Best States for Working Moms

Best States for Working Moms. Balancing work and family can be hard. It can seem almost impossible to juggle kids, dinner, doctor appointments, commuting to work, and having a full-time job. It gets even harder for single moms who don’t have the support of another person. With all of these challenges that working moms face, it’s a miracle that they get anything done.

Living in a state with a systematic lack of support adds another source of stress. When childcare is expensive and a woman makes less than a man, it can feel like the world is intentionally dragging moms down. WalletHub recently did a study on the best and worst states for working moms to help inform people about where better opportunities are available, as well as share information on an important issue.

Working moms are given less pay, fewer opportunities, and face more challenges than working fathers do. Based on 16 key metrics such as the cost and quality of childcare, unemployment rates, and parental-leave policies, Wallethub ranked the 50 states and District of Columbia for which ones are the best for working moms to live in.

Women make up almost half of America’s workforce, and more than 70 percent of mothers with small children have a job. However, women make less than men across the country, and many places don’t have a good policy for maternity leave—if they have one at all. To learn about what states have good opportunities and programs in place to help support these people, keep reading to see our list of the best and worst states for working moms.

Best: Massachusetts

Massachusetts tops the list as the best state for working moms to live in. What makes this state so great? For starters, it’s rated number one in childcare, meaning that there are plenty of high-quality and affordable day-care options to choose from.  Massachusetts also ranks well for having a good work-life balance, which includes having a reasonable commute and good parental leave policies. in place. 

Worst: Arizona

Arizona isn’t the worst state for working moms on this list, but it’s certainly nowhere near as good as it could be. It sits at the middle of the pack, ranked at number 33. This state lacks access to good, trustworthy childcare that isn’t crazy expensive and also is a bad place to live if you’re a woman trying to work your way up the ladder. There’s just not as many opportunities for women in Arizona, especially not with much upward mobility.  

Best: Rhode Island

This small state packs a big punch when it comes to taking care of parents. Ranked second for having the best work-life balance, Rhode Island makes sure that working moms can truly have it all. Excellent parental leave policies allow new parents to bond with their baby while still making a paycheck. It’s important to not have to sacrifice a part of your life, but many parents do it all the time.  When you consider that Rhode Island also has good daycare options and room to advance in your career, this state might be worth moving to. 

Worst: Texas

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including the problems. This state is close to being ranked as the worst for working moms, and for good reason. Maternity and paternity leave is almost nonexistent there, making it difficult to raise a family while having a job. There’s plenty of childcare centers, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t trustworthy or they’re too expensive.  It’s a hard gig being a working mom in Texas!

Best: Connecticut

It doesn’t get much better for working moms than Connecticut! With reasonable parental leave policies and easy commutes, having a family and a career is much easier. There are also opportunities that allow women to work in higher-paying positions and hold positions of power.  Throw in the fact that childcare is plentiful and not too expensive, you’d be tempted to move there right away. In Connecticut, you truly can have it all!

Worst: West Virginia

West Virginia, also known as the Mountain State, is located in the Appalachian region where opportunities, in general, are lacking. For working moms, the situation gets even worse. Reliable, decently priced childcare is hard to find and there’s almost no chance you’d get much parental leave if you had a baby. The possibility of being promoted to positions of power, or even being paid the same as your male counterparts, is pretty low. If you’re a working mom, you might want to avoid West Virginia if at all possible. 

Best: Vermont

The beautiful, forested state of Vermont is a sweet place for working moms to live, and not just because they’re one of the biggest producers of maple syrup! This state is ranked as the second-best for both childcare and professional opportunities. In Vermont, working moms are better supported because of accessibility to childcare, the possibility of upward mobility in their career, and a good work-life balance. 

Worst: Georgia

Life ain’t always peachy in Georgia. This is the lowest-scoring state for work-life balance, meaning that commuting to work is often stressful,  maternity leave policies are really sad, and that the number of hours working moms work every week is not enough.  You’d be hard-pressed to find a decent daycare that isn’t too costly, and the pay-gap between men and women will make you see red. If you’re a working mom looking at different places to live, then you should definitely avoid Georgia. 

Best: District of Columbia

With the highest female-to-male executives, our country’s capital is one of the best places to live if you’re a working mom.  The District of Columbia is not only home to one of our nation’s most iconic monuments, but it also has plenty of good, affordable daycares and excellent parental leave policies. It’s not really surprising that the capital of the United States has good professional opportunities for women, but it’s still good to hear. 

