almost three times that of Alaska, which has the lowest.

  • 2. Worst -- Louisiana


    It ranks at the bottom of the list in terms of health care for moms and infants, and Louisiana also has the second fewest number of midwives and OB-GYNs per capita.

  • 1. Worst -- Alabama


    And finally, the worst state to have a baby is Alabama, which has the second highest infant mortality rate along with the lowest number of midwives and OB-GYNs in the nation.

being a mom