10 Best & Worst States to Live in If You're a Working Mom

10 Best & Worst States to Live in If You're a Working Mom

working mom

Women make up half the population and half the workforce in America, but still face plenty of obstacles in their professional careers and work-life balance. The gender pay gap persists, and becomes even more apparent if they choose to have families. And the ranking of the best and worst states for working moms shows us that we still have a ways to go in terms of creating opportunities for women.

Personal finance social network WalletHub analyzed each of the 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, ranked them based on their child care systems, levels of professional opportunities for women, and work-life balance importance.

By looking at the costs of day cares, access to pediatricians, the gender pay gap, ratio of female-to-male executives, median women's salaries, unemployment rates, parental leave policies, workday lengths, and average commute times, the network was able to grade each of the states comparatively, and some of these results may shock you.

Take a look at the slide show below, which ranks the best states (from best to worse) and worst states (from bad to worst), and see if your state makes the list.

Did your state make the list? Are you surprised?



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  • 1. Best -- Vermont


    Image via professorbop/Flickr

    According to findings, Vermont has the lowest gender pay gap in all of America. In fact, women's earning as a percentage of men's are at an all-nation low in the state. On top of that, Vermont also has the highest female-to-make executive ratio.

  • 2. Best -- Minnesota


    Image via dougtone/Flickr

    The Land of 10,000 Lakes ranks toward the top of every list. It's 11th in child care services, fifth in professional opportunities, and eighth in work-life balance, making it the second-best state for working moms.

  • 3. Best -- Wisconsin


    Image via indykethdy/Flickr

    The Midwestern state ranked well on all lists, but its work-life balance is what makes it at the top of the overall list. With an impressive parental leave policy, an understanding average work day length, and considerate average commute for moms, the state has catapulted to the top tier.

  • 4. Best -- New Hampshire


    Image via zachstern/Flickr

    New Hampshire's child care dimensions are largely responsible for the state's high overall ranking. The quality and costs of child care, access to pediatricians, and quality of school districts helped to make the state one of the best places for working moms.

    More from The Stir: 8 Reasons Being a Working Mom Is Good for Your Kid

  • 5. Best -- Massachusetts


    Image via werkunz/Flickr

    The Bay State falls right behind New Hampshire both in overall ranking and in child care rank. Both states have high quality schools and day cares, though Massachusetts child care costs are some of the highest in the entire nation.

  • 6. Best -- Washington


    Image via stevehalverson/Flickr

    The state is sixth best overall, but has the second-best day care system in the entire country -- it's right behind New York, which has the best.

  • 7. Best -- North Dakota


    Image via auvet/Flickr

    Not only is North Dakota tied with Oklahoma and Texas for the third-best state for day care, but it's also the fifth-best state for female-to-male executive ratios!

  • 8. Best -- Maine


    Image via brentdanley/Flickr

    The Pine Tree State ranks in the top 10 in the overall ranking, and also proudly is the ninth best state for professional opportunities for working moms. Between a low gender pay gap, a high ratio of female-to-male executives, a high median salary for women, and low unemployment for moms, its one of the best states for moms looking to work.

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  • 9. Best -- Virginia


    Image via andrewbain/Flickr

    Virginia, which is ninth overall, has one of the highest median women's salaries in the nation. In fact, the median salary for women (adjusted to the cost of living) is two times higher in Virginia than it is in Hawaii.

  • 10. Best -- Ohio


    Image via brentdanley/Flickr

    Rounding out the top 10 is Ohio, which has a high quality of child care, professional opportunities, and work-life balance for moms, and places a high importance on improving the lives of working moms throughout the state.

  • 10. Worst -- Oklahoma


    Image via katsrcool/Flickr

    Though Oklahoma does have one of the best day care systems in the country (it's tied with North Dakota and Texas for third best), it is 46th in terms of professional opportunities and 40th for work-life balance.

  • 9. Worst -- North Carolina


    Image via ejwettstein/Flickr

    The Old North State (or the Tar Heel State) was found to have an overall poor day care system, but its opportunities for working women as well as a positive work-life balance landed it on the bottom 10 list of overall states.

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  • 8. Worst -- West Virginia


    Image via LesPalenik/shutterstock

    While it's 43rd overall, West Virginia has one of the worst and highest gender pay gaps in the country. That's what ranks the state as the 45th in terms of professional opportunities for women.

  • 7. Worst -- Georgia


    Image via Henryk Sadura/shutterstock

    Georgia finds itself toward the bottom of the list largely due to its work opportunities for women. In total, the state has one of the lowest female-to-male executive ratios in the nation, meaning that there are significantly more men than women in board rooms.

  • 6. Worst -- Arkansas


    Image via mnapoli/shutterstock

    Though Arkansas has one of the worst day care systems in the country (it ranks 43rd in the "child care" category), it also has one of the cheapest child cares. It ranks fourth for cost, as a percentage of median women's income.

  • 5. Worst -- Nevada


    Image via thomashawk/Flickr

    Nevada, although 13th overall in professional opportunities for women, has a startling unemployment rate for women -- it's four times higher in Nevada than in North Dakota!

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  • 4. Worst -- Alabama


    Image via sunsurfr/Flickr

    Even though Alabama has the highest female-to-male executive ratio in the nation, the rest of its professional opportunities for women and it's poor child care system put it near the bottom of the list.

  • 3. Worst -- Mississippi


    Image via Fotoluminate LLC/shutterstock

    Mississippi's low ranking can be largely attributed to its undeveloped level of work options for women. Additionally, the poll found that there are nearly double the amount of single mom families in poverty in Mississippi than in Alaska.

  • 2. Worst -- South Carolina


    Image via Sean Pavone/shutterstock

    South Carolina is second-to-last in the overall ranking, but it's also second-to-last in the female-to-male executive ratio!

  • 1. Worst -- Louisiana


    Image via Ksanawo/shutterstock

    Finally, Louisiana ranks dead last in the main ranking. It's also last in professional opportunities, second-to-last in child care systems, and 32nd in work-life balance.

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