Worst: Nevada

Nevada is ranked as one of the worst places for working moms to live, but is that surprising when you consider that it’s also home to Las Vegas, also known as Sin City? Finding trustworthy childcare that won’t break the bank is almost impossible, and between the terrible commutes and hours, it’s extremely difficult to raise a family there. On top of all that, there are also not many good opportunities for women to get higher-up positions.  Nevada is good for vacationing or retirement, but it’s not a great place for a working mom!

Best: New Jersey

The Garden State isn’t just beautiful for its flowersit’s also one of the best places to live if you’re a working mom. Commutes aren’t a nightmare here, and there are even great maternity leave policies in place for moms welcoming a new member of the family. While it isn’t the best place for professional opportunitiesNew Jersey is directly in the middle of the ranks for that— you do have access to daycare centers and good schools that you can trust your kids with. Overall, New Jersey is a great place for a working mom to raise a family. 

Worst: Mississippi

It doesn’t get much worse than Mississippi for working moms. This state is ranked almost dead last in every category. Professional opportunities are really depressing if you’re a woman in this state, much less if you have a family to juggle. Without access to trustworthy childcare, schools, or a good work-life balance, you’d probably rip your hair out trying to survive and prosper in Mississippiespecially if you’re a single mom.

Best: Minnesota

Minnesota isn’t just great because of all those lakesit’s also a wonderful place to live if you’re a mom trying to balance a career and a family.  Ranked at number three for professional opportunities, this state gives women the ability to advance their careers and make good money doing it. You can also breathe easy knowing your kids are in a good school because it also scored pretty high for access to quality, affordable childcare. 

Worst: Idaho

I hope you like potatoes because that’s pretty much what Idaho has to offer working moms. This state came in dead last for child care, meaning that access to accredited, quality childcare is scarce and there’s a lack of pediatricians. It already sounds like a bad state to raise a family if you’re a career woman, but there’s also almost no room for women to get higher-up positions here. But hey, the commutes aren’t too bad! This state is ranked at number 15 for having a good work-life balance. 

Best: Wisconsin

Hello Wisconsin! As the eighth-best state for working moms, this dairy-producing state is actually a great place to raise a family while maintaining a career. Wisconsin has many great schools and trusted daycares, so you don’t have to worry about your kids while you’re at work.  Speaking of work, Wisconsin also has many opportunities for women to move up the career ladder while getting fair pay. Lastly, you can maintain a good work-life balance in this state, meaning that you can enjoy spending time with your family without sacrificing your job. 

Worst: South Carolina

South Carolina is a beautiful state filled with beaches and rich history.  Unfortunately, holding down a job and taking care of a family is difficult in South Carolina. For starters, the pay gap is an issue there, with opportunities for women severely lacking.  If you can find a decent-paying job, it’s unlikely to be easy to fit in family life in between the terrible commutes and hours. Worst of all? There are not many good schools and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pediatrician that isn’t already overloaded with patients. 

Best: New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a cool place to live because of its cute towns and wilderness that’s perfect for outdoor activities. It’s also a great place to work if you’re a mother. It’s ranked as the fourth-best state for both childcare and professional opportunities, so you can feel good about where your kids are while you make that bread! Unfortunately, it doesn’t have that great of a work-life balance, which is hard to deal with if you need quality family time to be happy. 

Worst: Alabama

Considering recent laws that have been passed in Alabama, you might expect this state to have good systems in place to support working mothers. You’d be wrong.  Alabama comes in next-to-last for professional opportunities and the lowest female to male executives ratio, which keeps women stuck in place without a way to get better, higher-paying positions to support their family.  Alabama also has the worst daycares, so you can’t even be confident about your child’s safety while you’re at work. 

Best: Washington

Rainy Washington might surprise you for being one of the best places to live if you’re a working mom. This west-coast state offers one of the best work-life balances in the country, coming in third place. Here, you’ll have access to some of the best daycare systems in the United States, which is always a huge relief for a busy mom.  Unfortunately, Washington has the highest gender pay gap in the nation.  If you can find a well-paying job here, then you’ll be able to enjoy the other benefits of living in this state. Otherwise, you might want to consider some of the other states on this list. 

Worst: Louisiana

Last, and certainly least, Louisiana is ranked as the worst place in America to live if you’re a working mom. This beautiful, culturally-rich state just doesn’t have many opportunities in general. It’s the second-worst in the nation for having bad daycare systems one of the highest gender pay gaps in the country. One benefit Lousiana can boast up is having a parental leave policythe downfall is that it’s only for six weeks for new mothers. 

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